Some afternoons, usually around 2PM, the strong urge to re-caffeinate seems to take hold like my early morning espresso that has somehow lost its punch. It doesn’t matter if I begin my day with an intense workout that leaves me feeling alert and ready to take on the day. Suddenly, I’m reading the same word, the same sentence and looking at the same letter over and over again. It’s the moment my brain is telling me to stop, slow down – you’ve become a victim of information overload!

Who has the time to take a break or to enjoy any real downtime when our lives are defined by all the busyness we experience. We’re always plugged in – whether it’s the phone, computer, work or family demanding our time. Our brains and bodies are hurt by constant stress.

Despite being no expert on meditation, or relaxation in general, I’ve learned that personal downtime is as individual as your DNA.  Taking time for yourself, gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover (or rediscover) your own voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem-solve more effectively.

So what is the best way to get that much needed brain rest? Personally, it’s a long bike ride on a warm, sunny day, an early morning walk with my dog, testing out a new recipe, or a hike with family and friends in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains, and of course with the warmer weather approaching, a long, lazy day at the beach.  Also,  you can’t underestimate the importance of an actual vacation. Taking longer periods of time and being away from your routine gives you a chance to look at life from a different perspective and feel refreshed.

Hopefully, you can take time for yourself today – whether it’s a quick walk during your work break, 10 minutes of reflection and meditation or a long pause at the end of the day – it could be the start of something life changing.