Many of us dream of being that perfect version of ourselves that has it all together. In our minds, we get it all handled with grace and time to spare. While this is a great goal, it’s pretty uncommon for most of us. We struggle with deadlines, bills, social obligations and juggle all of this with pursuing a life we love, a life full of balance and peace.

Creating a balance of work and relaxation is what our bodies and minds crave. Our bodies are built to recharge so that every day we can use that energy to survive. When we don’t allow our bodies that proper rest we rob ourselves of needed time to heal and renew. Pushing ourselves to work too much or lose needed sleep works against us, making it harder to accomplish our goals. Humans have a natural rhythm of alertness and tiredness that we alternate between at about 90 minute intervals throughout the day. This cycle is similar to the circadian rhythm we experience while we sleep. We can optimize our work output by putting this knowledge to use. Scheduling breaks, even short ones periodically while we work. Here are a few tips to help you use relaxation to charge ahead:

Plan for a power nap on lunch

Plan a restful break once in a while. “Power” napping or some other destressing practice can help rejuvenate us right in the middle of our busy work day. If napping isn’t for you try meditating, knitting or playing some calming music. Finding the time to fit in some relaxing and positive activity helps you to remember the things that bring you joy before re-entering work mode, and can make you feel like a healthier and happier individual. I often remember the quote “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour”. The busier you are, the more time for relaxation you should set aside.

Set time limits for your work

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our work we lose track of time. While it’s nice to have the time “fly-by” it’s important that we don’t burn ourselves out. Set an alarm to remind you to take a break every few hours. Walk down to the local coffee shop or just around the block and get your mind off of the task at hand. Studies have shown that when presented with a difficult problem, those who took a brief reprieve and had a simple task to work on had a 75% chance of solving the problem compared to just 40% success for those who just took a quiet break. Try playing a game of solitaire or even coloring. Check out the Inc. article about that psychological study here or grab one of these awesome coloring books for adults.

Take a vacation

Getting away for a short time can help us feel refreshed when we’ve been working hard. While a dream vacation to Bora Bora is amazing, it’s not always realistic. Taking a quick trip out of the city is an easy and affordable way to clear your mind of the daily grind and get centered. Try Googling “day trips near [insert your city here]” and book a quick getaway. A change of scenery, even if you are not far from home can clear your mental palate and help you feel more inspired. Sites like Airbnb or Hotwire can help you to find affordable accommodations at your destination, while other sites like Groupon or LivingSocial offer fun local activities at a reasonable price.

Schedule regular bodywork

We often forget how much our bodies love routine. Making time to give your body a break at least once a month can help us stay balanced and ready to take on the many tasks on our lists. There are a variety of ways to do this including massage, acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. Check with your bodyworker to see if they offer discounts for regular clients, it’s a benefit for you to have a recurring time to relax and may offer an opportunity to save money (which can also reduce stress). Having a massage to look forward to at the end of a busy week or month can give you something wonderful to look forward to and keep you grounded through stressful moments.

Acknowledge your accomplishments

Take a moment to remember how far you have come and how much you have accomplished. There will always be plenty of work to be done but don’t let that stop you from being proud of your progress. Feeling overwhelmed can get in the way of productivity. Don’t spend more time worrying about what still needs to be done than actually getting those things checked off of the to-do list. Rome was not built in a day and your goals also need time to take shape.


Whether it’s getting a weekly massage, meditating or taking a power nap during the day, setting aside time for yourself will make you more capable of doing what your need to do for yourself and others. When we don’t properly recharge, we run out of energy sooner leading us to rely on caffeine or stress/adrenaline induced substitutes. Try these tips to get some real rejuvenation and have the energy to get more done!