Monday, May 9, 2011

Why Taking a Breather Does Your Business Good

I just returned from a mini-trip and spent time with family and my adorable 6 month-old niece. I also spent time with a good friend and we had fun sharing laughs and conversation over delicious wine and cheese. It made me realize that it's these special moments with family and friends that make all the difference in the world. 

Like everyone else who is self-employed and runs a business, I tend to go non-stop with my tunnel vision work mode. The past few months have been hectic and it's been awhile since I took a 'me' break. Don't get me wrong, this year has definitely been productive, but I could feel my wheels starting to sluggishly turn and definitely needed a break. 

Yes, I know - gas is expensive and with the economy, you can't spare the expense or time to get away to the ocean or mountains for a few days. Even if you can't spare an extended holiday away from your business, it helps to take a breather... even if it's only a mini-break.

You also don't have to spend money to take that much-needed breather either. Sit on your deck and enjoy the sunshine with a glass of iced tea, or take your dog for a walk or spend time with your kids or grandkids. 

When you take the time out of your busy schedule to relax (and have FUN), you refresh that tired noggin and are more productve. After my break, I feel rejuvenated and am motivated and ready to tackle new projects. My yoga teacher brought up a very good point in my last class. Bring out your inner child and play with him or her, and IF you promise to do something fun with your inner child don't let that inner child down. Kids become disappointed when you promise them a fun activity and don't make good on your promise - don't let YOURSELF down! 

I wrote a post last month about why it's important to stay present in the moment and how to lighten your load by dumping clients and projects that waste your time and energy.  That's the first step in the right direction. Why add more stress and frustration onto your plate by taking on the world? 

Here are 3 mini-breathers to add to your work day - and remember don't let yourself down. You'll be more productive and happier as a result.

1. Read or watch an inspirational book or short film.  Don't pick up a business book. Read a few pages a day for pleasure or watch a short video. I highly recommend The Butterfly Circus - a short inspirational film (only takes 20 minutes!) - a beautiful story!

2. Take a walk or do chair yoga for five to ten minutes. Sitting all day isn't good for you and makes both the body and mind stagnant. Get up and move - even if you only have five minutes to spare. 

3. Laugh and don't take yourself or others seriously 24,7. We are business professionals who take what we do seriously, but we don't need to be SERIOUS every minute of the day. Laughter is really the best medicine. I'm a fan of satire and have a friend who always sends me hilarious email forwards and funny texts. Make it a point to read a funny article or joke a day. If you belong to an online discussion forum or social media networking group, lighten up the mood. There's a time and a place to be professional, but don't be afraid to inject humor or share a funny link (remember to keep it clean and appropriate on professional networking groups such as LinkedIn). You don't want to offend people, but you don't have to be a stick in the mud either! 

If you are long overdue for a vacation and your spouse is giving you the evil eye, don't wait until tomorrow or next month. Your business won't crumble if you take a breather. You deserve it - so what are you waiting for? 


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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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