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WORK-LIFE BALANCE

10 Ways to Take a Holiday at Your Desk

Can't take a day off? Here are 10 ideas on how to take a break without leaving your chair.
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Columbus Day is one of those strange holidays that only affects some people. Those in banking or government get a nice long weekend. For the rest, it's business as usual. Still, sometimes when you have been grinding it out, you need a holiday, even if it's just for an hour or two. Not everyone has the luxury of running out to the golf course or heading for a lake. So for those of you stuck in the office with little time to spare, here are ten surefire ways to take that much needed mental vacation and refresh yourself for the work ahead. Keep this list handy so you can take a little staycation anytime.

1. Meditate

If your mind is in need of a break, some simple meditation will help you gain the necessary refreshment. It's better if you have some instrumental music on headphones so you can block out the background noise. Then you can choose an internal focal point and block out your mental noise as well.

2. Enjoy a Videofest

I love TV as a vacation because it fills my brain like foam. Online videos do the same for me, only in small bites. Either find a good one-hour story that takes you away, or surf YouTube and see the interesting and outrageous events going on out in the world. You might learn some new things and probably have a laugh or two.

3. Read Some Really Good Fiction

The great thing about a good novel or short story is that it's easy, quiet and portable. Fiction is important because nonfiction or business books keep my brain working instead of relaxing. I always travel with a good book so I can pull it out and break from work anytime, anywhere. With an actual book, I even get to disconnect from the electronic world for a while. My eyes and soul are very appreciative.

4. Do Upper Body Yoga

It's not easy to do physical activity at your desk, and you probably don't want to break a sweat. But a little stretching and breathing can help you loosen up both mentally and physically. Yoga is a perfect solution. Remember to focus on your breathing to clear your brain from its earthly attachments. Namaste.

5. Solve a Puzzle or Two

A crossword puzzle or sudoku may seem like work to some, but for many it's a great way to escape the work doldrums and reignite thinking. Even though you work the brain with a puzzle, it's not the same as big idea creation or complex problem-solving. Each simple success in the puzzle releases invigorating endorphins, readying you for the big mental effort work requires.

6. Write an Emotional Letter

Who is that person you need to tell how you feel? If an emotion has been bottling up inside, now is a good time to let it out. Put in writing what you just haven't had the time to say in person. It might be a romantic letter to your significant other or a thank-you letter to your mom. Write it on paper and--who knows?--you might even send it.

7. Call a Good Friend

An hour-long call with one of my close friends can make me feel like I an in a whole different world. Those calls are always filled with stories, laughter and powerful emotion. They never get old and never cease to provide nourishment.

8. Check Out a Podcast

Podcasting is my favorite growing technology of this century. I can subscribe to wonderful stories and discussions and listen any time I want. The best part is that my iPod updates automatically every time I charge it, so all this great material is available to me without even thinking about it.

9. Clean Your Desk or Office

Clutter and stacks of paper tire me almost as much as the work they represent. A solid hour spent cleaning and sorting not only has mindless therapeutic benefit, but the clean desk and workspace left behind will help you feel strong and ready to take on the world once more.

10. Plan a Vacation

Put your brain in the exact place you can't go physically. Just the act of choosing a location, hotel and itinerary can whisk you away mentally. Then you can relax in the stress of the day, knowing that the real vacation is set and waiting as you count down the days.

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IMAGE: Angela Sabas/Flickr
Last updated: Oct 14, 2013

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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