Just because you’re working from home, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take designated time out of our day to destress and relax.
Although the days when we complained about a stressful commute or anxiety-inducing presentation may seem but a distant memory, that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to look after ourselves and make sure we have sufficient time to destress at the end of a busy day.
Indeed, many of the stress-relieving techniques we may have turned to before the coronavirus outbreak – such as going to the gym or seeing friends – are now off the table, making it even more important to find techniques which fit into your new routine.
If you’re working from home, taking regular breaks and ensuring that you destress and remove yourself from “work mode” at the end of the day is essential for your wellbeing – and could make you more productive the following day.
As Mark Pinches, head of coaching at Westfield Health, previously explained to Stylist: “Whether we’ve had enough time to relax, how well we’ve managed to switch off from work and the amount of sleep we had the night before all shape how easy or difficult a day will seem.
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“This need for ‘recovery time’ continues throughout the day. Whether it’s a micro break talking to a colleague or going for a walk at lunch, ring-fencing this recovery time is key to staying relaxed and productive.”
Learning how to step back and create that ‘recovery time’ is an essential skill to learn at the moment. With this in mind, Abi Selby, founder of Spabreaks.com has shared her tips for doing just that – keep reading for all the stress relieving techniques you need to keep calm and carry on.
Exercise: “Well known as one of the best things to do for mental health and wellbeing, exercise doesn’t have to mean heading to the gym,” Selby explains. “Online yoga classes or guided home workouts are a great way to keep moving when it feels all too easy to simply flop on the sofa.
“If you’re working from home, make sure you take regular little breaks to move through some gentle stretches to keep your body moving.”
Treat yourself: “While people may not be able to head to a fully equipped spa, make the most of what your home has to offer: run a hot steamy bath, adding essential oils such as lavender, or take some time to paint nails, do a facemask or work through a skincare routine you might not always have the time for,” Selby says.
“Focusing on little things to make yourself feel better helps boost your wellbeing and is a good way to step back and switch off from the world for a while.”
Get creative: “Keep engaged in activities other than watching the news,” Selby advises. “Order a paint-by-numbers, rearrange a room to quite literally gain a new perspective, read the book that’s been collecting dust on the shelf for ages or have a go at cooking something new. Tasks that require our mind to be elsewhere offer a reprieve from the stress of daily life.”
Use tech to combat loneliness: “Technology today offers a multitude of ways of staying in touch,” Selby explains.
“Facetime friends, call family, play a boardgame with people over Skype, join a new exercise community on YouTube – we’re social animals by our nature so keeping in contact with people is vital for maintaining happiness.”
Keep your immune system healthy: “Maintain a balanced diet as much as you can – plenty of vitamins, citrus and fish – garlic is good too,” Selby advises.
“Engage in light exercise daily, make sure to get enough sleep, and laugh – it gets the blood flowing and helps you destress, which aids your immune response.”
Get some fresh air: “Where possible as per the latest government advice, head outside for a short walk to stretch your legs, enjoy a change of scenery and get some fresh air,” Selby says. “Being in the same space can feel restrictive, so as long as proper advice is followed (eg to keep socially distant) then popping out for a walk down the road or to the local park can ease that cooped-up feeling and improve your mood.”
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Switch off before bed: “Avoid technology and news two hours before heading to bed – opt for watching a film, catching up on a series, reading a book or engaging in a hobby instead,” Selby advises.
“Watching updates and being constantly online before bed can be hugely disruptive to sleep, as our brains will still be trying to absorb new updates and screens disrupt our ability to fall asleep naturally.”
Look to the future: “Having something to look forward to and focus on can be a great way to stay motivated,” Selby says. “Booking a spa day or other experience is an uplifting way to reconnect with loved ones, and provides an escape as you look towards things to be enjoyed in the future. Either decide on a date down the line, or opt for a voucher with a full year to redeem the experience and start planning things you’ll enjoy.”