Recharge Your Work Batteries During Holiday Downtime

ByKate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com

Everyone needs to take time out to recharge, and the holidays present a perfect opportunity to do just that. Sure there's shopping and social obligations, but with business slow (unless you're in retail) and people predisposed to conversing and connecting with one another, it can also be a time of reflection and renewal.

These strategies will let you take advantage of the holiday season and start the new year off right:

Take a True Break
You've heard the maxim, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Research shows it also makes Jack less productive. Try to take a real break from the office. Put an "out of office" message on your voice- and e-mails, so people won't expect a quick response and you'll be less tempted to check in. If possible, arrange for a colleague to handle urgent requests and leave his or her contact information on your messages.

Avoid Overcommitting
Don't over schedule yourself or commit to too many events and obligations. And give yourself some wiggle room. For example, rather than say you'll be somewhere or have something done at 3 p.m., give yourself a two-hour window.

Watch What You Eat (And Drink)
'Tis the season to be jolly, but all those sweets, heavy foods and alcoholic beverages can drain your energy and make you even more tired. Go ahead, indulge a little, but know when too much of a good thing becomes bad.

If you work out or play sports, keep it up. If you're not normally active, try to start your day with a brisk walk or other exercise to help burn extra calories, clear your head -- and avoid dealing with annoying house guests!

Use time away from the job or job search to keep current on your industry and profession as well as world events and trends. Read magazines -- or that novel everyone's talking about. Taking in a variety of materials will give your mind a reserve from which to draw for creative ideas and solutions. It will also make you more interesting to talk to.

You'll probably meet more new people during the holiday party circuit than at any other time of year. Take advantage of social functions to get to know those who can help you achieve your career goals. But don't be pushy! Use these encounters to establish a relationship -- perhaps even offering to do favors for others -- so that you can call on them some day in the future.

Make Meaningful New Year's Resolutions
Resolve to make changes that will bring more energy into your daily routine. Dr. Robert K. Cooper, author of High Energy Living, offers five simple ideas:

  • Wake up on the right side of the bed. If you wake with a start and dive into the morning rush, many benefits of deep sleep are lost. Try waking to soothing music rather than the clanging of an alarm. Do some deep breathing to ease the stress the morning jolt causes the body.
  • Don't skip breakfast. Dr. Cooper says it's impossible to overemphasize the value of the morning meal. Eat low-fat protein, such as low-fat milk on cereal, a pumpernickel bagel or a mix of berries and nonfat whole-oat granola in a cup of nonfat yogurt.

  • Get moving. Add at least five minutes of relaxed physical activity to your morning routine. Studies show that light physical activity an hour or two after awakening decreases tension while it increases calm energy and alertness and raises your metabolism throughout the day.

  • Lighten up. On sunny days, stepping outside for a breath of fresh air will do more to revive you than a cup of coffee. A three-year study conducted at Harvard University linked the impact of light on the retina to better attention, focus and energy production in the brain.

  • Take water breaks. Drinking small amounts of chilled water every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day will signal your metabolism to keep your energy and alertness levels high as well as improve your overall health and resistance to illness.

    Following these steps will keep you recharged not only during the holidays, but all year long.

  • edit @ 2005/12/24 16:59:10

    edit @ 2005/12/24 16:59:45