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Why It’s Important To Take A Day Off

You all know the feeling: you’ve been plugging away at work or school (or both). It seems like forever since you’ve had a day off, a real day off, free from homework or meetings or stress. You’re feeling seriously vitamin-D-deficient because you haven’t felt the sun on your face in what seems like forever. Your feet get itchy to move and you find it harder and harder to focus on the task at hand. Your need to get away is manifesting itself physically, and when that happens there’s only one thing to do. Stop.

I know; sometimes it’s not that easy. Reports are due and deadlines loom, but I’m a firm believer that sometimes the most productive thing you can do for yourself is to do nothing at all. Sometimes the need to get away from your everyday routine is so strong, it becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.

Whether you call it playing hooky, taking a mental health day or a “sick” day, time  off can be just the thing to help you make it to whatever finish line you’re sprinting towards. It may seem counter-intuitive; you’d think the easiest/fastest/best way to the end would be full-speed ahead, all the time, but there have been studies that show that people are more productive when they get back from a vacation than if they’d never left at all.

But don’t get me wrong; I’m not recommending that if you have a big project due on Friday you take the week off and fly to Fiji. What I am saying is, if you’ve been working on something specific (or just working at a breakneck pace on everything), and you haven’t had any time to relax and breathe, maybe you should give yourself a day off to recharge. To use the running analogy again, you can only maintain a sprint for so long before you start to slow down.

If you want to do your best work, it’s important to get away from that work every once in a while. Whether it’s getting away from your desk and going out for lunch, taking the afternoon off to shop or ride your bike or go to the beach, or taking a whole day off and parking your behind on your couch to veg out and watch tv in your pj’s; knowing when you need that “you” time will make you a better worker/student/partner/friend.

So, learn to listen to yourself for clues that you might be slowing down in your daily “sprint.” Everyone’s clues are different; you might find yourself needing twice the amount of caffeine as normal, or waking up with your alarm instead of before it. Whatever your body (and mind) are telling you, listen to them. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and know that you deserve to take the time to recharge your spirit and your energy. And when you come back, it’ll be with fresh eyes, rested and ready to go!

What’s your favorite way to recharge?

Image via Shutterstock

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