The relentless pace of modern life means we’re often burdened by a lot of responsibilities, and this can be a major cause of stress. In order to maintain a healthy balance between our personal and professional lives, it’s important we set aside time to relax – allowing ourselves to be replenished in mind, body, and soul.
Despite each of us having our own home setups and unique set of circumstances to deal with, it’s also true that as little as 5 minutes can sometimes be enough to break the monotony of work, destress, and boost our productivity. With all that in mind, here are 5 effective ways to help you relax.
- Switch off!
For many of us, work can feel like a tech overload as we’re constantly bombarded by information. The radio drones in the background as our phones buzz with calls; text and e-mail notifications flooding our inboxes. Despite this, many of us immediately turn on the TV, reach for our tablets, or scroll on our smartphones from the moment we finish work, further straining our eyes with excessive screen time, and filling our heads with noise. This can cause serious fatigue. Give yourself a break! Mute your phone and turn off notifications for a while. Better yet, leave it in another room entirely while you take some time to decompress. It may seem difficult at first, such is the nature of our tech addiction, but over time you will come to value the calming effect of disconnecting.
2. Slip into another world
A great way to relax your eyes from the glare of screens is to read a book, especially one that has been printed on ecological paper, which is a softer shade of gray as opposed to the harsher white. Establishing the habit of reading regularly is an excellent means of ensuring you take time away from potentially harmful blue light (the kind emitted by computers, smartphones, etc.). Beyond this, there’s nothing quite like the escapism of a good story to help forget about the world around us; ideal when we want to relax after a hard day’s work.
3. Embrace silence
With most of us largely confined to the four walls of our homes these days (for work and leisure time), it can be hard to find moments of genuine peace and quiet. Be it neighbors, housemates, family, or passersby on the street, it can feel like there’s a constant barrage of noise to distract us. To combat this, it’s wise to always have earplugs to hand. These can be reusable plugs, made of safe and flexible plastic, or disposable earplugs made of soft foam that adjusts to the shape of the ear canal. Just put them in, close your eyes (or perhaps indulge in a sleep mask too), and take a moment to lounge. The same steps are also great for helping you drift off at night.
4. Stay active
Exercise is good for our physical and mental health. That’s why it’s well worth incorporating it into our regular routines. This could mean some sessions at the gym, signing up to a fitness class, heading to the swimming pool, or joining a local sports club – don’t be afraid to try out different things to see what works for you. The more fun you can have with exercise, the less it will feel like a chore. Even in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, there are steps you can take to be more active: swap short car rides for a cycle; go for regular walks; take the stairs instead of the elevator, and so on. Simple at-home equipment is also readily available these days, such as yoga mats, stretching bands, and dumbbells (or you could improvise with a couple of water bottles). With many fitness trainers using YouTube and social media to share tips and guide you through a workout, you needn’t feel alone, even if you’re stuck at home.
5. Spend time with loved ones, and have some fun!
In recent times, boardgames have seen a huge resurgence in popularity, and it’s easy to understand why. Quality time with the people we love cannot be underestimated, and a game is the perfect excuse to gather everyone in the household together. You can easily track down classics such as “Monopoly”, “Eurobusiness”, “Chinaman”, “Mushroom picking”, and so on, or explore the vast range of new games on the market. There really is a game for everyone out there, be they a seasoned player or a total newcomer.
Remember: giving yourself permission to relax is the best way to strike a good work-life balance. It’s easy to feel we aren’t being productive when we relax, but prioritizing a healthy mind and body is the only true way to achieve our goals in the long run – and to stay happy while we do it!