We all know those weeks when the days are too short for all the work in front of us. Emails pop into our account every minute, urgent deadlines are looming, family life at home is demanding, and we’re probably too far away from the last (or next) holiday to get a real break from it all. Most of us are so caught up in our day-to-day striving; we have literally forgotten how to be fun; it is easy to get completely bogged down and overawed by it all. You probably feel like most of us do at one time or another; you have read all the self-help books, tried yoga or other relaxation techniques, and read about all those ways to de-stress. Did any of these work for you? Can you even remember which worked and which didn’t? In fact, do you remember any of them just when you need them most?
What do our minds and body need to destress?
Here are my Top 5 Ways to Destress this year and are simple, reliable, proven and easy to implement
If you’re a mover, get outside for some fresh air or go for a cold shower
10 mins of cold water a week is a proven antidepressant. The days are still short, but make the most of them by going for a brisk 20min lunchtime walk, longer hikes in nature at the weekends. If you have access to cold water, take a cold shower or immerse yourself in cold water for brief periods.
If you like to sit down, put all your gadgets away into the next room, and play a game.
Sitting down and playing an old-fashioned board game, card game or even social video game is a proven way of destressing easily. Being in joyful company relaxes the mind, turns off your mind and recharges you. Remember those nights spent crying with laughter over a board game with family and friends? You can recreate the memories and make new ones.
Create something with your hands
Maybe you used to draw, paint, make sculptures, and pride yourself in your DIY or woodworking skills. Now is the time to pick those up again. Working with your hands is a really good way to destress. You are creating a thing of beauty, picking up on old skills, learning something new, and turning your mind to the moment. Concentrate on what’s in front of you right
Simply have fun, shake off that serious day-to-day persona and have fun
Back home in Germany, we celebrate Karneval this month. Young and old, we all dress up in a silly, nonsense fancy dress, meet up with our neighbours and friends to go to the local parade and basically be silly. Don’t be afraid to throw a party with a silly theme; ask your friends to get dressed up and get out the party games (Twister will work well into your 40’s, especially when you’ve been working out in the gym regularly.)
Commit to signing up for a gym class
We all know that working out is good for our bodies and mind. Getting into a weekly routine of gym visits and/or classes in the gym is a proven way of improving your mental health physical health and making you feel better about yourself. Lifting weights is a proven mechanism for reducing anxiety and stress in the body. A half-hour exercise session builds your stamina and reduces anxiety. Whether it’s a run or a swim, a spinning class or lifting weights – whatever you enjoy doing, sign up to the gym now. Get back into the routine and start noticing the positive changes now.