We all try our best to live up to the responsibilities of our careers and family life, but the ever elusive balance seems harder and harder to achieve alongside rising expectations of our peers and colleagues.

Even if you are incredibly passionate and love your work, the accumulated stress and obligations can become a burden no matter how much you enjoy what you do. It’s especially difficult for working parents who go from a hectic workspace to an even more hectic family life, and then back again, to work the next day – and the day after, and the day after that.

You’d have to be a superhero to deal with this and not feel overwhelmed at times.

We all need a break every once in a while to recharge, recuperate, and renew for the next round.

How Do You Spend Your Downtime? It Means More Than You Think

Our fearless leader Ryan has a hectic life, running his gym, teaching classes and seminars, coaching and creating tutorials for the Alpha Posse, and keeping up with his own training.

And even though he loves teaching and training, all of these responsibilities can wear down on anybody. We start to see this in our conference calls when his eyes glaze over and he starts dreaming of the beach and getting out on his surfboard!

RyDaydream (1)

Ryan always talks about how training and working is best when you are clear about your priorities. His priorities have always been his family and being able to do what he loves best, which is to be with them and play in the great outdoors.

Establishing your priorities is an individual thing, but while not every one will agree about the choices, it’s a universal truth that we all do our best when we align the majority of our time with what is most important to us.

Otherwise, we’d all just end up watching the clock tick down until it’s time to leave and do what we really want to do. And that’s no way to go through life.

Take a Break Before it’s Too Late

It’s indisputable that getting a respite from the daily grind is good for your physical and mental state – it just makes sense.

Always being on the go, having one appointment after another, and never having an unscheduled minute of your day raises physiological stress. The release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and catelcholamines lead to shallower breathing, heart rate changes, body temperature change, and can create sensations just like an anxiety attack.

It’s like working out but without the cathartic release through hard effort. You get all the negatives of the physiological response without the benefit.

And that’s why you need a break.

It’s really just semantics to separate the mental from the physical, but having the switch constantly turned to “on” puts a big hit on your energy levels. The effort to be on task and be your best wears you down just as much as physically being up and working.

Those of us who have family responsibilities can attest to the difficulty of being your best for them after long days of work. Relieving this stress with time off is good for you and for them.

Get a Change of Scenery

So what are some practical strategies to keep from burning out and turning into Walter White?

First of all, use your vacation time! Hopefully we all have this benefit, and for those running your own businesses, we hope you realize that working yourself into the ground without allowing some time to climb back out isn’t the best long term strategy for growth. Taking time off pays dividends beyond whatever revenue was “lost” from you not being at your desk.

Second, spend this time away. Preferably out in nature. Remove yourself from anything close to what you do every day. Taking yourself out of your usual environment will have an immediate effect on your ability to relax and let go.

In the following video, you’ll see the kinds of things Ryan does with his family when he takes time off. This is from a couple of years ago when the Hurst clan took a winter trip away in the mountains, which is as far away as you can get from the busy city life back home.

Whether you enjoy the mountains and snow, sandy beaches, or just a quiet walk at a nearby park, spending time out in nature directly removes us from the busy work scene.

Changing your scenery and getting away from it all is beneficial no matter what your goals are. If you’re into fitness and have particular strength or skill goals you are trying to achieve, taking a little time off can often help you get there faster.

And if training isn’t your thing, getting a change of pace every once in a while is still important – for your sanity, your health, your relationships, and even for improved work performance.

Relax Already!

Especially in the U.S. and in Japan, it’s almost like a badge of honor to be busy all the time, but in reality, there’s nothing admirable or advantageous about perpetual busy-ness.

It will just compromise your quality of life.

It’s actually a pretty sad thing that we have to remind ourselves to take time off and away from our jobs and responsibilities.I know that some people simply don’t have that option, whether financially or because of other barriers.

But if you do have the opportunity, and the only thing stopping you is yourself, then please allow yourself the time to get away, recharge and renew yourself.

It’s not only good for you, but for everyone around you as well.

Ryan Reading

When was the last time you took time off with your family and/or loved ones, or even on your own?

What impact did it have on helping you to achieve that sense of balance we all crave?

Next: Learn to adjust your workouts based on your day-to-day performance abilities