4 Ways to Re

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A man with staleness while working.

I’ve been working from home for much of my career, like the rest of the tiny team here at AoM, and I’ve noticed that without colleagues to talk to, breakrooms, or a coffee shop in the lobby, it’s easy to feel a little stale. While lunch is a good break in the middle of the day, I’ve discovered that I also need some refreshment in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. 

Fortunately, one’s ability to re-energize at home is even better than at work — you can experiment with habits and routines without worrying that onlookers will think you’re a weirdo or a slacker — and over the years, I’ve tried a variety of methods to shake off my listlessness and get back into a focused groove.

If you’ve just joined the ranks of the WFH throng and have experienced the phenomena of staleness, I’ve listed four strategies that have helped me break free. 

Preface: It’s All About Physical Pivoting  

It may be tempting to simply take a mental break from your work, such as setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and cruising Twitter or Instagram, checking the latest headlines (which is always a recipe for demoralization and/or rage these days), or even reading a few pages from the novel on your desk. However, these activities do not feel enough distinct from your regular job to be refreshing. “Change is the master key,” Winston Churchill once said, and in order to really relieve your restlessness, you must take a break from your mental activity and do something physical.

There have been several days when I get to lunch only to discover I haven’t moved in almost four hours and my legs are jelly. It’s no surprise that since the body impacts the mind, this sedentary posture leads to sluggish cognition. 

To break up the monotony of your workplace, switch to more active, senses-reactivating activities on a regular basis. With that in mind, I give the following proposals. 

1. Perform 30 jump jacks

Getting your body moving and your heart rate up is one of the most effective methods to combat restlessness. I’ve tried a variety of quick bodyweight exercises to achieve that goal: burpees are too soul-sucking, push-ups require getting down on the floor and aren’t much fun, pull-ups aren’t bad but don’t work your entire body… but the jumping jack is the best full-body exercise for quickly getting your heart pumping. Jumping jacks make me feel like a child again because you move your whole body and it’s even kind of enjoyable. 30 is the perfect amount for me; it’s just enough to make you breathe a bit harder but not enough to make you sweat (which you don’t want in the middle of the day). Your limbs will feel limber thereafter, and you’ll be ready to return to the saddle. 


During the workday, I employ jumping jacks in a variety of ways: 

If I’m in the midst of something and realize I simply need a brief break, I can do some jumping jacks and feel a lot better. It just takes 30 seconds to complete those 30 repetitions. 

I’ll perform jumping jacks to get my heart rate up before a phone call or a meeting when I need to sound, look, and feel lively, which boosts my energy, body language and posture, and even my voice. Don Greene told me that before any kind of performance, whether it’s a sports event, a musical audition, an interview, or a meeting, you should get your pulse rate up a little bit. 

Finally, if I know I’ll need a longer break, I’ll begin with jumping jacks before moving on to one or two of these other strategies. 

Take use of the jumping jack’s strength. 

2. Go for a little stroll about the neighborhood

Walking’s benefits have been thoroughly established, including on this page many times. A stroll around the block is a terrific approach to feel rejuvenated in this situation. It not only gets your body moving — getting your blood flowing is important no matter what you do — but it also gets you outdoors. The benefits of being outside are well-documented; fresh air, sunshine, the noises of society, and even a brief talk with a neighbor may all help to enliven a stale body and mind. 

For only 10 or 15 minutes, get your feet out the door. By the time you return, I’m certain you’ll be feeling revitalized. 

3. Prepare a beverage (I Prefer Coffee)

Caffeine, and the time and effort it takes to prepare it, might sometimes be just what you need to break out of a depression at work. If you don’t like caffeine or can’t drink it all day, try making a cup of herbal tea, a tiny glass of juice, or even a smoothie – anything that stimulates your taste receptors is a fantastic method to revive your dull senses.  

In my view, the ideal approach to accomplish it is in a ritualized manner with something that needs just a little additional effort and a touch of skill. For me, pressing a Keurig button isn’t the same as making a good cup of coffee. It offers your pre-break self something to look forward to, and your post-break self something pleasant to enjoy while you work, if you prepare a cup of loose leaf tea or, in my case, a French press coffee at a certain time of day. 

4. Use productive procrastination techniques

When your willpower begins to wane, it may be tough to inspire yourself to do some chores, particularly those that are difficult or boring. 


Rather of resisting the need to delay by claiming to be working but really half-heartedly looking at a computer and distractedly flitting about the internet, embrace it. However, make your procrastination useful by utilizing this time to take care of a few household chores. 

You’ll be shocked at what you can achieve in a short amount of time if you set a timer (10-15 minutes is a suitable procrastination period) and concentrate your energies (by giving yourself permission to take a hard break from work). Clean up the kitchen, mow the lawn (that’s for me – my little yard takes 12 minutes to mow), start or fold some washing… you know the routine. 

You’ll take your mind off work, exercise your body a little, complete a task that needed to be done anyhow, and return to your desk (or kitchen table) re-energized and ready to tackle additional work duties. Win-win-win-win. 



Re-re-re-react force update is a new game that has been released by the developers at React Games. The game can be played on both PC and mobile devices.

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