Getting Un-Fried

by Mike O’Mary

I’m fried. Over the past ten weeks, I’ve written at least ten speeches and presentations, plus video scripts, articles, blog posts, and hundreds and hundreds of e-mails. I’m seriously fried.

Midnight in ParisWhen I get like this, I need to relax. Music usually does it for me. Pretty much any kind of music. Getting away from the computer is important, too. Even if it’s just to take a walk – or to do any kind of exercise, because doing something physical is good not just for your body, but also for your mind.

Years ago when I was in graduate school, I got into a nice rhythm of working really hard for a ten-week quarter, then doing something physical to give my mind a break for a week. I remember refinishing an old oak desk during one break. That was a good break – and I used that desk for about twenty years after that.

Enjoying the arts is another great way to give yourself a break and also spark your creativity. I often find myself dreaming up new ideas while listening to a concert or watching a play.

What about you? What do you do to give yourself a break when you’re getting burned out? Please leave a comment and share your advice.

PS: Speaking of walks and the arts, I strongly recommend that you take a break this week and see “Midnight in Paris.” It’s a whimsical and humorous trip back to the literary scene of Paris in the 1920s that starts when a writer takes a walk and gets lost in Paris one night. (It’s a little like the great Griffin Dunne movie “After Hours,” but not as distrubing!) It you’re a writer, “Midnight in Paris” contains some special treats for you.

Mike O’Mary is founder of the Note Project, a campaign to make the world a million times better, and of Dream of Things, a book publisher and online bookstore.

3 thoughts on “Getting Un-Fried”

  1. Great post!

    I try to work extra hard when I have time so I build in “blow off” hours/days. Then, I just play hookie and rest.

    If I can only take a “mini-break” it’s the gym for a cardio blast with music. (Both your suggestions–together! :))

    Hope you can take a little time for yourself soon….

  2. After Hours! Great movie, really need to rent that again. And will definitely look up Midnight.

    I’ve always described myself as a sprinter when it comes to work — I can’t (or won’t) work very hard for very long. Like Catherine, my favorite break is to do something physical. I just bought a used rowing machine off Craiglist. Other than being way less fit than I was at 20, it momentarily makes me feel like I’m back in college — where I was much more interested in being on the water than hitting the books, ha!

  3. Catherine & Jake: Sounds like “getting physical” is definitely one of the keys to mental relaxation. So I’m going to look on the bright side of things when I’m mowing the lawn tonight!

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