Business leaders often don’t fit relaxation into their schedules as a means of driving productivity. Unfortunately, a failure to rest can lead to reduced productivity. A lack of rest, researchers have found, significantly impacts performance. On the other hand, when people take time out for themselves, they return to the task at hand refreshed and with more focus. The best business leaders understand the importance of building relaxation in to their schedules as a means of helping them to perform at their peak and setting a positive example for their employees to follow. Leaders who push themselves too hard can cause their employees to do the same, which can ultimately hinder overall productivity at a company. On the other hand, leaders who emphasize to their employees the importance of taking breaks push them to achieve great things while maintaining balance.
Over the years, researchers have uncovered a number of proven benefits of rest and relaxation in the business world. For example, relaxation helps people to make better decisions since stress often clouds thinking and changes how people balance risks and rewards. Scientists found that stress can cause leaders to make decisions before they fully consider all of their options and that relaxation relieves this pressure. In addition, relaxation is critical for optimal physical functioning. Pressure can inhibit the immune system and cause people to get sick, while breaks can help them to stay physically and mentally healthy.
While relaxation requires active planning, it is often easier to build into your schedule than you might think. The following are some tips for fitting relaxation into your schedule:
Relaxation does not require a lot of time.
When business leaders think about relaxation, they may assume that it means building significant chunks of time for breaks into their schedule. On the contrary, individuals can relax and de-stress in a matter of minutes each day. Virtually everyone can find a minute or two to practice some form of meditation or mindfulness techniques. While it may not sound like it would make a significant difference, it provides time for leaders to get out of their heads and give their minds a break. Even this short period can reset someone’s negative mood and help them to feel more energized when they return to the task at hand. Leaders may want to set reminders on their phones at various points throughout the day to take a minute or two to refocus their energy.
Plan for time away from your electronics.
Due to today’s increasingly connected world, it can be difficult to relax even when you’re not at work. Computers and smartphones keep us constantly connected via text messages, email, and more. For this reason, leaders should build electronics-free time into their schedules, whether it be in the evening at home or during certain hours in the afternoon. Although doing so may seem scary at first, very rarely will an emergency pop up that cannot wait a few hours to be dealt with and—in this case—a specific person can be appointed as an emergency contact who knows how to get in touch with you even during periods when you are disconnected. Cutting the cord can prove to be freeing by removing the constant drive we have to check messages throughout the day.
Breaks can be productive.
Some business leaders believe that breaks are frivolous and a waste of time, but this is not necessarily true. People find different activities to be relaxing, so it is important to figure out what it takes to recharge your batteries. More socially inclined individuals may enjoy talking and forging connections, which can be viewed as a form of networking. People who are not quite so outgoing may prefer to set aside 15 minutes to read a chapter of a book. Both of these “breaks” can get people away from work while also providing a potential benefit when they return to the task at hand, whether it be a new connection to call on for help or new, actionable tips from a book about business.
Nature provides psychological benefits.
When it comes to relaxation, business leaders should not underestimate the power of spending some time in nature. A study conducted at the University of Essex found that adults who spent time in nature had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, than those who did not. Researchers have also found that even looking at pictures of nature can make people feel rejuvenated and restore mental energy. However, going outdoors is preferable, particularly if your office is located near a park or another green space that is ideal for a quick stroll.
Exercise is a great form of relaxation.
Since exercise is an active pursuit, you may not think of it as a form of relaxation. However, exercise is an ideal way to blow off steam and ultimately reduce stress. Business leaders who begin exercising regularly often see benefits in the office and in their personal lives. Researchers have connected exercise to improved mental health and a better mood, in addition to the physical benefits, such as weight loss, increased strength, and sturdier bones. Through exercise, you can rid yourself of the nervous energy that creates anxiety and sleep better at night, which will effectively prepare you to lead.