Often we imagine a hectic time ahead with absolutely no time to rest or relax, we may say to ourselves :
- I’m just going to plough through these next few weeks and then relax on when I’m on my holiday
- I know the next few days are going to be hell at work but then we can take it easy
- I can’t sleep right now until I know for sure what will happen about my job situation
- I can’t rest until the kids are all tucked up in bed
We set ourselves up for tension and anxiety for the whole day when we do this.
It basically means that if we do ease up on ourselves, things won’t get done as efficiently or we imagine that we may fall asleep on the job!
Research shows in fact that if we do take small regular breaks throughout the day, our performance and productivity is greatly improved.
Time out to Breathe
We are breathing all time, the body takes a breath in and then out, approximately 16 times per minute. When we feel anxious the breath speeds up and when we are relaxed it slows down.
Time out to breathe means that we take a minute or two a few times a day to simply observe your breath and consciously breathe more deeply. You don’t have to go anywhere special to do this, stay at your desk when working or whist preparing yourself a drink.
- Sit comfortably in your chair and close your eyes (you can do this just as easily with eyes half open)
- Take 3 deep breaths in slowly and relax your body each time on your outbreath
- Notice particular areas of tension in your body and take your attention to those areas and consciously let go
- Then simply observe your breathing, notice your body breathing itself
- Allow your attention to stay fully on your breath and let your thoughts drift away. Remind yourself it is just for a few moments and that you will feel so much more refreshed and relaxed after it.
- Then return to what you were doing before and notice how much better you feel.
The benefits of deep breathing and quiet meditation are easy and practical ways to help you rest and relax. It prevents tension from building up in your body and mind and helps to control the body’s stress response created by a constantly active mind.
It is easy to find time to rest and relax throughout the day, it’s simply a matter of gently creating this new habit in your life and noticing how effective it is in helping you feel calm and rested.