“All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.”

I’m going to start by asking you a simple question: when was the last time you took a few days off work that didn’t involve being sick or meeting another obligation?

Did you take the time to relax, reconnect with yourself and re-align your goals?

The first part is easier and something a lot of us do frequently – taking days off is a pleasure, a reward for working hard and allocating time for ourselves; through days out, holidays, activities etc. However, the second part of the question is something we often dismiss. The opportunity to dial-in to how you’re feeling, to be aware of what your mind and body is in need of and take action is rare. Anyone can default to taking a holiday or a week off work to ‘sort the house out’ but that doesn’t often give our bodies and our brains the rest it craves.

Let’s make something clear: if you give yourself dedicated time to relax and re-cooperate, your return will be even more focussed and your energy levels higher than they were before.

Why do we need time off?

Without the occasional break, you’ll start to burn out and your productivity will dwindle. Stepping away from the physical and mental demands of everyday life gives you a chance to come back refreshed and clear-headed.

This is no different from a health and fitness environment – rest is as important as activity. How can we expect to return to our usual routine with more vigour and focus if we don’t properly allow ourselves to switch off?

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of giving yourself an extended rest:

  • Allows Time for Recovery: your muscles recover from your fitness regime and your brain gets time to be free from your usual, daily routine
  • Hello Mental clarity: When you push yourself to work too many days in a row, eventually your brain will start to push back – seek clarity through rest
  • Better Balance: Taking time away from work gives you a chance to rekindle your joy and remember what life was like before you became relentlessly busy
  • Improved Focus: You’ll be surprised how many great ideas come up when you step away from the monotony for a day or two
  • Returning Strong: Your ‘return to routine’ will be better than ever as you’ve given yourself time to re-align your goals and concentrate on how you’ll achieve them

Just as rest days are as important to a fitness regime as exercise is, a successful fitness and mindset balance isn’t complete without taking time off to feed the mind, body and soul.

Rewarding yourself with regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair – it’s a critical part of progress, regardless of your fitness levels, goals or approach to mental health. The real opportunity here is to fully maximise your time off so that you can come back afterwards harder, faster, stronger and more in tune with your targets than you were before.

By all means rest up, take time off but make one thing certain; gift yourself the opportunity to return to your routine ‘all guns blazing’ with laser-focus and a mindset that won’t be shifted.