Why active rest is NOT just for fitness

“I need a break… But I don’t understand how taking a break will help me become more productive!”

BE HONEST: Has the above statement ever crossed your mind?

Better yet, has that statement crossed your mind and then you actually continued to work?

And final question: Did you burn out after continuing to push yourself?

👋 Well I answer yes to all those questions, and I unfortunately learned the hard way about the necessity of taking breaks.

Habit coach sitting on a bench in Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton,  Alberta.

And that’s why I’m here now to explain what it ACTUALLY MEANS to take a lil’ break, and as a result, boost your productivity.

Remember that a “break” should be an “active rest”

When it comes to physical fitness, active rest is very important for productivity in the gym.

Active rest (or active recovery) is when you engage in low intensity and short duration movement, after an intense workout.The benefit of active rest as opposed to passive rest is that your body and muscles recover at a much quicker pace.

So, the quicker you physically recover, the quicker you can engage in high intensity workouts again. Therefore by taking active rests, you will be able to do more workouts, lose more fat, build more muscle, improve your cardio, and overall improve your physical fitness.

Now let’s apply the active rest concept to your mental and emotional recovery:

When you engage in light activity to keep your brain thinking and your thoughts organized, you’ll be able to more quickly recover from stress and burnout, as opposed to breaking by turning your brain off completely.

“So How Do I Active Rest for My Mental Health?”

1) Utilize Your Time, Don’t Abuse Your Time

A clock, which signifies the importance of time

Here’s a big myth: people think drinking and tanning on a beautiful beach will help them “clear their minds” when work becomes almost too much to handle.

And here’s the reality: a vacation definitely could clear your mind! But just remember, if you don’t utilize your time, the vacation will eventually end and you’ll end up back where you started.

To best utilize your vacation time, do some research on self-development tools to help counter stress and burnout.

So instead of simply mentally removing yourself from daily life, I recommend you keep yourself slightly engaged so that your daily life can be better tackled after your break.

When you fill your self-developmemt tool belt with the proper tools, you will be able to diffuse your work/life stress as soon as you get back to your job.

One of the most useful tools I’d recommend is meditation. Learning to be okay with isolation instead of stimulation can help manage the stress and overwhelm experienced in day-to-day life.

In addition, reading self-development books and listening to self-development podcasts can also provide you with amazing tools to be resilient when returning to the stresses of daily life.

So remember that taking a break shouldn’t mean “doing nothing”; it should mean “taking a quick step away from work so you can learn to do work better”. This is a great time to plug the phrase, “work smarter, not harder.”

2) Reorganize Your Schedule

Maybe you feel overwhelmed because you don’t manage your time.

Are you taking-on an appropriate amount of work? If you are, maybe you need to schedule yourself better so you know which tasks are top priorities.

When we don’t record tasks and projects in a planner, we end up storing them in our brains. This creates unnecessary stress and a lot of overthinking.

So instead of using a long weekend to take your mind off work, keep your mind on work for a brief time. Keep your mind on work for just as long as it takes to write everything in a planner. Then as soon as you write it out…LEAVE IT THERE. Remove the task from your brain and let it live on the paper until you need to revisit it.

You know what they say, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So write it all out, and pick it up as needed.

3) Don’t Stop Using Your Brain… Even When You Think You Should Stop

So if you have your schedule organized and you have the right tools but you still think you need a break, then take one. BUT do not break cold turkey.

Keep yourself thinking lightly by reading, listening to podcasts, engaging in recreational activities and interacting with real people. Playing brain games are great and all, but for light and effective stimulation, nothing is better than sticking yourself in a real-life scenario.

By remaining in a lightly active state, you will have an easier time transitioning back to daily life and problem solving.

And if you still don’t buy the “active rest thing”, here is a common example of the same concept used in emotional recovery:

When someone close to you passes on, you need to grieve – you need to think about that person and remember how special they were to you during their lifetime. When you take a “break” from daily life to grieve, you are allowing yourself to continue living happily in the best way you can.

So remember, you aren’t “taking a break”. You are taking an active rest!

Utilize your time instead of abusing your time, and as always, have a Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.

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