No, it’s not drinking a bottle of wine haha! In all truthfulness, I need to confess that I am just as bad at this as anyone, so this blog serves as a reminder to you and me. At the start of each year, we can start with such good intentions, and we turn these intentions into action for a while. It’s so important to relax when the workday is over.
But if you are like many of us, your best intentions can get lost amongst your busy schedule. It’s not until you have a moment to stop and self-reflect, usually a few months later when you are teetering on exhaustion that you stop and wonder where all of your progress went. Sound familiar?
So this is your wake up call, your moment of self-evaluation, your call to action to make sure you are switching off and getting the downtime you need to boost your productivity, profitability and performance when you switch back on.
Here are seven tips to help you relax when the workday is over.
1. Leave your work at work
This is not the easiest to do, believe me, I know! Three days a week I finish at 4 pm, then I have a 4pm-8pm with my children. During this time there are no emails, no phone calls and little thought is given to work – it’s not easy, but I persevere (most days). Then at 8 pm I get back online, schedule emails and plan my day so I am ready and on the ball the next morning.
2. Turn off your devices
Part of the reason we are so switched on with work is that our devices are always on – we’re constantly available. Switch them off at night! Your emails will still be there in the morning and so will those urgent requests that if you’re honest with yourself can’t really be actioned and dealt with well until morning anyway. While it may not always feel like it, the world and your clients will still function if you’re not available all of the time.
3. Make time for exercise
I know it can be hard to fit in when you are so busy but you need to make time, exercise is so good for you in so many ways. I do mine first thing in the morning (before work) others prefer it in the afternoon find out what works for you but “do it”. You will be amazed at how much it makes a difference to your energy levels and your clarity of thought. I am up every morning at 5 am so that I get my 30 minutes each day; its such a beautiful time of the day and often, it’s the only time I get by myself.
4. Get some fresh air
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air – and take some deep breaths while you are at it. Often the air quality inside office buildings isn’t ideal and contains far more Carbon Dioxide then we should be breathing. Combine this fact that we often hold our breath when we are stressed, and you can quickly see that fresh air is essential for us to maintain our mental performance.
5. Take a day off
Just like turning off your devices, the world will still run if you take a day off. The downtime you get will often bring you back better than ever before. Having the space to think and the time to do things you enjoy will leave you refreshed and ready to tackle your work when you return. That’s why some people call it a mental health day ?
To think clearly, you need to clear your mind of the clutter, and this is what I love about meditating. Having done it for nearly 20 years now, I can recommend it. It’s not easy mind you, I have a very active mind, but that is why I find it essential. I use guided meditation apps; if you’re looking for a good one, my personal favourite is the Insight timer app.
7. Drink more water, less coffee and listen to music
The first two are obvious; we know we need more water and less coffee – it’s just hard to practice. If you struggle and need a pick me up, grab an apple instead of that second coffee. It has no caffeine, but the natural sugar produces a similar response to caffeine – with the added benefit that it is released slowly, helping you feel alert for longer.
As for music, it has the power to alter our feelings. What’s more, research indicates that music triggers our biomedical stress reducers.
While we do need to implement all of these tips, can I suggest you don’t try them all at once? Small changes are far more sustainable over the longer term, so pick one to work on and master it, then move onto another. What is one action you can take today that will help you relax after this workday is done?
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