If you’re lucky enough to go
away this December, remember that taking a holiday should be more than
physically going away, and should include switching off and allowing your brain
the time to relax and recharge.
Here are 5 reasons you need give
your brain a break now.
Bloomberg studies have ranked
South Africa as the second most stressed nation in the world. Another global
study by Ipsos and Reuters revealed that more than half of South Africa’s
workforce don’t take their annual leave. The result: high turnover, low
engagement and stagnant teams.
Another constant stressor is
financial worry. The 2017 Sanlam Benchmark Survey shows that 73% of South
Africa’s middle class are stressed due to their financial situation. While 20%
indicated that they "prefer not to think about these issues" and 12%
said they are simply not coping.
Neuroscientists say you should
treat your brain like a muscle – with rest and exercise. Like any muscle, a
stressed out, overworked brain will wear down. Stress makes it harder to
concentrate and more difficult to feel satisfied and consistently engaged in
Ever feel like your brain is
full? That’s because your brain builds connections when you learn new things
and it needs to prune unnecessary information to make room for more
connections. Scientists call this pathway-efficiency and it happens when you
Chances are, you haven’t been
sleeping enough to rest the brain throughout the year. The holidays are the
time to let the brain remove unwanted connections and reset itself for the year
Resting your thinking matter
will boost productivity, sharpen memory and foster happiness, which will
ultimately inspire creativity and problem solving abilities. On the flip side,
continuing light exercise while on leave will strengthen the connections
forming in the brain. Stimulate yourself intellectually with activates
unrelated to work. Whether doing crossword puzzles or a cooking class,
constantly seek recreational information to ponder.
By constantly running your brain
on overdrive, you reduce the ability to think creatively and strategically
tackle complex problems. Business success hinges on your ability to do both.
An overworked stressed-out brain
could lead to anxiety, digestive problems and long-term health problems which
could result in you needing to take sick leave.
Neuroscientists have found our
bodies benefit from resting our grey matter and our brains gain from exercising
The human brain isn’t wired to
perform two tasks at once, let alone three or four. Forcing yourself to switch
between tasks fatigues the frontal lobe, slowing its efficiency and
performance. Technology can be a culprit here. Leave your laptop, work phone
and any work related devices at home.
It can seem like your brain does
all the heavy thinking when you’re hyperfocused, making you more reluctant to
lose the focus even on holiday. The latest brain research shows that
daydreaming activates different parts of the brain, allowing your creativity
and problem-solving abilities to thrive.
A rested brain is still hard at
work processing information and resolving challenges without you knowing. With
all the time to day dream and rest, you could be solving problems, developing
breakthrough solutions and strategizing your business success for next year.
The difficult paradox that doing
less, allows you to do more is true. Plus, you deserve it and so do your
loved-ones. Importantly, your business success for the coming year depends on