During the summertime, employees everywhere take a step back from work and focus a little more on fun. However, with limited time to spend on recovery from work, how should you best structure your day? We have talked about vacations, breaks, and retreats before. But, how can you make each day count when you’re trying to recover and restore your energy during the summer? Read on for some tips on how to make the best, simple recovery choices possible over the next couple of months.
Start with Small Changes to Your Work Day
When you’re looking at Instagram and noticing all of the beautiful vacations your friends are on, it can seem impossible to be happy with the daily grind. But, research synthesizing the impacts of recovery on wellbeing shows that making smaller changes to your workday can truly aid recovery in the long-term. For example, taking an actual lunch break can drive greater recovery during the workday. If you’re eating your lunch at your desk or checking your phone frequently while eating, that doesn’t count. Try to keep your phone in your office and truly disconnect while eating.
So, if you’re yearning to get away for a while, try starting by getting away from your work for a short while. Take some time away from your desk and read a book for a little while. Or get some colleagues together and talk about something fun for a bit. Even better, go for a walk or engage in some mindfulness exercises. You can make a difference in your overall recovery with only 10 or 15 minutes of relaxation during your workday.
Recovery in Nature is All Around You
Again, seeing all of the vacations that your friends and family are taking may make you feel like leaving your hometown is the only road to recovery. But, nature is all around you. Take advantage of it! Indeed, being in nature, regardless of where it is located, has been found to be restorative. Work in a city? No worries! Being exposed to urban green spaces has also been found to improve mood, compared to urban non-green spaces. Even if you have a city park close by, walking for a bit and enjoying the scenery can help.
If you’re really pressed for time, but still need recovery, try simply changing your own view. Preliminary research shows that just looking at a green space outside of your window is better than looking at a concrete space. So, take your laptop somewhere that has a nicer view if you can. If you don’t have the option of changing where you work, try adding a few plants to your workspace. Some research shows that having living plants in an office might be more restorative than having other objects nearby. The point is that you don’t have to take a ton of time or have access to one of the Seven Wonders to benefit from natural recovery. It might be easier than you think!
Recovery Comes From Doing Things You Love
It may be the case that the perfect formula for recovery looks different for everyone. That’s because we all have things that we love to do and that feel good for us, but might not work for others. For example, interacting socially with others might help you to recover. So, it may be enough to take some time during the day to chat with a coworker or to take time at the end of the day to talk with a friend on Skype. For others, physical activity may provide a respite and prompt recovery. In that case, going for a run after work or taking a fitness class each evening might drive recovery for you.
Overall, feeling like you are in control of the activities you do when you’re trying to recover is likely to help. What really helps you to feel connected to yourself? What do you truly feel relaxed doing? Which activity makes you feel energized afterward? You might want to focus on these activities when you’re attempting to recover. Spending just a little bit of time on an activity you love each day can make a big difference in your wellbeing over time.
While going on extravagant vacations is certainly fun and beneficial, there are other ways to achieve recovery from work. What are your favorite ways to recover, that don’t involve lots of money or time? Let us know what you like to do to achieve recovery below. We would love to learn from what has worked for you!