Man paddling kayak in mountain lake, Lake Rotoiti, New Zealand

  1. Sleep well – important cognitive neural pathways are strengthened and repair work occurs while you sleep. Use relaxation exercises, baths, herbal teas and light reading to wind down ready for a deep sleep.
  2. Eat well – choose the most nutritious foods you can as often as you can. Carry plenty of nutrient high, energy-enhancing snacks with you and stay away from the processed energy sapping choices.
  3. Move more – be as active as you can, as often as you can. Plan to meet friends for a walk, swim, yoga or dance class.  Ask colleagues to join you for fresh air breaks.  Reward yourself for extra effort and aim to do something every day even if you don’t feel like it.
  4. Practice mindfulness – be fully present in whatever you are doing. Try eating, driving, walking or breathing mindfully. When your thoughts wander, bring them back to whatever you are doing in the present.
  5. Pay attention to your breathing – check you are breathing from your diaphragm (belly breathing) not your chest. This helps to keep your body and mind in a calm state rather than a frantic one.
  6. Schedule recovery and time off – experiment with planning, and taking, different kinds of recovery breaks. Pay attention to your levels of energy and performance before and after breaks – do you notice a difference?  When are you most refreshed?  What kind of break lifts your performance?
  7. Include technology breaks in your time off. Try an experiment for yourself – see how long you can go with your various devices turned off? Can you manage 5 minutes? 30 minutes? Or you may want to set some rules for yourself about turning devices off some evenings and weekends.  You may even want to throw yourself in the deep end and go cold turkey for a whole weekend or day off.
  8. Resist the urge to multi-task! Try turning off electronic interruptions for periods of time, and plan blocks of time for focused work where you remove yourself from multi-tasking temptations.
  9. Increase your experiences of positive emotion – think of something that makes you feel good or do something that helps you feel grateful, or calm, or happy or satisfied. Positive emotions recharge us physically, mentally and emotionally.
  10. Practice habits rather than set goals – habits require less cognitive effort. Use routine, repetition and reward to strengthen habits and make them stick.

Written by http://umbrella.org.nz for LexisNexis 

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