Ahhh the lazy and relaxing days of summer. As I breathe in the salt air at the beach my mind wanders, muscles relax and time slips away. I can literally feel the stress leaving my body.
I used to think that stress free “feeling” was conjured up in my vivid imagination. Today there is a wealth of research supporting the physical and mental benefits of restorative breaks. The good news is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and take weeks off to experience the benefits. In fact, brief consistent breaks will do the trick. In Daniel Pink’s new book, When, his research reveals helpful tips to increase productivity and reduce stress at work:
1) Something beats nothing: Short and frequent breaks lead to higher productivity and less stress
2) Moving beats stationary: boost energy, sharpen focus, reduce fatigue, increase creativity
3) Social beats solo: Data shows reduced errors, turn over and stress in high pressure jobs with social breaks
4) Outside beats inside: Nature breaks may replenish the most. When possible get outside for a quick restorative break
5) Fully detached beats semi detached: Tech-free breaks increase vigor and reduce emotional exhaustion
Take more vacation, not less! There is also a growing body of evidence that supports more vacation leads to higher productivity. Less than 25 % of American employees use their vacation allowance. Conversely, countries like Germany and France who mandate more than 30 days vacation report higher productivity and job satisfaction. Hmmm, if you are having difficulty getting a raise maybe ask for more paid time off to increase your productivity:))