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CEOs Corner: Relieving Stress During Holidays [Ventures Africa]
[April 20, 2014]

CEOs Corner: Relieving Stress During Holidays [Ventures Africa]

(Ventures Africa Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) VENTURES AFRICA – No doubt, Africa’s recent economic resurgence is powered by sound minds and hardworkers who have put in blood and sweat in birthing the great businesses and amazingly profitable startups dotted across the continent. But do these crop of entrepreneurs and CEOs get enough rest? Like their counterparts globally, Africa’s business leaers sometimes get caught up in the quest for greatness and growth of their businesses that they forget to rest – even a good night’s sleep too has become a luxury for rich. For instance, Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, who once professed that he doesn't sleep before 2 a.m. and he's up by 6 a.m. in the morning, which I think is quite unsustainable - but i’m just a petty 9-5 pen-pusher.

Literally, thank God for holidays like Easter, which brings about one of the longest weekend in the year and, probably, the best time for entrepreneurs and CEOs to forget files, flights and fortune and get well-derseved rest. In an article in The New York Times, Founder and CEO of The Energy Project and best-selling author, Tony Schwartz says: “The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren't designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we're meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.” Here are some things you could try this holiday: Take a break Yes, we know it is cliche, but to recover energy, you need to take a break from the job. Not taking a break is detrimental to the success and business growth you crave. It reduces productivity and burns you out. You are not hurrying anywhere this holiday; take a walk to the park or a garden and appreciate nature – studies have shown being in such environment enhances creativity.

You may want to get away from the house so that visits won't deny you of enjoying holiday. You can take a short trip. Note the word 'short', I meant it for distance. You don't have to travel too far. Remember, the purpose of the journey itself is to replenish energy and reduce stress. You would be better off when you resume work.

Take a short nap This tip isn't just for now; it's for your life henceforth. Short naps are great ways of replenishing lost energy. When you are fagged out and you slip a short nap into your busy schedule, you come off better and you can do more the rest of the day. Although I feel guilty whenever I take a nap; I feel like I'm slacking off on my job. But when you need a nap, you should get one. It has refreshed great minds for centuries: Thomas Edison napped daily. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to boost her energy by napping before speaking engagements. Even Leonardo da Vinci took multiple nights a day, although he slept less at night. John D. Rockefeller, the popular oil industrialist napped every afternoon in his office.

Author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, Dr Sandra C. Mednick says napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing and taste. It also improves creativity by relaxing the mind. Wouldn't you rather take a nap? Unplug Yes, those connections are important to your business, but unplugging sometimes is the best for the both of you. You need time off the phone, time off the emails, social media and devices. Call it a digital blackout or whatever you like, but just do it. Believe me, it saves you from burnout.

Gina Bianchini, founder and CEO of Mightybell, a US company that provides smarter social networks for businesses and individuals said, “I think Saturday afternoon is pretty much the best time to unplug … I find keeping the weekends quiet is critical.” It is critical to relieving stress, regaining lost passion or creativity.

Play The saying 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' is forever true. You can't keep working all the time; it can 'kill' you. Find time to play this holiday season. Some minutes playing a game you love (maybe golf, lawn tennis or basketball) with friends and family would do. You sweat, get in the shower and you are better off than you were before the game. You can also play those board games you love. Playing games is a very good way to relax.

While it may seem as if you are wasting time while doing any of the things we discussed above, don't be scared, your business won't suffer for it; it's just a weekend. Besides, other CEOs take time out for these things and their businesses aren't dead yet.

Jim Moffatt, CEO of Deloitte Consulting assures CEO things will be fine when they are away as he encourages taking a break.

"When you are away, you should be away," he said on an online publication, Off The Cuff.

"There's nothing you can do that can affect the day to day performance of an organisation. Your job is to set the strategy and the vision and if you've done your job, it's going to be fine," says Moffatt.

Management coach, Steve Tappin also said; "The best leaders achieve balance and happiness outside work, which means the business doesn't subsume them and they can sustain themselves and stay fresh over time".

Founder of PC-maker Lenovo, Liu Chuanzhi says he disappears on his own every two weeks "to think carefully about my work and how well I was progressing towards my goals".

Maybe you also need to 'disappear' from work.

Why not try out these tips and make this holiday your first official 'total disappearance' from work? Happy holidays! (c) 2014 Ventures Africa. All Rights Reserved. Provided by, an company

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