It is true that work is important and thinking about the professional aspect of our lives is essential. But, after some time, when life begins to become overwhelming with several things to manage at the same time, it is vital to know how to deal with our priorities. We constantly have to manage different activities, like studying, working, taking care of someone, and our personal lives. Nowadays, we consider our lives as being always ‘on the go’, stressful, chaotic and extremely busy, and this has a direct effect on our minds, our bodies and souls.
According to health experts, when we operate at maximum capacity without having a proper rest, or a de-stressing session, we become sick, fatigued, anxious, and therefore ill (Kerins, 2018). In order to become good CEOs, parents, employers or employees, it is vital that we are feeling well.
But, what do we mean by relaxing? There are several definitions from several academics. However, in my opinion, the ones that clearly explain its purpose are the: “A change of pace from the daily routine” (Mayo Clinic, 2007) combined with Gunjan’s (2015) simple and direct definition: “relaxation means to calm down mentally and physically” (Gunjan, 2015). In other words, what relaxation means is avoiding stress (the absence of relaxation), which shouldn’t be mistaken with laziness.
In the UK, you can’t (supposedly) work more than 48 hours on average per week (GOV.UK), however, there are always exemptions in which we stay longer at the office, or we even take some work home. This is not always good for your efficiency at work. In fact, a study conducted in the US (Inc.com, 2018) shows that not taking time off from work, actually reduces productivity in both the long and short term.
Now, there’s also a direct effect on our health. There are numerous studies over the course of 50 years, showing that people who work more than 50 hours per week, are prone to obesity, heart diseases, burnout, and other phycological effects (Eisenberg, 2017). With this in mind, realizing and taking time for yourself, it’s not being lazy, its actually contributing to your health.
Don’t forget our brains also operate as muscles. Meaning that like our biceps, or abs, our muscles need to relax after using them. According to a ‘Lifehack’ article, when our brains relax, they are also recovering, allowing us to boost motivation, plan ahead, process new data, make memories, increase the ability to concentrate, among other (Kline, 2018). Offices are starting to do something about this, to help the well-being of their employees. As the vice president of Human Resources at Unilever mentions, all their offices have a ‘Quiet Zone’ in which people who need a break can go to relax, pray, sleep etc. (Clementi, 2017).
But even if companies are taking more and more actions towards improving the well-being and health of their employees, they are still within a work environment, and you still will return your house afterwards for some personal time.
There are hundreds of ways in which people can try to relax after a long day at work. However, I would like to share with you the ones I like the most, and the ones that are most helpful in my opinion:
Take a hot shower: Even if you’ve already had your morning shower, in my opinion, coming back from work or university super tired and with a lot stuff in your head, there is no better and faster solution that just taking a hot shower or bath. Adding a few drops of aromatic oil also makes a difference!
Read a book: you might think that you are too good for books, and that there is other more important stuff to do. Bill Gates reads 1 hour every day of his life before going to bed. If the richest man does this for his mental health and relaxation, what’s your excuse? It foments your imagination and reminds you how it is to live in a completely different world.
Meditate: even though I am not an expert on this subject, professionals on the field recommend that disconnecting from everything and just concentrating on your breathing and silence, helps eliminating the stressful clutter of your minds (InnerHealthStudio, 2018).
Hobby time!: If its painting, collecting watches, origami, etc. it’s your passion! and therefore it’s something that you really enjoy doing. Doing something that you truly love, makes you happy and makes you forget about other stuff.
Tune up some good music: use your headphones or blast your speakers. Do stuff that you can’t do during work. It is known that listening to music helps reducing stress and anxiety (Kellgren, 2017). So, try new genres and explore the music universe.
Watch a movie or a series: Everything in excess is bad for you. However, watching now and then that movie that you really liked, or a new series online could be relaxing, as you focus on the plot and lose yourself in the story.
Exercise: True, some people end up exhausted after a long day of work, however, once you start exercising at something that you like, you will start feeling more energetic and happier! They are called endorphins, and you can’t argue with the science. Besides, it’s good for your health in millions of ways.
Get a good night sleep: number one method to restore energy for the next day. Try having a schedule and sleeping enough hours to feel revigorated tomorrow. Also, sleeping well allows you to prepare early for the day, allowing you to prepare your bed for later, when you return home to sleep.
Clementi, M., 2018. The Importance of Rest For Sustained High Perfomance. [online] Available at: <https://onfit.edu.au/health-fitness-blog/the-importance-of-resting-your-mind// > [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Eisenber, R., 2017. How to work less and get more done. [online] Available at: < https://www.nextavenue.org/work-less-get-done/ > [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Gunjan, A., 2015. It’s so important to Relax, Why?. [online] Available at: < https://www.kiipfit.com/important-relax/> [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Inner Health Studio. Seven Ways to relax after a long day at work. [online] Available at: < https://www.innerhealthstudio.com/ways-to-relax.html/> [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Kerins, M., 2018. The Importance of Rest in Today’s busy World. [online] Available at: < https://www.theawakening.ie/blog/importance-rest-todays-busy-world/ > [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Kellgren, S., 2017. How to relax your mind after a Ridiculous hard day at Work. [online] Available at: < https://everydaypowerblog.com/relax-your-mind-after-hard-day-work/> [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Kline, K., 2018. Why rest days are more important for higher efficiency at Work. [online] Available at: < https://www.lifehack.org/347808/why-rest-days-are-important-for-higher-efficiency-work> [Accessed 6 November 2018].
Schwartz, A. It’s Official, Relaxation is Necessary for Health. [online] Available at: < https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/it-s-official-relaxation-is-necessary-for-health/> [Accessed 6 November 2018].