Studies from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have found that the benefits of a holiday/ vacation disappear within a week. Jessica Bloom, the scientist who conducted the study, recommends six restorative activities that we can use across the year. Together they from the acronym DRAMMA.
D = distancing yourself from negative or stressful thoughts, known as psychological detachment
R = relaxation – deliberately doing nothing, or being pampered
A = autonomy – taking greater control of your life and work (work-life balance is primarily about this sense of being able to make your own choices)
M = mastery – for example, feeling that you are growing by acquiring new skills; or feeling the benefits of an exercise regime or diet
M = meaning – being involved in activities that give us a wider sense of purpose and of contributing to a larger cause
A = affiliation – the sense that we are connected to other people inside or outside of work.
A recent review of the current state of knowledge about relaxation and mental restoration in New Scientist reports on Bloom’s study alongside others reveals that:
- People, who think they have more rest than average also scored above average on their sense of well-being
- Lack of restorative down time correlates with poorer decision-making
- Downtime aids memory and learning
- Taking short microbreaks of 10 minutes or so during the working day has major positive impacts on cognitive function and general feeling of well-being.
It’s common for coaches and mentors to ask clients about how they are managing their health outside the workplace. It’s less common to initiate discussion around maintaining well-being within the workday. Simple actions, such as planning in four or five short restorative breaks throughout the day, can make a substantial difference.
 Drew, L (2023) Relax to the max, New Scientist, 32-35, 2 September
© David Clutterbuck 2023