Hard as it is to put the work-a-hol down, sometimes the best move you can make for your day job is to ditch it and play.

“We have a notion in our country that work is like a marathon, you just do more and more and more,” offers Feeling Overworked author Ellen Galinsky. “That’s out of sync with how our bodies operate. To be creative, we need time for rest and recovery.”

Those rest and relaxation pit stops during the daily rat race can replenish more than your inner artist: It can let you live longer, sleep sounder, age with elegance, and churn out office accomplishments that will draw the envy of your over-toiled job mates.


“If businesses operated on how people actually function, we would be more efficient,” Galinsky claims. She drums up a dreadful statistic concerning the 27 percent of Americans whose job-related sleep troubles are sabotaging their jobs. Another 31 percent are debilitated by stress, she laments — and that was before the recession.

When you’re that stretched thin, stretch your legs, recommends Maggie Mistal, host of Sirius Radio’s Making a Living.

“Taking occasional walks can make a huge difference,” she notes. “The longer you sit at your desk the more you’re at risk for health problems.”

To get the most return from your workdays, ensure you’re getting the most from your days away. Career mentor Cindy Pladziewicz says that means discovering some after-hours joy time, spent on pastimes pleasant enough to let you forget where you abandoned your iPhone.

“Find something that will engage you,” she suggests. “It could be a sport, time in nature, music, something laid back, but the key is that you take a break.”

The irony, Galinsky notes, is that those who invest the most of ourselves in our careers spend the scantest time reflecting on what it is we’re chasing.

“If it often takes having an illness before people start living the way they want to,” she observes. “We shouldn’t have to make that responsible for living the way we want to live.”

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