Are you still not finding the time each day to reduce your stress? If so, which of these reasons best fits you?
- I don’t believe in the value of relaxing or de-stressing at least once a day.
- I just forget to do it even though I agree it is important.
- The day gets by me and I still haven’t stopped what I am doing to take a break.
- I know it is important but tomorrow is another day.
If your main reason is that you forget or just cannot find the time to take a de-stress break, then let’s talk seriously about how to fix that. Here are a few hints.
- Set an alarm on your smart phone to remind you to take a 5- minute break at least once a day.
- Set it for that time in the day that you are usually getting tired. • 5 minutes can be enough, if you do it daily and more than once a day (if you can).
- Like any habit, it takes practice and repetition for a couple of weeks to set it up so that it becomes more automatic.
What are the best ways to spend that one or two 5-minute rest breaks? There are always a few things that happen in a normal day that are empty time. By empty, I mean what you are doing in that period of time is usually waiting for something or doing something that does not require much of your attention. Several things immediately jump to mind for working people.
- Usually when you turn on your computer (particularly if you are a PC type), there is a several-minute wait as it boots up and then installs things it thought about during the rest break.
- We all have to use the bathroom a couple of times a day. This is a good time to stay an extra couple of minutes (behind closed doors) and do some focused breathing. Empty your mind, kind of like when you push in the clutch and let the car coast.
- Relax with the Rainbow Shower where after a few breaths, you imagine a rainbow over your head and imagine the rainbow passing through your body from the head to the feet – first with red light, then orange, yellow, green, blue, lapis, violet, and white.
- Not your thing? Then, sit and close your eyes and listen with your mind’s ear or sing or hum a little tune.
- If you can do a little stretching after the mindful breathing, that would be even better.
I know you do not have to be a rocket scientist to come up with this stuff. But, those Rocket Scientist guys are some of the biggest offenders. They can die young from stress-related illness. We are all busy. And, the busiest people are usually the ones who can find or make the time to take better care of their mind and body. Short breaks during a workday are the best way to keep the stress down. Remember, the key to de-stressing is to disengage your mind; stop thinking for a few minutes, feel a positive emotion – smile to yourself. You did it!
by Susan Andrews, PhD
The Psychology Times, May 2015
Dr. Susan Andrews, Clinical Neuropsychologist, is currently Clinical Assistant Professor, LSU Health Sciences Center, Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, engaged in a Phase III study on HBOT and Persistent PostConcussion Syndrome. In addition to private clinical practice, Dr. Andrews is an award-winning author of Stress Solutions for Pregnant Moms (2013).