It’s so important to find a decent work/life balance, yet so few of us manage it. Whether it’s chasing deadlines, sorting the kids, or just staying on top of the housework it seems like there’s always something preventing us from getting a bit of decent downtime.
However, if you can manage to make time each day to relax, the benefits are phenomenal. Something as simple as taking the odd break can result in:
- Lower stress levels
- Better quality of sleep
- Lower blood pressure
- Healthier blood sugar levels
- Improved digestion
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved mood
- Boosted confidence
- Better concentration
- Less anger and frustration
...and that’s not even half the whole list!
Having said that, it’s not always so easy in today’s busy world to get some proper relaxation time. So, here are a few ideas about how to get a bit of decent relaxation every day.
Make a schedule
It might seem like a boring task, but mapping out your daily activities can reveal spots of time which might otherwise have slipped by unnoticed. What’s more, scheduling out your day can improve your focus on the activities you’ve allotted to certain times, meaning that you get them done faster. More time left over for you!
Schedule relaxation in
Following on from the above, make time in your schedule to actively relax. In our pressured culture, relaxing often feels a bit shameful. We feel like we have to be productive all the time in order to be worthy members of society. In fact, making time for relaxation is very important – not just for your health but also for your relationships, productivity, and general wellbeing. If you’re the type who tends to let their work bleed into other areas of their life, block off certain times of day to do things just for you.
Work out what you find relaxing
For some people it’s a long soak in a hot bath. For others it’s a run, or an hour in an armchair with a good book. Some people find meditation relaxing, while others consider nothing more soothing than a spot of gardening. Discover what works for you. The important thing is that your daily relaxation should be something you can do easily, and which lowers rather than raises your stress levels.
If you really are pushed for time, some quick mindfulness exercises [LINK MINDFULNESS EXERCISES ARTICLE] can force your body and mind to relax. When you’re feeling the pressure, try counting five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, and two things you can smell. This will distract your mind from anxious thoughts and bring your focus into the present.
Set boundaries with others
Protect your relaxation time by brooking no encroachment from others. Tell your boss that you’re offline in the evenings. Make it clear to the kids that you are not to be disturbed (unless it’s an emergency!) during your ‘Me Time’. Cancel or refuse plans. This isn’t selfish – it’s self-care [LINK TO SELF-CARE ISN’T SELFISH ARTICLE]. Prioritising and defending your relaxation time means that you’ll have more energy and more goodwill to work hard and play hard in the rest of your life.