Photo courtesy of Janet Ramsden
Whether you work in an office building, a home office, or chasing toddlers around all day, it’s imperative that you regularly find time for yourself. Ideally, you should set aside at least 45 minutes to an hour every day and dedicate that time to an activity that relaxes you. If you’re able to – tag team your partner (if you have kids or other responsibilities), so that both of you have adequate down time in order to recharge and face each day feeling refreshed.
On the other hand, if you shoulder a lot of responsibilities yourself with little family nearby to help, consider asking a friend or neighbor who might be willing to offer a hand now and then so you can take a short breather. Another option (if you’re a parent) is to take time for yourself after the little ones are in bed for the night, or in the early morning hours, while the house is still quiet.
Once you’ve found the time, here are some things to do that will help you breathe easier and make it through the rest of your week:
- Get your blood flowing. Most likely, you’ve been sitting at a desk for a big portion of the day. Take at least 10 minutes to stretch our your muscles so they don’t grown stagnant from lack of attention.
- Gain perspective. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your problems, read some news articles. Suddenly, your life issues won’t seem so bad after all.
- Be with others. Socializing during your downtime is a fantastic plan – if it’s realistic. Being around friends, sharing stories and laughing is one of the best ways to loosen up. Pass on the alcohol, though – it will only leave you with a headache in the morning, defeating the purpose of re-energizing yourself.
- Look at photos. Sometimes when I’m trying to get myself into a better frame of mind, I set my laptop photos folder onto slideshow and watch as my life scrolls before my eyes. All of those happy memories instantly put me in a good place mentally.
- Use humor. A great piece of advice a friend once gave me was to watch videos of cute animals when I was feeling stressed. At the time I thought it was silly, but one day I clicked over to YouTube and watched a bunch of kittens doing funny things. You know what? IT WORKED.
- Turn on some tunes. The connection between music and mood has long been established, so play your favorite songs and sing along!
- Bathe. Add a few drops of lavender oil and some rose scented bubbles to a bath, and soak your troubles away. Combine this with some soothing music and you’ve got a two-fer!
- Hug it out. Research shows us that hugging for just 2 minutes a day does amazing things for our mental state. So, open your arms to your partner, your kids or your friends. Physical contact with someone you love releases oxytocin – the “feel-good” hormone.
Less important than the actual activity is just making the effort to set aside a block of time for yourself. During your “Me” time, shift the focus away from all of the stressors in your life and onto You. Slow down your actions, your intentions and your thoughts throughout your relaxation time. Be mindful of everything around you and within you, and you’ll become more centered and better equipped to handle anything.
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” ~Lily Tomlin