'Reboot' Your Brain and Refresh Your Focus in 15 Minutes or Less
Ever wish you could hit the reset button on your brain the way you do when you reboot your computer? Marissa Vicario, a New York-based certified health and wellness coach, says it's not only possible; it should be a regular part of your day.
"As an entrepreneur, it's important to take care of yourself," she says. "If you aren't at your best, the people you serve and the people who work for you can't be at their best either."
Vicario suggests building specific moments into your day to step away and clear your mind. Here are five quick things you can do to refresh your focus:
1. Take a walk outside.
When you sit still, your body systems are at rest, says Vicario. Moving your body helps wake up your mitochondria, the part of your cells that generate energy. She says taking a brisk walk several times per week can make your mitochondria double in size, which helps the body produce more energy. The combination of fresh air and exercise also stimulates blood flow to the brain so you can re-gain clarity and focus.
"If you're stuck on a problem or are having difficulty thinking creatively, getting up and walking around can give you a completely different perspective," says Vicario. And if you can't get outside for a walk, do a lap or two around the office or even stretch at your desk. Just moving your body helps.
2. Drink a glass of water.
Most Americans are chronically dehydrated, says Vicario, and studies show dehydration can slow down brain function.
"If you find you're lacking focus, taking a break for a glass of water can perk you up just like watering a plant," she says.
Vicario suggests drinking in ounces half your body weight each day. For example, a 120-pound woman should have 60 ounces of water a day, or about eight 8-ounce glasses. If the taste bores you, add mint leaves or slices of lemon, orange, lime or cucumbers.
3. Breathe in or diffuse lemon essential oil.
Keep a small bottle of lemon essential oil at your desk, suggests Vicario, and inhale it from the bottle or add a drop to a cotton ball. This will naturally refocus your mind.
"Citrus or spicy scents stimulate the nervous system and reenergize you," says Vicario. Eucalyptus and rosemary can also have a similar effect.
4. Eat something healthy.
A healthy snack can stabilize blood sugar, stave off hunger pangs and assist with healthy brain function. Vicario suggests keeping trail mix, nuts, seeds and dried fruit in your desk. Other healthy snacks include a piece of whole grain toast with avocado, celery sticks and nut butter.
"The snack should have protein and carbohydrates, which will help balance your blood sugar," she says. Foods that are high in sugar will cause a quick spike and drop in your blood sugar. This will create a cycle of feeling energized and then tired, which is draining over the course of the day.
5. Take a nap.
When you're your own boss, a quick nap is something you can schedule into your day. A 20-minute nap provides significant benefits for improved alertness and performance, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While research shows that it can refresh the mind and boost creativity, you shouldn't let yourself snooze longer.
"If you sleep longer than 20 minutes, you'll wake up groggy," says Vicario. "If you are constantly needing a nap, though, it's time to get more sleep at night."
Related: 4 Strategies to Sharpen Your Focus
Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer who has written about business, real estate and lifestyle for more than 20 years.