Solving research problems is hard. After a while I feel mentally spent. I want to be as productive as possible but I don't know of many good ways to "recharge my batteries" after I have been thinking hard.

I have tried taking walks but in the winter it is snowy and cold outside. I have tried socializing with my colleagues but I find it hard to focus when I get back to work. I have tried switching to easier tasks (like email) but that doesn't seem to recharge my energy levels much.

What are some good ways to take a break so that I can come back to my work refreshed, energetic and enthusiastic?


2 Answers 2


Getting back into "The Zone" always takes some time. Relax, while nervous it just won't happen. Walking seems to do the trick for you, perhaps warm clothes help when taking a stroll. Socializing doesn't for you (and I doubt it would work for me). Perhaps read a chapter of a book (not technical, a novel or so). Or try meditating, or yoga. Or go to the gym for a half hour or so.

And don't get all worked up if it just doesn't click one day. In my case, when nothing works, I just give up and do "chores", like chasing after references to complete bibliography entries, check it there are new versions of documents/software packages out, edit my notes. Or do my course-related work (invent homework/exams, ...).


This question just relentlessly, inexorably begs for a vulgar answer.

Barring that, I have a professor-colleague who turns on the teeVee and watches "Days Of Our Lives," a vapid, insipid, poorly written, poorly drawn, poorly acted bit of drivel that somehow clears her head and lets her dive back in.

It makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs with a rusty ice-pick...but it works for her.

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