52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday throughout 2011.
While most of the content here involves DOING things, this week in the Potpourri section of 52 Fridays we look at the importance of taking time off to rejuvenate. It’s more important than you might think.
When you’re running a small (or large) business and equine activities, it seems there’s always something more to do. I grew up with the philosophy that ‘the animals are taken care of first, and then the humans,’ and that ethic continues to this day. If you’re the same, and you add in to that the never-ending to-do list, keeping up on social media, taking care of customers, and handling things that pop up all the time, your free time is both precious and limited. However, it’s still important to build in time to rest, relax, and even get away in order to come back with fresh perspectives for your horsebiz and marketing.
- Short walks: I take a good, long walk every day; it helps me mull over problems I’m facing, connect with other people, and get out into Nature so I can appreciate it. I feel better after I’ve walked, too. Even when I travel I always build in at least some time to get out and move. Studies are now showing many of the health benefits of walking (including these from Mayo Clinic), and when you’re frustrated by a problem or challenge, getting out for at least a quick 15-minute jaunt can leave you physically and mentally refreshed and ready to dig back into your work.
- Weekend (or longer!) getaways: Sometimes it’s good to get away from work, home, and all the obligations tugging at your hem. The 3-day getaway or long weekend has become what most people rely upon as an R&R escape; if that’s all you can manage, then do it! However, there are benefits to getting away for a longer period, in a completely new environment that stimulates your thinking and allows you to unplug and forget your cares, at least for a little while. This article from United Press International (UPI) about how costly ‘vacation deprivation’ can be points out that while the American work culture values people who put in MORE hours and work harder, studies are showing that the opposite is actually more beneficial, not only in terms of health and lifespan, but also in terms of creativity and work accomplishment.
- Personal care: A spa visit can make an ideal personal care respite, but personal care can be as simple as a backrub or footrub from a loved one, a soak in an Epsom-filled bath after a physically-demanding day, or a workout at the gym or your local YMCA. The point is to think of these things as ‘musts’ and schedule them amongst your activities.
- Naps: Siestas are some of the easiest, cheapest ways to get some R&R. Set a little alarm (one that’s not not too jarring!) and catch some ZZZZZs for 15 minutes, or go longer if you can; this Guide to Ultimate Napping from Psychology Today says that less than 30 minutes is often ideal, and this article from Newsweek’s The Daily Beast provides Seven Secrets to a Great Nap. If you need a little more nap justification, consider this report from Buffalo, NY-based WIVB-TV, which says that famous nappers have included Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong, and Albert Einstein. It also mentions one company that has even seen the profit potential in napping; Manhattan-based Yelo offers napping sleep-chambers for those needing to catch up on sleep.
- Have some fun: The health benefits of laughter are well-documented, so remember to have a little fun every day. I loved this Shel Silverstein poem titled The Nap Taker (not what you think!), and there’s a new Twitter chat from @OfficeHooky (#ohchat, Wednesdays at noon Central) that aims to build a community around the benefits of occasional hooky-playing.
Our lives today are often fast-paced and leave us little downtime, but by thinking ahead of ways to build in some self-care and time off, plus making it a priority, we’ll be healthier, happier, and better able to handle any horsebiz challenges coming our way!
Do you take naps or do other things to take time off? Leave your thoughts via the Comments link below. If you liked this article, you can easily tell others about it via Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, and even by email with the Share button below. Pssst, pass it along, and see you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #45!
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