Can’t switch off after work, or even on weekends? Restless? Anxious? Thoughts endlessly going round in your head?
Here’s a few tips to help you stay healthy and productive when you need to be:
Relaxation may seem like indulgence - almost a taboo in our fast-paced 24/7 society - when in reality it should be part of a healthy lifestyle. Relaxation is just as important as eating healthily, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, especially when you are building your career, as well as trying to have a family and social life.
Dedicating time for yourself is so important and will help you be productive at work and reduce your stress levels. Taking time away from your desk at regular intervals and turning off your phone at night can help switch your mind.
When we are under pressure, our body produces stress hormones, mainly adrenaline and cortisol. Stress hormones are designed to help you deal with danger by running away or fighting. That is why physical activity is the best way to get rid of them and feel more at ease again. It does not really matter what you do: Walking, running, cycling, swimming, yoga, playing football or tennis, any exercise will help you unwind.
If you can’t make time for lots of physical exercise, a simple lunchtime walk in an open space is still proven to help you manage your adrenaline levels.
Use your holidays
With the statutory UK holiday entitlement being only 28 days per year, you would think everyone would be rushing to use every single day off they can get. But that’s not always the case! A recent survey found that a third of the UK population leave at least some of their holiday entitlement on the table every year.
Your relationships, health and work-life balance suffer if you don’t use those days. Of the survey respondents who were absent for non-holiday reasons, 16% of respondents missed work for 21 days or more, while a further 26% took between 6 and 20 days off. So, don’t try to be a superhero and work 365 days per year. Take those holidays and put them to good use. You’ve earned them.
Whether it is composing or carpentry, painting or playing the piano, being creative has a relaxing effect on the mind and body. A 2015 study showed that this is likely because you have to concentrate on what you are doing and because it feels good to be absorbed in an activity you are enjoying.
Learn a relaxation technique
The ultimate way to relax is to clear the mind – and a lot of us find this really difficult! Relaxation techniques are generally routines, which induce a tranquil state of mind. Popular techniques include; meditation, breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training and mindfulness exercises.
If you are stuck for where to start with these types of activities, there are now some really great mobile apps, such as Headspace, which guide you through the process in your own time.