Sometimes things don’t come easy and however hard you work on a challenge, the solution you need doesn’t materialise. When that’s the case, a change of pace is often better than a rest.
Temperatures in the western hemisphere are already falling. It’s time to welcome December and embrace the fact that winter will soon be settling in. Thus, it’s time for a change of pace. The changing of the seasons affects us all, in spite of our religion or heritage; the cold is to one of us as it is to all of us.
Getting out and about, away from your living and working environments, is important, both as a person and for your business. It’s harder to stick with it during the winter months. Our bodies and minds try to enter a kind of hibernation, hiding inside our homes, keeping away from the chill. On top of that, we all have those weeks with an overflowing deluge of work, and family commitments like bags of ferrets, bursting at the seams. This together with our personal development goals are also still vying for a slice of our time.
One week of this is fine. Two weeks can be manageable. Any more, and the novelty wears off. Beyond that, every step forwards is two steps back. At that, point, it’s time to stop.
The solution isn’t to knuckle down, grit your teeth and push through it, neither is it to sake the lot and do nothing. Energy spent is still energy spent and it is not recovered by work or apathy; forcing ourselves to push through challenges for which we are not equipped for only makes them seem like even bigger mountains than they were, back before our candles started burning at both ends.
To regain our energy, all we need to do is spend time doing what we like and love; the good stuff, the joy, the days of memory that so often happened right after a big payday or at the start of a well-earned holiday. The thing is, these luxuries shouldn’t be exclusive to rare days in between projects or weekends. We need them as part of our lives, regardless of how stressed our work may have us.
The old idiom, “a change is as good as a rest,” is true. In fact, it’s better. Resting might bring you physical relief but it’s unlikely to lift your spirits or provide you with a burst of energy. Playing a video game, reading a book you’ve read before or watching a film for the eleventh time are all reasonable stress-relievers when you need to switch off, but they won’t energise you and help to move things on.
Not so long ago, I found myself up to my eyes in work and with a few of those stubborn and thorny issues that just refused to resolve themselves. Days spent groping for solutions resulted in nothing and the stress was taking its toll. Stuck in an unproductively linear way of thinking, I thought, “all right, I need a reset.”
I decided to distract myself and let the issues take the back seat for a while. Taking a walk or an imaginary adventure usually does the trick for me and this time was no exception. Armed with a phone fitted with a camera — keep in mind, I’m an amateur photographer at best — I took myself and a few of my favourite people out for a walk about Rotherhithe.
We ended up at the Scandinavian Christmas Market, no more than two streets from where we work. The smells, tastes, laughter and sounds took me away from it all, for just long enough to revive my weary self.
Did I want to go initially? Perhaps not so much. It’s one of those things you have to do, in spite of objections from your work-oriented, pragmatic mind. The game is to lose yourself in something that you enjoy or that will engage you.
I’ll often just walk with my camera in hand, experiencing an area through new eyes. It works wonders. Stripping myself of the sense that I need always be working and productive gives me the energy I need to be just that.
The two opposites of work and play are very keen to kick the other off the court, not knowing that one is very little without the other. So, to my mind, and from my experience, a change is indeed better for you than a rest.
Do you use the same types of strategies? I’d love to know how you handle the balance. Let me know in the comments below.