There is a Zen saying, “Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” Some of us are fortunate to be passionate about our work, totally immersed losing track of time. Most of us settle into a routine and a regular salary. While compromise is a good life strategy, it also makes us more sensitive to daily stressors. Here are 10 tips to help you de-compress in order to be healthier, more productive and fulfilled.
- You will feel better if you eat properly. Begin the day with a balanced breakfast. Human beings are not creatures of deprivation. During the day eat when you are hungry; you need to be fueled. Snack on nuts or fruit. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar. Drink herbal tea instead. If you feel tired, drink plenty of water. Fatigue can be a symptom of dehydration. Avoid eating a heavy, big lunch which will make you feel sluggish in the afternoon.
- Take mini-breaks from your computer screen during work. Look out the window to stretch your eyes from detailed work. If you have no window, close your eyes and imagine a panoramic view. Rub your two hands together to generate heat and then place them gently over your eyes for thirty seconds.
- If you feel distracted and can’t concentrate, be in the moment by focusing on your breath. Inhale two counts through the nose, exhale four counts through the nose. It helps to visualize a white fog on inhalation and a dark fog on exhalation. Repeat for ten breaths.
- When you feel tense in your body, particularly in your lower back, make sure to stretch. While sitting in your chair, plop your upper body down like a rag doll. Feel limp and relaxed. Breathe in and out. Stand up tall and perform an overhead palm press up. To prevent carpal tunnel syndrome rotate your wrists clockwise and then counterclockwise. Also, gently pull on each finger to release tension. During lunch allocate some time to take a brisk walk outside in the fresh air and light; particularly important when the days are shorter to help you deal with seasonal affective disorder.
- Prioritize your work. Make a daily list and cross off the accomplishments. Learn to delegate tasks and be a team player. Share, don’t hoard information. Ask for support when you need it and give support when others need it. Cultivate a support system.
- Use an inspirational quote or the words of a song that hold special meaning for you as a screensaver.
- Keep a photo of your last vacation on your desk—to remind you to take a vacation.
- Always allow more time for a project than you anticipate. A deadline is just that—a dead line. If you finish ahead of time, you are a hero.
- Clean out the clutter and organize your desk.
- Cultivate a sense of humor. Quickly re-interpret the situation with a comic eye.
Be calmly active and actively calm: this is the secret to success at work.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com