Last week, we spoke a bit about how important it is to get exercise; to step away from that desk and that computer and take time to ‘smell the roses’ and feel the sunshine on your skin.
A short break from work to get outside can mean all the difference to your ability to think clearly and to concentrate. In other words, exercise and air are brain food.
But what about fun? Yes, exercise is fun once you get going and you will most certainly feel better and move more easily once you’ve gotten out and about, but all work and no play…you know the drill.
So, I want to tell you that we all need to have more fun. Apart from vacations and the occasional night out with the guys (or ladies). We need to make time in our day to do something just for us. Even if it’s just 5 minutes to tell jokes and make everyone laugh hysterically (and wouldn’t you like to be ‘the one’ who is capable of doing that?) or 10 minutes to get out into the garden and admire those gorgeous tomatoes you’re growing…make time to do something ‘unproductive’ just because you want to.
Get a hobby
Three years ago, I went through a time of extreme stress (we’re talking stress of the Post-Traumatic kind here – quite serious and life-changing). I was nearly suicidal and to the point where stubbing my toe whilst walking into the kitchen would send me over the edge for the rest of the week – no joke!
My daughter was knitting a jumper and I hadn’t touched my needles for years (and was never very good at knitting to begin with). I watched her and thought – that looks like fun! Got some needles, got some wool and haven’t looked back since.
Knitting is my ‘happy place’. It’s what I do when I need to blow off steam or when I just want to relax and have fun for 10 minutes to recharge before getting back to work. “Just one more row” is now my mantra and my friends, family and total strangers are now the beneficiaries of my hobby (after joining a charity knitting group for the company of other knitters).
That’s my ‘ time out ’ – what’s yours?
Do you have a special something that you do to relax during the day. A method of relaxing that doesn’t take a whole lot of time but helps you to get back into the ‘zone’ so your stress levels stay within reason and your heart rate can come back to normal?
Here are some I can think of but I’d love to hear yours too:
- 1- Dancing: I’m not talking about the kind you do in a ballroom – I mean turning on your favourite music and dancing around the house or office for 10 minutes (probably best if you have a private office or work from home). Try doing this and then sitting down to worry – it just won’t work. Snoopy had the right idea.
2- Craft work: are you creative? Neither was I, or so I thought. There are deep wells of creativity in all of us. Tapping into that by doing a craft you love can be the most affirming and satisfying thing you’ve ever done. Find something you love and learn how to do it if you don’t already know. Woodwork, crochet, beading, painting – the list goes on.
3- Singing – either on your own in a community choir group. There is nothing like the sound of 20 or 30 voices singing in harmony. And even if you are a bit shy or feel that you will never be Pavarotti, the joy of singing with a group is that when you take a certain number of people, mix well and roll out in a hall, it will sound like the Metropolitan Opera – trust me. But don’t disregard the stress-busting effect simply singing at home can have – it will raise your spirits and put a smile on your face.
So whatever you do – make time every day without fail to have fun. Just because fun is…well, fun!
For the Stress to Strength Team