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Simple Strategies for Relaxing & Recharging

Solihull Well Being Clinic helps you find a psychologist, counsellor, psychotherapist or health/holistic practitioner, suited to your needs. Connect with us today to learn more! +441217771675

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It goes without saying that the last couple of years have been extra stressful for many of us. During Covid lockdown, maybe you missed out on significant gatherings, couldn’t celebrate occasions, or mourn loved ones in the usual collective way. You may have lost touch with hobbies or friendships, missed the freedom of eating out and couldn’t get together socially. Following the pandemic, you may have been impacted by new anxieties about the rising cost of energy bills, interest rates and just how expensive the weekly shop has become. Like many people, you are probably having to cut corners –by way of keeping the heating off, skipping meals, postponing holidays or cancelling gym memberships. Work routines have also been turned on their head, leaving many people reeling to adjust to the new norm. All of this upheaval can be likened to something Psychologists call cumulative stress, which is the build-up of tension and strain, due to difficult events that follow each other in close succession.

Whatever your situation, it’s important to manage stress and anxiety - maybe now more than ever. Find ways to keep your stress levels down in daily life will keep your heart healthy, reduce blood pressure, maintain loving relationships and help retain positivity, purpose and happiness. Through managing stress and learning to relax, you can live out your health and wellness potential. Below, Solihull Well Being Clinic discusses some practical ways to do just that!

De-Stress at Work

First of all, you need to remember not all stress is harmful to your health and well-being. Stress can be positive, and negative. Believe it or not moderate levels of stress can benefit your performance at work and enhance you drive in other areas of your life. For example, it can keep you motivated to produce your best work, meet deadlines, and take on new projects.

However, being overly stressed can have a detrimental impact on your performance and well-being, and many workers deal with high levels of stress. This can hinder concentration, reduce energy and lead to procrastination. It can eventually cause anxiety, insomnia, and irritability, among other conditions.

To manage stress at work, you can try changing up your work routine, eating healthier lunches, and taking regular breaks throughout the day. Chunking the day to create space for active working, social time and a walk in the fresh air, will help to get your stress under control. With smart phones and watches, it is easy to set regular timers (on repeat) which remind you to stand up, walk around and even look out the window at the tree line or sky.

Take Time to Breathe

It sounds silly to take time to breathe – surely we do this all the time, without thinking about it! But deeper, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the most practical ways to relax, refuel, and recharge. You can do it in just a few minutes pretty much anywhere. Deep breathing can release the tension in your muscles, lower your blood pressure, and bring your mind back to the present. After all, wherever you are your breath is there with you! Anchoring yourself in the breath, will bring stillness, presence and calm. Most problems and challenges, even insurmountable ones, become easier to traverse when we are in such calmer body-mind states.

To help you with this idea, we’d recommend you sit or lie down in a comfortable, quiet place, and position one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Take one regular breath followed by a slower, deeper breath through your nose. Then, hold your breath for a few seconds before breathing out slowly through your mouth. Feel as though your are breathing in calm and equipoise, and breathing out troubles and worries.

After a few repetitions, you will settle into a soothing rhythm. Try deep breathing for 5–10 minutes anytime you feel the stress coming on. It is a powerful tool, which we often forget to use. It literally changes the chemistry of your lungs and blood stream and informs the brain that ‘everything is in hand…things are ok…take it easy’. The stress and anxiety hormones reduce, and you will feel better for it.

Find Relaxing Activities

Besides deep breathing, it's important to have a few ‘islands of calm’ through the day, and week. If you consider the day or week as a long swim, it is bound to get tiring after a while. Having a few islands where you can stop, recharge and refuel, will allow you to swim better, more efficiently and further than would otherwise be possible. These islands are really just one or more relaxing activities that will keep you physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy in your everyday life. The key is to determine what you need most so that you can know what type of activity to prioritise.

For example, if you need to boost your physical well-being, try movements like yoga, stretching, or walking. If you need a mental health boon, schedule brief, intentional breaks to jot down a few good things you have experienced during the day – many people call this journaling. Going for a walk in nature, playing music, or taking on an art project can keep you creatively engaged and add joy to your routine.

Giving back to yourself in this way, is an act of self-kindness. It is checking in on your emotional needs and offering a little respite or tenderness to the real you. After all, work is just something you do – it should not be confused with the ‘you’ inside. You work to live your life well, and you should resign yourself to simply living to work! If you want to be a positive presence for others and be successful in all areas of your life, you’ll need to keep track of your emotional well-being and take steps to improve it, by maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Then, you’ll have more to give.

Foster Good Sleep Habits

Few things are more crucial than getting a good night's rest. Modify your routine so that you can achieve seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet, and the Sleep Foundation recommends turning off your electronic devices before lying down. Incorporate an activity or two that will help you decompress and prepare your mind and body for rest. This may include reading a few pages of a book, having a warm shower, or taking time for a milky drink. If you like to pray or meditate, this can also be a great way to settle into yourself.

When stress from work lingers, it’s naturally going to mess with your sleep. With the new demands you may be facing with working from home, the boundary between your working space and resting/relaxing space can blur. But even if you work in an office or venue, the separation of work and home is still important. We suggest you keep your work-related belongings (laptop, bag, work coat etc.) in the same place, as separate from your living and sleeping space as possible. Try to ask your colleagues and managers not to disturb or message you outside of work hours, or let them know that if they do, you won’t access the messages until the next working day. Auto messages on your email account, and sometimes even on your phone, can do much of this boundary setting for you!

Developing a consistent routine (especially your wake-up time, but also your pillow time) will gradually reset the body clock, so that you feel sleepy at the right time, and feel awake at the right time. Ease up on the caffeine, drink plenty of water through the day, and follow the age old pattern of eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper! In other words, don’t make the evening meal your biggest meal of the day, and don’t eat too late (6pm or 7pm, is excellent).

To Conclude

Life is stressful, but you owe it to yourself to learn how to deal with these pressures, so that you can live up to your full wellness potential. Consider the ideas above, and keep researching how to relax, recharge and refuel in your daily life. Establishing healthy wellness routines will make you happier and more equipped to be the best possible version of you! Now that is a gift worth giving, to yourself and those you love also.

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Article By Perry Johanssen Guest Author


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