Behaviour, Stress | February 15, 2018 | Author:
Trying to juggle work, kids, time with friends and household chores can leave a person feeling stressed, tired and running on auto pilot. To avoid “burn out” it’s important to allow intervals of time each day to promote relaxation—even if it’s just to switch off for 5 minutes. The benefits of regular time out include improved mood, more energy and an increase in concentration. And it’s not just for adults, children also benefit from “quiet time”.
It’s important to know the signs of when you or your child needs a break. Here are some things to look out for:
Chronic, ongoing stress may adversely affect not just our nervous system but our entire body—including our immune and digestive system. Restoring balance, health and vitality to all our body systems can be achieved through lifestyle changes, such as taking regular breaks.
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It’s beneficial to have a combination of short and long periods of time off. Find something that you enjoy and make a conscious effort to do that relaxing thing every day. In a busy work day, even 10 minutes of downtime can help you manage stress better.
Meditation is becoming a popular tool to calm and focus the mind—even for children. During meditation concentrate your mind on one particular thing, such as your breathing, body movement, sound or mantra. If you’re new to meditation, there are apps available to help guide you through the process. Meditation has many benefits including increasing self-awareness, managing stress, focusing on the present moment and reducing anxiety.
If meditation isn’t your thing, you can simply count as you breathe in, hold for a few seconds and count as you breathe out. Slowing your breathing rate or at least taking a few deep breaths is a proven stress-reducing strategy you can take anywhere. Visualisation techniques are also an effective tool to take 5. You could picture yourself somewhere that makes you happy—at the beach, in a rainforest or with a loved one.
Progressive muscle relaxation helps to improve the flow of energy in the body and is a popular relaxation technique used in yoga. Lie down, close your eyes and from your toes to your head focus on each area of the body to release tension.
If your job requires sitting down for extended periods of time—especially at a computer or driving, think about having short periods of activity to break up the day. Walk up and down the stairs, go outside for a quick walk in the park or if you can do high intensity exercises such as jumping jacks or skipping to get your blood pumping.
To avoid your blood sugars plummeting and your energy levels dipping, make sure you eat regular meals every 3-4 hours.
Combining complex carbohydrates with fibre and protein will make sure you are having a low GI meal to slowly sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
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If you need another break in between meals, why not try an herbal tea or healthy snack and avoid sugary/processed foods which will leave you feeling zapped of energy.
Writing daily in a journal has an endless list of benefits. Some people may associate a journal as a confidant and a place to express struggles and concerns without judgement. As well as tracking mood and emotional symptoms it can be used as a tool to implement new, positive habits that inform your life and optimise your wellbeing.
As important as it is to have short breaks, lengthy periods of time off can really work wonders. Plan to have a holiday, organise some days off and think of something totally different to do. Take up a new hobby and meet new friends, visit a museum or read a novel. Get your hair or nails done, have a relaxing massage or go to a gym class. Anything that bring you joy and promotes relaxation is fine.
Not enough sleep, poor sleep quality and trouble falling asleep can all be signs of stress. It’s important to have a release for stress so it doesn’t build up and affect sleep and mood. Of an evening it’s vital to have a cut off time for screen devices and to incorporate relaxation techniques instead such as breathing, meditation, stretching, reading, listening to music, having a bubble bath or watching a movie.
To often we focus on getting everything accomplished but this is not always necessary—at least not all at once! It’s important to prioritize what’s important and writing it down as a list can help in this process.
If you are working long and hard each day it might be time to let go of jobs in which others can do. This might involve getting a cleaner or gardener once a fortnight or delegating jobs to colleges.
Work efficiently with little distraction and this may allow you to free up some time. Stop procrastinating and start doing.
Some people find it hard to schedule time for themselves, but it really is essential in preventing “burn out”. Start with 5-minute activities that you enjoy and work up from there.
It can also help to have a place where you go to relax. This can be your bedroom, bathroom, the garden shed or a small corner in the kitchen – it is somewhere you feel comfortable and secure.
It’s never too late to incorporate breaks into your daily routine. Make it a priority and reap the many benefits!