We live in a chaotic world where demands seem to come from every direction. Just when you think you have a little spare time for yourself, someone calls with an emergency or a client asks you to take on another project, or your child reminds you about a last-minute thing you either forgot or didn’t know about. It just all seems relentless.
Life can have a way of getting out of control. It’s like stepping onto a rollercoaster and not being able to get back off until the ride is over. Up and down, around, upside down, it yanks you here and there, and all you can do is hold on tight. Sometimes it would be nice to hit the brakes and jump off so you can have a peaceful minute to yourself.
Well, lucky for you we’ve researched five ways so that you can press the pause button, no matter the craziness going on around you, take a moment, catch your breath, and focus on yourself, even if for only a minute.
Take a deep breathe!
Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress, calm your nerves and re-centre. It’s easy, too. Whether you’re stopped at the light or waiting in line at a supermarket, take a few seconds to focus your mind. If you’re able to close your eyes, even better, but make sure you take a few deep breaths.
One simple technique that is great for quick relief is called “square breathing”. All you have to do is breathe in through your nose slowly count to four, hold for four counts, breathe out slowly through your mouth for four counts, then hold again to the count of four. Do this a few times to instantly feel more relaxed and focused.
It’s effective because studies indicate it increases alpha brainwaves. When your brain is in an “alpha” state, it’s calm, relaxed, yet able to see and hear what’s going on around you. It’s the state your brain goes into when you’re focused on being in the now, and it’s the best state for learning.
When you think of meditation, you probably picture a hippie sitting crossed legged saying “Om” over and over for hours. You aren’t wrong, but that’s only one of many ways to meditate. The great thing about mediation is that it’s versatile and can be done anytime, anywhere, without any equipment.
Similar to breathing techniques and often completed together, meditation is used to focus on the present and calm your mind. If you’ve never tried it before, you might be thinking that you can’t meditate or that you’re doing it all wrong. It takes a little practice, but it’s something that you’ll start noticing the benefits straight away. The great thing is that you don’t need to spend hours doing it, either. Even as little as one minute a day you will see amazing benefits.
The easiest way to meditate is to simply focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. If you can imagine a white movie screen or a peaceful setting, then just sit there and focus on it for however long you feel comfortable. Each time a random thought pops into your mind, notice it, acknowledge it, and then send it on its merry way.
No need to stress about it or get frustrated if you can’t keep your mind clear. Our brains are used to being over-reactive, so it takes time to train your brain to just relax and stay still. However, after even a handful of times, you’ll have fewer and fewer thoughts, and you’ll start to notice that you feel calmer, more level-headed, and more peaceful.
If you find it too difficult to start out on your own, or you keep forgetting to make time to meditate, use a guided meditation, we have several for you to try in our member’s area.
Keep meals simple
When you’re feeling tired and stressed, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in front of the cooker (unless that happens to be the thing that helps you to relieve stress) Assuming you’re like me though, cooking is just one more item on my to-do list, and whether you’re doing it for just yourself or for your family, it can really feel like a painful task.
To save time during the week, take the time at the weekend, or when you’re not so busy, to look for some easy recipes. Being in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy meals. Look for recipes with little ingredients and prep time. If you or your family don’t mind leftovers, cook more and freeze the leftovers.
The great thing is that it’s easy to find recipes online and we also have a selection of simple low calories recipes in our membership area. When you’re tired, you have less willpower to eat healthily, so having a plan will help you stick to your nutrition goals.
Make sure you move!
When you’re struggling for time, one of the first things to go is your fitness. It makes sense, though, because going to a gym (when they reopen) can take an hour out of your day and probably more when you account for changing your clothes, showering, and the travel time. When you feel like you don’t have a minute to spare, how can you possibly find time to workout?
The good news is that there are other ways to get in some daily activity besides going to the gym. In fact, some things are very simple, such as going for a walk or just getting up to leave your office chair.
Thanks to amazing home workouts you can get simple exercise ideas right from your phone or if you are looking for something a little more vigorous you can join in with live fitness sessions online.
If you have a half an hour three times a week at home, you could do a quick yoga session or some body weight exercises using our online classes.
Have a cat nap!
On those days when you just don’t have the extra oomph, try to get in a power nap. Although not a common part of working culture in the UK, napping is actually a normal part of the workday in many Asian countries. During the lunch hour, it’s common practice in companies for employees to nap at their desks.
Unfortunately, you probably don’t have the luxury of napping at your desk, unless you’re still working from home, but if you’re able to get away for even a short time, hideaway in your car for 10 minutes to catch a few Zzzs. If you stay at home with small children, try to have a quick nap while your child is napping. Limit your snoozing to 15-20 minutes to avoid feeling groggy.