Creating a healthy lifestyle is essential to maintaining sobriety and part of healthy living is learning to effectively manage stress. Addicts tend to suffer from anxiety and can feel constant overwhelming stress. There is a tendency to overwork as they try to keep their mind off using in the months after treatment. Even while abusing drugs or alcohol, many people can have periods of high function where long hours spent at the office become a dangerous part of the addict’s lifestyle. Thus, creating balance is a key component to recovery. Happily, science shows us that the best way to maximize our productivity at work, may be simply to do less. An Op-Ed by Tony Schwartz in this week’s New York Times underscores recent studies that have produced evidence of this paradox.

“More and more of us find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands and maintain a seemingly unsustainable pace….A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.”

We could all stand to take this advice. Most of us will admit to working when we should be resting – checking email in the evening, eating lunch at our desks, bringing our Blackberries on vacation. But how can we find the time to relax when we can’t seem to find the time to complete projects during the work week? The more productive we are the more time we free up for leisure. Schwartz says that spending time every day in the act of renewal – whether that may be in meditation, a short jog, a nap of any duration, or a session of yoga or acupuncture – will help us become more productive when we work.

‘“The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy. To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”’