Usually when I need a break, I stop. I try to relax. Then I find that my attempts to relax…aren’t relaxing.
My strategy isn’t effective. Why? Because researchers have discovered that stopping and waiting aren’t enough. James M. Tyler and Kathleen C. Burns wrote in their article “After Depletion: The Replenishment of the Self’s Regulatory Resources” in the journal Self and Identity that individuals who were intentional and mindful about relaxing managed stress better. Those who were strategic about their relaxing choices, such as listening to relaxing music, were able to stick with a taxing task twice as long as individuals who merely waited.
The next time you want—or need—to relax, be intentional. Take a 20-minute power nap. Meditate. Do slow, deep breathing. Walk in nature. Engage in something you deeply love that relaxes you.
You may discover that your intentional attempts at relaxation will sustain you—and give you the energy you need to tackle what’s next.