You have just come off the busiest time of the year. Your generally full calendar was probably bursting with holiday “to dos.” Now as you ramp up for the New Year, take time to wind down to rebuild mental energy to face whatever challenges lie ahead. In fact, not only should you schedule downtime away from work in 2023; you want to incorporate downtime into your daily routine to keep renewed and refreshed. Here is why:
Your brain needs downtime
No one questions the value of resting our muscles after an intense workout or other physical activity. In much the same way, the brain requires downtime and breaks throughout the day and for longer periods of time throughout the year. Taking breaks from problem solving or absorbing new information, helps boost mood, performance, and your ability to concentrate and pay attention.  Not taking breaks can contribute to burnout and chronic stress, which can lead to several health problems.
It is not only our experience that tells us we need a break; an array of studies substantiates the need for downtime. Research has been conducted on the habits of office workers and the daily routines of extraordinary musicians and athletes and the benefits of vacation, meditation and time spent out of doors. Other studies indicate how unwinding while awake can sharpen the mind. In short, downtime increases the brain’s ability to concentrate and pay attention and encourages creativity and productivity.
Downtime benefits your business
By taking a break, your business benefits. When you get away from work, you gain perspective. Downtime can re-inspire you to come up with new ideas and restore creative energy to stimulate “out of the box” thinking. Downtime also restores motivation to tackle new challenges.
In essence, taking breaks prevents decision fatigue. When you are under stress, you are not as effective in seeing things clearly. Allowing your brain to recharge can help you plan more effectively. And taking a break also can increase your productivity since it resets your mind.
Take quick breaks
You do not always have to get away from your business for a long period of time to unwind. During the work day, unplug your electronic devices, take a short walk, or even go out for a lunch or coffee to collect your thoughts.
Prepare for a longer break
If you feel the need for a longer break away from your spa or massage practice, you may need to learn to let things go and let others step in. Once you have committed to getting away, here are some of the things to do to make sure it is business as usual while you are gone:
Get current: You do not want to come back to pressing issues you put off so before you head out, pay any bills that are coming due. Do not initiate any new projects – unless you cannot put them off – and make sure you have arranged for needed supplies or inventory, so that your spa or massage practice does not run short or soon will after you return.
Delegate your work: Before you head out, work out with your team who is in charge and what responsibilities others will need to take on in your absence. Make it clear how much authority your team has in order to make decisions in your absence. Establish priorities and convey your expectations.
Provide a status update: In order that everyone can do their job and yours, update team members on the status of projects, client needs and any other business dealings that may come up while you are gone. This will eliminate surprises and prepare the appropriate people to knowledgeably answer questions.
Inform clients: Let clients know you will be gone and direct them to one of your team to contact in your absence.
Take your needed downtime short term and long and stay refreshed to meet the challenges and opportunities 2023 offers.
 “Why Downtime is Essential for Brain Health,” Cleveland Clinic, June 2, 2020. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-downtime-is-essential-for-brain-health/
 Jabr, Ferris, “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime,” Scientific American, October 15, 2003. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/#