I'd like to think I normally have a handle on my work-life balance, but my new job has been keeping me extra busy with travel, weekend events and daily work. Needless to say, it's been a bit draining. When I was chatting with some friends a few days ago about the the new busy work-life that I have created, my friend shared some of her simple tricks that help her relax and create a few minutes of quiet time in a busy day. I loved all of them, and have begun using them already! Not only do these little tips immediately calm you in stressful situation, they also give you an important brain-break from whatever is consuming your brain cells.
- Sniff yourself Calm: Essential oils might just be the way to make it through the day. Smell is a super quick way to rewire yourself into a happy, calm state of mind. Peppermint, lemon and grapefruit are classic pick-me-up oils that will give you a little pep. I keep a little jar of a 'tranquil' blend in my desk, and the mixture of patchouli, lavender, marjoram and other favorite scents is a pleasant way to take a quick break. For calming, lavender or vanilla can be rubbed into the temples or onto the pulse points to penetrate the skin and be absorbed slowly (just be careful not to get into your eyes!). You can also use a natural diffuser to keep the office smelling good and keep your spirits up all day long!
- Mini massage: Take ten minutes to give yourself a mini massage, either with a nice organic lotion or without. Stimulating our hands, feet or neck is an easy (and office-appropriate) massage that can make a big difference. Not only does it take you out of your head, it gives you a few minutes to really tune into your body and breath, from which it's easy to become disconnected during a hectic day. Use your favorite lotion or oil and massage until you can feel the tension go away. Or at least most of it!
- Yoga: When I am at the office we have four minutes of yoga at 4pm, inspired by the Wanderlust event I attended last month. Usually we just do plank, which is keeping my arms feeling super strong, but ANY yoga will do. Yoga, just like a mini massage, can reconnect body and breath and give us a burst of energy. But it doesn't have to be a whole yoga session: even a few push-ups, hand-stands or forward bends will get your blood flowing and get your mood on the upswing.
- Take a real lunch:' Firstly, don't forget to take a lunch. Keeping a regular eating pattern is best for your digestion. It's also a good idea to avoid spending your lunchtime at your computer or at your desk. Not only does staring at our email prevent us from being mindful of our food, it can actually hamper digestion. When we are stressed, our bodies are in 'fight or flight' mode, which is not the time for digestion. Take a break outside, sit at another desk (or ideally, a dining table) or take a mini picnic in the sunshine. If you have extra time, schedule a lunch date outside of work. Meet with a friend, visit your mom or just dine alone and enjoy the quiet. Also, always choose healthy proteins, greens and grains to fuel your day: quinoa pilaf, super salads and healthy soups will keep your brain and body functioning best.
- Get outside: After staring at the computer all day, the trees and sky are sure to make you happy. Most of us spend too much time inside, and I know I definitely feel a little nature deficit disorder at the end of a long week. Getting outside to walk, stretch or just breathe deep is a great brain break and gives your body just what it needs: some space!
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