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Creating Successful Leaders

You’re worn thin. You’ve been busy juggling several different work projects with family life and other commitments. You haven’t taken quality time for yourself in ages. In short…you’re EXHAUSTED. What to do? How can you rest, rejuvenate, and forge ahead?

In past blog posts, I’ve talked about the merits of taking a break (a long break, if possible!), but not everyone has the luxury of being able to pack up and go on vacation whenever they’re feeling worn out. If that’s you, you might try taking some “mini breaks.” These brief moments away can help renew your energy and fortify you so you can face the stressors of work, relationships, or simply everyday life.

Keep in mind: when you take these mini breaks, it’s best to do so completely. Turn your phone to airplane mode, schedule “you time” on the calendar, and step away as much as possible. Otherwise, you’ll never fully relax…and that pretty much defeats the purpose!

Here are 7 ideas for ways to rejuvenate without taking a full-on vacation:

1. Set aside a “favorite things” day

What do you enjoy doing more than anything? Do you like to read? Watch movies? Wander through gardens, conservatories, or the woods? Visit museums? Enjoy good food and/or good company?

Pick some of your favorite things and plan a day around them! This mini vacation is all about YOU. Grab brunch in the morning, catch up on your reading list, go to a basketball game or a movie–whatever makes you happy.

Don’t forget to plan ahead! If you have responsibilities (young kids, work commitments, etc.) make sure they are taken care of so you don’t have to divide your attention during your “favorite things” day.

2. Designate a “slow cooking” night

If you enjoy cooking, make an effort to set aside one night each week to fully immerse yourself in “slow cooking.” Instead of rushing to put dinner on the table, luxuriate in planning a menu, prepping your dishes, cooking, and enjoying the fruits of your labors. If you don’t love cooking, have a nice night out instead. In many cultures outside the US, food is savored and enjoyed, rather than rushed through. Rediscover the pleasure in eating a nice meal.

3. Try an unplugged workout

When you go to the gym or take a walk outside, are you tempted to check your phone and reply to emails? Do you constantly see notifications coming in?

These little distractions take away from what could be very healthy, and potentially relaxing, activities. Instead of letting your phone derail your active time, turn it to airplane mode and listen to music or an audiobook you’ve downloaded. If you need to keep limited notifications on, try your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” function and only let priority phone numbers get through. That way, when you work out you can truly immerse yourself in the activity.

4. Have an art night

Do you enjoy photography? Painting? Woodworking? If you have an artistic hobby that you haven’t indulged in a while, set aside some time for it! You might even decide to have a weekly art night, dedicated to your hobby.

5. Take a spa day

There’s nothing quite like a spa day when it comes to self-care. Indulge yourself with a massage, haircut, facial, or whatever you need to help you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. If you’re on a budget, make it a DIY spa day with an at-home facial, a bath with Epsom salts, scented candles, etc. On the other hand, if you’re able to spend some extra cash, consider going to an all-inclusive spa where you can relax and spend the night (there’s something to be said about being away from your own home and the mounds of responsibilities that await you there!).

6. Catch up on your reading list

Do you have a mountain of to-read books you’ve been meaning to get to? Take a long afternoon to enjoy a hot beverage or a glass of wine, and curl up with a good book. Take a “book afternoon” whenever you need to–whenever you’re feeling tired and need a cozy getaway.

7. Have a slow morning

Whenever you need it, set aside a day to have a late morning. Block off time on your calendar (just as you would if you had a doctor or dentist appointment), and clock into work around noon. Use your slow morning to sleep in, practice yoga or meditate, read a newspaper or book over a cup of coffee, or perhaps grab brunch at your favorite breakfast joint. It’s amazing what a relaxed morning can do for productivity!

If you find yourself feeling burnt out, but can’t spring for a real vacation, try some of these mini breaks! Spending intentional time relaxing and unwinding can work wonders for your energy and productivity.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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