Simply put, overworking is bad working. Separate estimates suggest that stress costs American business $300B per year, with sleep deprivation alone costing $63.2B in lost productivity. If you’re working for yourself, it may be tougher to make that decision to slow down – but you will feel the benefits more acutely.
Health-wise, researchers at Harvard Medical School have discovered that people who practice relaxation methods such as yoga have far more active ‘disease-fighting genes’. Other approaches to relaxing such as meditation or deep breathing can help you to enjoy lower blood pressure, better immunity, and healthier hormone levels.
Clearly this is beneficial to you, to those you care about, and to your working life.
Getting into the habit of mini-relaxations
If you’re a workaholic or you find yourself in a difficult period, it can be difficult to set the time aside for such pursuits. In fact, it may be more effective both now and in the long run to create a subtle shift in your lifestyle rather than try to lever in hefty new commitments.
It can also work out cheaper to make wiser decisions in your daily routine, instead of investing in expensive solutions that may be short-lived if you find they don’t suit you.
So let’s take a little look at a few such changes you can easily make.
Breakfast time relaxation techniques
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s not just about what you eat – it’s about your whole attitude.
Tumble out of bed on the third ‘snooze’? Grab a jam-sodden toast from the kitchen as you rush out of the house? These are the kind of habits that will set you in motion for more of the same.
Quick fix gets piled upon quick fix until it all comes tumbling down.
Getting up earlier than is absolutely necessary takes some practice, but after a few weeks you’ll swear by it. It means you can take the time to do some stretches, which will get your metabolism going and those happy-hormones flowing.
Making breakfast should be a ritual, a craft. Make yourself a proper filter coffee, and sniff it deeply before you drink. Eat some fruit and oats for some proper morning fuel. Do something nice for someone you live with.
Tips to help you relax on your lunch break
After a hard morning’s work, you may find your shoulders have risen up around your ears, your palms are sweating and your brain is throbbing. What’s worse, you still have a ton of work left to do in the afternoon. The solution that four out of five of us default to is to work through lunch.
It is difficult to be creative when you’re staring at the same computer screen all day long. Give yourself a break: Take a walk to help you digest your lunch and to get some more of those exercise-induced endorphins pumping.
Doing something different each lunch break can help to stop the week feeling like one meaningless blob. Instead, you have “that day I went to the museum” or “that day I had a coffee with an old friend.”
If you’re stuck for ideas, follow your local art gallery or library on Facebook – they will advertise free events that are taking place in your town. It could be a lunchtime concert or a pop-up book sale: the important thing is to get some fresh air and sunlight.
And if you really can’t get away, at least take five minutes to tidy up your desk – which can be an effective reboot for the mind.
Relax after work and into the night
While you should make sure to leave your desk promptly, don’t be in such a rush to get back indoors. Walking home slowly can be a great opportunity to catch up on some exercise and to clear your head of the day’s thoughts before you rejoin your loved ones at home.
If it’s too far to walk, take public transport rather than driving. Okay, the train can be a pain, but so is getting stuck in traffic – and at least when you hand the driving duties over to someone else, your hands are free to read a book or call a friend.
Once you’re home, there are plenty of ways to relax. A bite of chocolate is scientifically proven to help you de-stress, and eating a good meal that you take care to prepare for your family can also help you to re-engage with the real world.
See Also: 8 Ways to Make Family Meal Times More Fun
Listening to classical music can improve your sleep, immune system and stress levels – as well as marking out your home as a safe refuge from the hustle and bustle of the office, be it a commute away or next door in your study.
It can be simple and cheap to make these little adjustments to your everyday life, from morning until night – and if reading up on stress-busting feels a bit too much like hard work, have a read at this infographic, which shows at a glance how this can be done and offers 50 ways to incorporate mini-relaxations into your day.
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Author: Marilyn Vinch
Marilyn is a freelance writer and digital nomad currently living in rainy yet wonderful London. She writes (and reads!) about personal growth, productivity in the workplace, self improvement, and the importance of work/life balance and how to achieve it.