So you’ve had that ridiculously stressful day at work and can’t escape it? Sure you can!! Unwinding after a busy/stressful/tiring day is super important in helping our mind and body’s to reconfigure, restore and recover. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but not allowing yourself to unwind can have effects on your body, in the form of aching muscles, tiring joints and even bad skin, and also to your mind, creating a negative, anxious mind. None of this is healthy so here are 8 ways you can unwind in literally 60 seconds.
Call it a day
Sounds simple but it’s the one that people find the most difficult. Sometimes people don’t know how to unwind because they simply don’t let themselves unwind. Nowadays we have all aspects of work life attached to us. Emails on our phone, our work phone, our laptop, intranet systems, free wi-fi everywhere and much more- it seems you can be working from absolutely anywhere at any time. Personally when I leave the office at the end of the day, I’m mentally setting up an out of office. Am I less dedicated to my work?… absolutely not. I love my job but I don’t need to be doing it all the time. I certainly don’t get paid for that. I’m all about being productive in the hours I spend at work and then switching off from work as soon as I walk out the building. Because when you finish work for the day, you’re moving into LIFE, and you’ll never have a work-life balance if you’re constantly checking emails. Sometimes the difficulty is actually saying, ‘right, that’s me done for the day, no more work until tomorrow’, but it’s the first step to unwinding. Knowing when to call it a day is so important in being able to actually relax.
Write down your worries/tasks
People find it difficult to unwind because they’ve got so many things on their mental to-do list or so many worries. Try writing all of these down and re-visiting them the next day. That way you are still facing them, but not today.
Long deep breaths
One of the best ways to relax is by taking long deep breaths, inhaling through your nose, expanding your chest for about 10 seconds, and then exhaling through your mouth for about 10 seconds. This is a common step in yoga and relaxes your muscles, steadies your heart rate. You are getting oxygen to your brain in a steady manner and therefore re-tuning and re-focussing your brain and mind. In yoga practice, long deep breathes are said to revitalise you, induce clarity, positivity and re-channeling and also eliminates bad aura, negativity and stress. Repeat this until you feel calm and relaxed. I like to do this when I am in bed as it completely relaxes my body and leads to a restful and relaxed nights sleep.
Imagine a peaceful place
Close your eyes and imagine yourself floating on a cloud and what you would see passing by. Or imagine yourself in a calm, peaceful environment such as the beach and include all your senses in imagining what you would see, hear, smell and taste around you. Doing this for a minute will give you temporary escape from the stress, worries and madness from the day.
Stare up at the ceiling or the sky and count down from 60
Looking upwards stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for rest and digest) and will slow down your breath and lower your blood pressure. The counting will also stop distractions to your mind allowing you to really start to forget the days troubles and strife, and get you feeling calm.
Relax your muscles
Progressively relaxing your muscles from your head to your toes reduces muscle tension and mental anxiety. Stress can cause your muscles to tense, and if you’re ever wondering why you’ve got constant neck ache, maybe think about whether you have been stressed alot lately. Maybe you haven’t had the chance to really wind down and relax.
Remove yourself from the activity
In this modern age, we have a real inability to disconnect from technology, from work and from distractions. Try disengaging with these things for at least a minute, then try another minute, and another, until you feel like you don’t care so much about it anymore. Changing up what you are doing only takes a minute and focussing your mind on something different will allow you to not get so bogged down in what you’re doing thats causing some unrest. they say if something’s is getting too much, get get up and walk away from it (at least for a while). Try it!
Make a list of the days highs
Psychology is a powerful thing. When we are stressed we think of everything that is going wrong and think of everything that could go wrong and then we overthink and it all becomes too much and therefore difficult to unwind. Write down three things that were good about your day, however big, however small and just getting yourself thinking positively even when times seem shit, will give you some guidance, clarity and positive reinforcement.
Most of these points essentially stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the system which is responsible for resting, digesting and creating a positive feeling therefore reducing stress and enhancing your positive emotions and strengthening your body’s defences. Activating this system purposefully, means that you can control it’s natural cool-down effects – My neuroscience module at uni coming in real handy there! Life is too short for too much stress, particularly work stress. So do your best to take some time to relax and reflect; it goes a long way to creating peace of mind.