This takes effort and commitment. It doesn't just happen. However, we don't need to be doing this every waking hour - as tempting as that might seem and as much as we might really enjoy what we are doing. There comes a time when we must unplug from our normal focus and activities focus and plug into intentional fun activities to recharge our batteries. We have to regenerate our energy periodically or we'll find that we are getting stale or running near empty.
The idea of stopping the clock on our strenuous work life - of pausing to "take five" - is a very important concept that is vital to our emotional and physical health. Consequently, it impacts our business health as well.
Unplugging is a conscious, intentional act that we do — not when we want to avoid doing something that we are committed to doing or a way or procrastinating. This is a break that we intentionally take when we walk away from what we are doing — knowing that what we need to do will be waiting for us when we return.
We must put our mental and physical health above that of the business. As important as our business is, without us to guide, direct, and run it - at least for now - it will falter. We can't take that chance. There is too much depending on our success - from clients, employees or strategic partners, suppliers and vendors, and our family.
When we say “yes” to seemingly every request that comes our way, we need to find the courage to push back, hit the pause button, and say "no." We must occasionally and regularly unplug from our normal schedule. Unplugging doesn’t mean shirking anything we are supposed to be doing. It’s a break or time-out that gives us mental, emotional, and physical refreshment to tackle the things that we need to do.
A break can be quite short or a few hours. It can even be a long weekend or a short vacation. It can be just a little while each day when a relaxing activity is enjoyed (even if that requires physical activity), or it can be a whole day or several days spent just getting away from the regular schedule. Taking a break, getting a breather, unplugging, or recharging are basically different names for the same healthy activity.
When we schedule a break - rather than just walking away or goofing off for a little while because it seems like we need so time to regroup - we do it with the understanding that this is much of a planned and scheduled activity as any other important business meeting or appointment. Therefore, we can get full enjoyment from our downtime with worrying about being at the office or regretting that we stole away. It's calendared time.
This doesn't mean we won't have thought about our business or think of things we want to do when our respite is over. That's natural. The main point is that we have to schedule time and then honor it. Skipping a scheduled recreational period is the same as ignoring or blowing off an appointment - something we generally wouldn't do.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.