Ways to Relax – article 2
Article 1 ended with ways to take relaxation breaks at work – finishing with advice to exercise.
Here are a few more suggestions about ways to take relaxation breaks at work.
- Sky gazing. If it is a bright clear day, get away from work for 15 minutes. Find a piece of grass and lie down on your back. Firstly shut your eyes, then open them and stare at the blue sky. Contemplate how endless and vast it is. Imagine that your mind is similarly infinite. If there are clouds, follow one as it drifts across the sky. Practice some mindfulness. View your thoughts and feelings as clouds that move through your conscious mind and move on. Simply observe the thoughts without them having an emotional effect on your mind. Lie still in this mindful state for 10-15 minutes. Then close your eyes for a few moments. Gently turn on to your side and slowly stand up. Return to work feeling relaxed and calm.
- Breathing exercises. Many of us when stressed and tense hold our breath without noticing it. Try taking a break at work, simply to become aware of your breathing. Try this exercise. Close your eyes and become aware of the air flowing in and out through your nostrils. As the breath passes into your lungs, observe your diaphragm move lower and your rib cage widen. Continue to watch as your chest moves in and the air flows out through your nostrils. Keep a constant focus on your breathing and repeat the process. Exclude everything else from your thoughts. If thoughts do appear, then simply observe them and gently return your focus to your breathing. Remain in this relaxed state for 5-15 minutes.
- A place of retreat at work. If there is a prayer room or quiet area at work, this is a great place to go to for a few minutes to simply sit quietly or if you are religious to sit and pray. It may help to get into the routine of spending some time sitting and quietly reflecting at regular intervals throughout the day. This could be a time of spiritual devotion or a recharging break away from the business of the work environment. This time spent in quiet contemplation helps to rebalance your mind and renew your energy. The traditional Muslim times of prayer – dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall – are good times to spend sitting quietly. It may help to start by giving thanks, extending love to those you care for or contemplating such themes as peace or forgiveness.
- Drink spa water. The brain is 70% water and many of us do not drink enough water. Make a point of drinking water regularly while working. Water from sources rich in minerals, may have additional curative and calming properties. Drink water or spa water at regular intervals during the day.
- Become a sketch artist. Sketching or drawing is very relaxing. Buy an artist’s sketchbook and a selection of pencils of varying hardness. When you feel in need of a break, draw whatever you see on your sketchpad. Experiment. You may find that you enjoy drawing portraits of people or still-life. Some artists like to draw and record the changing seasons seen through one window. Try not to obsess about becoming a great artist, simply relax and enjoy the drawing and the different viewpoint this focus provides on the world.
- Make a pot of tea, have a chat and break with your colleagues, and then read the tea leaves and indulge in some fun fortune telling. This makes an entertaining breathing space with fellow workers you know well, especially if the future at work is uncertain or you are in need of some creative stimulus. The tea needs to be made with loose leaf tea leaves. When the tea has infused for 5 minutes then pour it without using a strainer into the cups. Add a little milk or lemon and sugar if desired. Place each teacup on a saucer, put your feet up, enjoy the tea and a chat. When the tea has been drunk, upturn the cup on the saucer and turn it around clockwise three times. Turn the cup back the correct way up and pass it to a workmate to read the tea-leaves. They can study the patterns and may look for arrows that point in a certain future direction in your life, footprints, hearts, ships, suitcases, pound signs, figures, houses, trees etc. Have fun and use your imagination. Try to find interpretations that match the differing images. Do not take this exercise too seriously.
- Mentor a colleague. Research has shown that giving skills back to your community enables people to become happier, more fulfilled and relaxed. Those individuals who become volunteers enjoy better health and live longer too. See if your employer has a mentoring scheme, or get in touch with local youth services and see if you can help young people who wish to start in your industry.
- Reward yourself. If your life is filled with demands and few rewards, then treat yourself with small rewards. For example: make a detour to the best patisserie in town, walk to the florist to select a bunch of flowers, phone a friend for a quick catch up, indulge in reading a chapter of an engrossing book.