Read that quote again. As 2017 draws to an end and you work to juggle your work and social calendars, the thought of taking any time to relax may seem out of the question. You’ve been busy, you’ve been stressed, and you’ve felt pressure. You just want to cross the finish line. If you work from home, you may be feeling it even more, as the line between work and life blurs.

The problem is, as the stress takes over, you are likely making more mistakes and doing unnecessary rework. Your best ideas aren’t flowing, and you are struggling to solve even basic problems. So even when you feel like you can’t spare a minute, you need to do so. You need to get up and walk away from your desk, stretch and clear your head (even if it is just for 5 minutes).

We all need a mental break, and those quick breaks allow you to reset so that when you do get back to work, you have greater clarity, focus and energy. Commit right now, to taking a five-minute break each hour. More than that, decide what your five-minute relaxation plan will be. For example, will you take a brisk walk around the house? Tackle a quick chore? Send a message to a loved one? Or simply sit still, with your eyes closed, and do your best to turn off your brain?

A colleague told me that downloading a 5-minute workout app has changed her life. She gets in quick bursts of activity throughout the day that has been tremendous for her focus and energy, and she also tacks on 30-45 minutes of extra exercise each day without it feeling like a hassle. However, you need to find what works best for you.

Remember, to do your best work, you must be at your best, and you can’t be at your best if don’t find a way to manage your stress. Study after study tells us that quick breaks to rejuvenate are key to that process.

The next time you are under pressure, make/invest time in renewing and refreshing. That time will help you refocus, re-engage, and ultimately, be more successful.


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