The amount of vacation time U.S citizens have compared to the rest of the world is pathetic. We’re overworked, exhausted, and often meet our obligations only on a steady stream of stimulants that leave us burnt out by the time work ends. Burnout is a generally accepted medical condition that can have serious consequences, but there is hope. All you need to do is recharge your energy stores. If you need a long holiday but can’t take a vacation, here are five ways you can recharge quickly to avoid burnout.
1. Musical escape
Music has long been accepted as therapeutic for dissolving stress. If you want to really break away from the world and get lost in the music, consider purchasing a high quality pair of noise cancellation headphones. These babies have a vacuum effect that separates your ears from the world so that when you play your favorite music, everything else just fades away. These are especially useful for breaks in a stressful office environment because they allow you to completely unplug from the stress around you, giving you a satisfying miniature vacation. Consider hooking up some Bach or Beethoven, or tune into the sounds of the rainforest to let your imagination run free.
2. Kick off your shoes and walk in the woods
The art of recharging is a subtle one, and the key is shifting your focus to provide a mini-mental vacation. Stressors from the workplace eat away at our energy reserves, and even being reminded of what you have yet to accomplish at work can sap your strength. One of the best ways to recharge is to remove yourself from the modern environment entirely and immerse yourself in nature. Being barefoot in nature has been shown to relax blood vessels, increase circulation, and improve mood, so kick off your shoes before you take a trail walk. Studies by Stanford university have shown that walking in nature can significantly improve mood and thinking capacity, so head to the forest before you burn out.
3. Cold water plunges
Short of cozying up in an electric chair, taking a cold water plunge is one of the fastest way to reset your nervous system. Immersing in frigid water releases a cascade of endorphins that automatically boosts your mood, and it forces you to become extremely present.
Peak performance experts like Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris have been championing cold water plunges as a tool for recovery and as a way to jumpstart your day. If you don’t have access to a cold plunge pool, drop a pound of ice in cold bathwater to experience the jolting and exhilarating affect of extreme cold.
4. Tech free days
Weekends have long been respites for the working warrior, but since the advent of smart phones and portable computers, we’ve had less mental space from the workplace. If you want to make the most of your recharge away from work, try turning off your electronics. Completely. It sounds like a crazy idea for those hopelessly addicted to iPads and iPhones, but we don’t need constant Internet connection. And when we don’t have a break from technology, it can interfere with our weekend recharge.
Every notification you see and hear, every text message you receive, and any random website that you unconsciously navigate to takes energy from you. If your focus needs to be on chilling out for a bit, it’s best to be left undisturbed so you can balance the stress of work with much needed relaxation. Some people find it hard to even take a break, and feel like they don’t even deserve one, like they are lazy for not working. But for most of human history, we’ve only averaged 4 to 6 hours of work per day, excluding weekends. You need the recharge, so remind yourself that it’s OK to rest; to do nothing; to have fun just for the sake of having fun; and to explore ideas and things that have absolutely no relation to financial profit.
So take time on your weekend to go tech free and watch how much more productive your week becomes.
Reading is the ultimate mental escape and the perfect tool for a quick recharge. You know how draining the grind of work can be? Slipping into a fantasy world full of beauty and adventure is the polar opposite of that; and though it isn’t real per se, your brain soaks up the mental vacation as if it were real.
Pleasure reading is something that eludes our habits shortly after we finish school, but the most high energy and successful people among us are also self professed book worms, and it isn’t a coincidence. The more you make new mental connections in a world of fiction, the more your non-linear brain is engaged.
Part of the reason we struggle from feeling drained is a lack of creativity. The energy we create during creative processes, like reading, writing, painting or making music, is fuel for your mind and spirit. The more you engage in your passions, the more energy you will have to learn more within them. We are here to learn, and so when we go too long without making new connections or doing something new, we get bored and tired. So whenever you get a chance, learn something new and go somewhere you’ve never been, if only in your mind; making a habit of reading fiction satisfies both of those needs.