Recharge your brain. Take a vacation!

When you love what you do and approach your professional goals with real passion, it might be difficult to draw the line between work and the rest of your life.

The drawback of a super-productive lifestyle is the risk of falling into a creativity dead end or even worse, experiencing burnout. A break away from the office should be more than just sipping piña coladas by the pool; your efficiency, creativity and productivity are at stake. You need to refuel.

Vacationing is a restorative activity. It has positive effects on our physical and mental health. Studies done by the Neuropsychology Area at the University of Pittsburg have documented real benefits. There is evidence that when you stop your routine and expose your brain to new environments, it reacts. This is particularly true if you take the time to immerse into a new culture, travel to a different natural environment, or visit places new to you. Those new and challenging situations literally stimulate your brain into creating new connections; it increases brain capacity.

The good news is that you can also increase brain capacity in other ways, not just by travelling. Let me give you some tips so you may refresh your mind and be ready for the next challenge:

1. Reconnect with life´s pleasures. Our mile-long to-do lists often force us to put certain activities in the backburner. Deliberately take days or even hours for yourself and go listen to a symphony, practice your favorite sport, or learn a new hobby. When you interrupt your daily routine, you are giving yourself the chance to get a refreshed perspective, and new areas are activated in your brain. As soon as we experience new things, observe new places and people, new thinking patterns are created and neurons are revived towards new activity.

2. Stress- related vacation is good. Yes, all that planning and preparation is stressful, but the good news is that even stress can be healthy for your brain. You become more attentive and engaged. Investing in new experiences is like opening a “good memories” savings account. These imageries and remembrances will be a valuable resource to go back to when you are feeling overwhelmed or sad. These fresh insights will help you appreciate your whole life from a detached perspective. You’ll be able to return to daily activities with renewed enthusiasm.

3. Boost your problem-solving skills. If you are hesitant on whether you should take a break when there are so many pending issues, think twice. It has probably happened to you that after hours of trying to find a solution to a problem, you talk to someone about it, and click, suddenly ideas start flowing. Travelling has the same effect, it untangles your usual thought patterns, gives you creative perspectives and boosts your problem-solving skills.

4. Unplug and be mindful. There is no need to take a long vacation in order to reap its benefits. Choose the type of activities that can engage your mind and soul. If you like a challenge, take up an extreme experience. If you prefer to reconnect with nature, do just that. Most importantly, be there, find your center, let go of distractors for that period of time. Rejuvenating your spirit and stimulating your mind will pay off.

Mindfulness is about appreciating each moment and connecting with your inner self. Think of your next vacation or time off as a trip within. Pause and focus on your breath, on the feeling of wind on your face, on the colors of the sunset and the taste of exotic fruit. Experiment having no plans or checklists, leave room for stumbling into the unexpected beauty that wasn’t listed in the tourist guide.

Are you ready to pack your hiking shoes? Let´s take some time to nurture our body and mind.

Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest

Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.

Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.

Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.

Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.

Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.

#madre, #empresaria y #defensora de los #derechos de la #mujer. Be more, to do more: for #life, #business, and #equality.