FGL Stress Break: Feeling Stuck? Take a Walk

Have you ever been involved with several projects at once and then suddenly you’re stuck.  Your thoughts drift, you touch base on Facebook, your creativity decreases and you just can’t get anything done?  That happened to me last week as I worked on blog posts, live talks, and my newsletter.  I looked at the clock thinking, “I have to keep going.”  Sound familiar?   I gazed out the window and exhaled hard, frustration filling my limbs.  “Practice what you preach,  Stacey.”  So I grabbed my coat and ipod and opted for some fresh air and a short walk.

What if I told you I returned 10 minutes later feeling refreshed, energized and ready to create. I finished my newsletter, drafted this post, and made a few calls I had postponed?  Would you believe me?

I know you’ve heard it before, and I know it sounds counter-intuitive to take a short break when you have so much to do.  The truth is it works.  (I recently came across this Harvard Business Review Blog post written by Tony Schwartz, suggesting renewal breaks are critical to becoming excellent in anything.)

But you can’t just take my word for it, you have to try it yourself.   Start slow, 5 or 10 minutes is all you need. (and if you can’t find 5 or 10 minutes for your health and well-being, unfortunately I can’t help you.)  Remember your body is made to move.  You get endorphins flowing for a mood boost, adrenaline for energy, and the mental break will boost your creativity.  The walk need not be fast, aggressive or fitness based.  You don’t even have to go outside.  Take a walk down the hall or to the bathroom if that’s all you have time for.  Think of it more as a health break, creativity and productivity boost.  Seriously.

Bottom line:  if you’re feeling stuck, take a break.  If you keep creating tension on a rubber band, what happens? It breaks. The same is true for the body.  Tension doesn’t help, it hurts physically, mentally and creatively.  Avoid plowing through and give your mind and body a chance to relax and let go.  Because that feels good.

How about you? What methods do you use to get “unstuck”?

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Another great way to get unstuck is to take deep breaths.  This week I have a video on managing overwhelm featured on the homepage of well, then, an online health and wellness resource.  I hope you check it out.

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  • http://www.purposepowercoaching.com Chris Edgar

    Hi Stacey — yes, I could feel myself tighten up inside when you said “I have to keep going” — when I find myself in that mode, as if it’s a life or death struggle I’m involved in there in front of the computer, getting re-centered is definitely a good idea.

  • http://bigfishtopdogs.com Theresa Bradley-Banta

    Hi Stacey –

    I could totally relate to everything you were saying about juggling a bunch of things at once and feeling like I can’t stop right now. I do take walks down the hall, you know, get a change of scenery occasionally… but I think I’m going to take you up on your idea of getting outside for 10-15 minutes. The walk to the front door is harder than the 10 minute walk! I get a lot of exercise, but I don’t take the short energizing breaks with fresh air. Thanks for the idea. Sometimes I feel like I’ve really got to commit more time to make it effective. Not so.

    It’s funny I just wrote a post called Feeling Stuck? And it was entirely different, of course, than yours. I loved your post. Thank you!

  • http://staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

    Hi Chris – I love how you put it “life or death” struggle. Most of the time it’s not and a walk is well suited.

    Hi Theresa – It’s different than the fitness walk, which is longer and faster! Let me know how the short walks work out for you and I will check out your post on Feeling Stuck. We all have different experiences and perspectives, thanks for sharing yours!

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