How to enjoy some proper time off

Keep it simple: have a picnic; go out for ice cream; or do an activity that will keep your mind off work.

Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group

As a farmer, you might find it hard to get some proper downtime, specially when you want to go on a trip! Whether you want to take an hour, a day or a week off, find out how you can unplug and recharge. 

Occupational psychologist, speaker and business coach Pierrette Desrosiers has a successful strategy built around 4 themes that give concrete results. 

1. Mental detachment: Go out! 
When you work from home, it's important that you get out of the house and check out mentally, whether it's for a week, a few days or just a few hours. Do it! "If you stay at home and you see the vet doing their rounds or the neighbours working on their farm, there's no way you'll disconnect," says Ms. Desrosiers. 

For maximum benefit, take short breaks--a few minutes a day, once a week or one weekend a month. Keep it simple: have a picnic; go out for ice cream; or do an activity that will keep your mind off work. All of those activities will help you disconnect regularly and improve your mental and physical health. 

That being said, work follows us around and is always at our fingertips, on our cell phone. Technology has allowed us to improve our work processes but it also has its downside. While it's convenient and practical for you to check your work production in real time, you will always be in work mode if you're constantly on your phone when you're supposed to be on vacation. If you need to, set a time, right from the start, when you will go online to check up on workmake sure to keep it under 15 minutes. That's enough to reassure you--you'll feel better and so will your family. 

2. Relaxation
The word "relaxation" does not always sound accessible to everyone. "A farmer leads a fast-paced life and it tends to take a toll on both mind and body. The idea is, when you take time off to disconnect, it's important to slow things down," says Ms. Desrosiers. 

To get the most out of your vacation, avoid filling your day up and planning a million things to do. Organize activities that are not work related and that improve your sense of well-being. Give them a try. For example, you can read for fun and not about the latest in the farming industry, go to the movies, get in a canoe, go for a hike or a bike ride. But remember to take it easy. If you want to run, go for a light jog to avoid over-exertion and give your mind and body time to recover. 

3. Keep a handle on your free time 
At work, there's always a list of tasks to complete every day. But if you want to unplug, you must do things differently. You must feel that you're being "picky" about an activity. Whether it's a short break or a longer vacation, decide what to do in your free time. You shouldn't feel as if you're letting other people or things dictate your schedule. 

Look for activities that are easily accessible and have nothing to do with work. 
When you do routine tasks, you develop habits that end up etched in your brain and, over time, you get stuck in a rut. So, it's important for you to try new activities that will stimulate your brain and senses. You want to build a birdhouse, try windsurfing or learn a new instrument? Go for it!

4. A sense of control
This 4th theme is a natural continuation of the previous one. Once you choose an activity that speaks to you, it becomes an exciting challenge. What do you enjoy? Is there anything you want to try or learn? 

In the process of doing or learning something new, you'll appreciate every step that you overcome and master. It's a nice distraction and you'll develop new skills. When you take regular short breaks instead of just one week off in a whole year, you get to do something fun more often, which creates a long-term positive effect on your mental and physical health.

Sceptical? "I know a farmer who wanted to learn to play the guitar. He took up the challenge and "played" along. Today, he enjoys the positive benefits of music on his breaks, and beyond," concludes Ms. Desrosiers.

How about you? How do you disconnect? 

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