How to Relax and De-Stress in a Frantic World
Article posted by Riccardo Frati / 26 April 2016
Modern life is busy and sometimes it feels as though there’s no getting away from that. The alarm clock goes off and you wake up tired. You jump in the shower and then fight through traffic to get to work. Your working day is full of meetings, emails and more meetings. Lunch is a quick sandwich at your desk, followed by more meetings and telephone calls. You work late to catch up on all the work you didn’t get done because you were in meetings. Finally you drag your weary body home at stupid o’clock and eat your dinner in front of the TV. Then you go to bed, set the alarm clock and do it all over again. And some people have families to take care of in addition to all this.
Sometimes it feels like you’re on a treadmill and there is no off switch. The problem is that if you continue like this, you will become less productive and eventually burn out completely. It’s important to take stock and build in some time to relax.
Assess Your Job
If your job is taking over your life, it’s time to reassess. Though it’s fine to go the extra mile, this should not be at the expense of your wellbeing. If you’re working long hours all the time, work out why this is. For example, would you benefit from extra training? Are you covering someone else? Or is there just too much work? Speak to your boss and work out a solution.
If you have to work additional hours be very clear about what you’re prepared to do. This may involve a compromise. You could agree to work late a couple of nights a week and make sure you go home on time for the rest of the week. Always set boundaries. If you’re working late, decide what time you intend to leave and stick to it.
When you get home, try not to think about work. Switch off your mobile and don’t check emails. It will all be waiting for you in the morning. Some people find that a routine or ritual helps them to switch off. This could be changing out of your work clothes or having a shower. This will signal the end of the working day. If work pops into your head, try and think about something else. This takes practise but eventually you will train your brain to recognise the cut-off.
In the early evening switch off your phone, tablet, laptop and any other electronic device that is connecting you to the outside world. Don’t turn them on again until the next morning. This means don’t take phone calls, don’t check email and don’t check Facebook. Have a complete technology break for a couple of hours.
This may seem strange at first and you’ll find yourself instinctively reaching for your phone. Don’t give in. Keep it switched off until the next morning.
You don’t need to practise this every day, just plan regular technology breaks. You will soon appreciate the sense of calm that it brings. Like every other part of your body, your brain needs time to rest and recuperate.
If you’re feeling tired and sluggish, the obvious question to ask is whether you’re getting enough sleep. The average is between seven to nine hours. If you regularly get your eight hours, are you getting quality sleep? Is your sleep disturbed and do you wake up during the night? The following tips will help you maximise your sleep and help you wake up feeling refreshed:
- Ensure that your room is dark enough. If too much light is getting in, look at the curtains. Can you swap them or put up a blackout blind?
- Is your room the right temperature? This will vary from person to person. Do you feel comfortable or are you too hot or too cold? Make adjustments accordingly. Change your central heating settings or bedding.
- Switch off all screens at least a couple of hours before you get into bed. This will provide you with some time to unwind.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
- Is your mattress and pillow comfortable? Do they cause discomfort or aches and pains? If so, replace them.
When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, focusing on your breathing can help to bring a sense of calm. There are a number of ways to achieve this. There are simple exercises you can follow that can be practised anywhere. These are great if you’re caught in the middle of a stressful situation. The exercises will work quickly to slow your heart rate and calm your body.
For long-term relief, think about taking up meditation, yoga or tai chi. All of these practices focus on breath and have countless positive benefits.
Book a Spa Day
A spa day will provide you with an instant fix and your worries will melt away for a few hours. Sit back and relax while someone else kneads away the pressure. Pick your treatments in advance and find what suits you. If your spa has a swimming pool, that’s even better. Take your book and some magazines and make a day of it.
Get a Manicure
If a full spa day is too ambitious right now, go for something a little easier. Book a manicure or a haircut. Changing your appearance won’t solve your problems. However, it will give you a quick boost. Feeling good about how you look can help lift your mood a little.
Find Your Passion
If you’re doing what you love and feel passionate about, you will be happier. Assess all areas of your life. Look at your job, relationships and hobbies. Are there areas you’re not happy with? If so, look at how you could remedy this.
Are there things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t? Look at ways you can make this happen. The answer may not be obvious. If travelling is on your agenda, it may not be practical to quit your job and go sailing around the world. However, you could work out how to fit in a number of holidays each year. Or, you could figure out how to save to take time away from your job.
If your everyday life is not fulfilling, look for hobbies and activities that will fill the void. If you want to be creative, look at drawing classes, baking, jewellery making, etc. Find what you love and do it often.