20th Anniversary Issue Recently, a friend complained to me. “I was going to play hooky yesterday and instead, I just wasted the day doing nothing. It wasn’t very satisfying.” My friend, who is self-employed, did indeed stay home and rest. In my mind, at least, he appeared to have taken the day off. So what was I missing? Instead, of doing something specific with his time off, my friend did what we all do. He web surfed, sat in a sunny window pondering life and ate snacks. Downtime actually happened – enough that his brain was indeed given a good rest. What was missing was the intention behind his time off. He hadn’t consciously given himself permission to relax all day. Instead, he stayed stuck in that slightly guilty, in-between place of wanting to take time off, and even needing to. Yet, somehow he couldn’t make it happen. My friend was unable to give himself a bona fide hooky day. Perhaps you relate. There is nothing more restorative than giving yourself a day off, according to neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart. She notes that in order to be fully productive, you need blood flowing freely through all parts of the brain. When you’re stressed out or feel you’ve been treated unfairly, that blood flow doesn’t circulate as well in the higher functioning regions of the brain. “You’re unlikely to collaborate or be really productive,” she says. “It’s better to take some time out or sort the problem out and then come back to work. You’re more likely to think creatively and take a healthy amount of risk.” Indeed, Dr....
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