Last year my wife and I went on holiday in Greece. And apart from a rather memorable incident (the yacht we were staying on sank … it’s a long story), we had an amazing time.

So amazing in fact, that we chose to carry on being on vacation even after we came back. We started to take mental holidays.

We decided that after the work day was over, we would mentally shut off from all of our tasks and responsibilities, and relish a precious hour or two together before bed time. We would read a book to each other, or watch an episode of New Girl on the couch (if you aren’t addicted yet, you need to be), or take a walk and eat ice-cream. Whatever was fun or chilled out, or plain just unproductive, we would do.

I began to notice that simply “switching off” for an hour or two at the end of each day reduced my stress levels, lowered my blood pressure, and even made me more productive. I would wake up every morning with more energy, better ideas, and definitely more joy. So we turned it into a habit. And a year later I can say that it has been one of the best things we’ve ever done.

As the saying goes, a bow always in tension will soon break. I don’t know about you, but IĀ still want to be able to shoot arrows long after my hair’s gone grey.

What productivity tips do you have that we could all benefit from? Leave a comment and let me know!


5 thoughts on “Mental holidays

  1. Bill Hybels recommends another similar kind of productivity trick: every hour or so he leaves what ever he is working on and does something for 5 minutes that he finds refreshing – something that helps him to disengage with the tasks of the day. For him, calling one of his kids just to say hi, or simply standing in the garden outside of his office does the trick. The idea is to come up with a handfull of these kinds of activities that you know help you to disengage, and then to get into the routine of using them regularly through the day.

  2. An excellent encouragement to make it a habit (discipline) to disconnect from our ubiquitously connected world – that we can reconnect with those nearest and dearest to us…

    • That’s a very good point Gavin – we do need to make it into a discipline! It sounds counter-intuitive to be disciplined about relaxation, but it’s true. I like your point about connecting to those closest to us – I think that should be one of the goals of down-time, that we use it to improve our ‘real’ non-virtual connections with close friends and family. And I would add the connection to God as well – personal times of devotion and reflection are vital.

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