Even if you're not going away this bank holiday weekend, our experts have clever tactics to try for that chilled-out feeling...
Struggling to switch off? Want to learn how to relax? Winding down and letting your mind and body recoup after a busy, demanding week is essential to your health and well being. But if you’re a busy person with lots of demands on your time then it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Our experts have clever tactics to achieve that chilled out feeling so that you can take a holiday from ‘busy’ and learn how to relax…
Tony Crabbe is a psychologist and author of a new book, Busy: How To Thrive in a World of Too Much (Piatkus; £14.99) and Dr Nerina Ramalakhan is a neurophysiologist and author of Tired But Wired (Souvenir Press; ££).
Here are their tops tips on how to relax…
A change really is as good as a rest, so if you can’t switch of mentally, trust your body to do it for you. Engage in something purely physical, such as ballroom dancing or rock climbing, and the concentration it requires will drown out your internal taskmaster, allowing your brain to recharge.
Carry a notebook or keep a list on your smartphone so that the minute a nagging thought or problem distracts you from the task at hand, you can write it down. This acknowledges the thought, but allows you to forget about it until you can give it your full attention.
There are two kinds of tasks – those we have to do, and those we should do. You have to return a phone call or pick up the kids – there’s a time pressure, but once it’s done it doesn’t really change your life.
You should, however, start exercising, visit your elderly relative more or reclaim the spare room, but although these will make a difference to your happiness, another month or year slips by.
Stop giving the ‘have tos’ the upper hand. If you don’t take care of the ‘shoulds’ you lose all sense of control.
It’s not your 500 Facebook friends who make you happy, but the 15 people you cherish the most. Research shows it is these magic 15 people who bring you joy, wellbeing and satisfaction in life. You probably know who they are immediately but, if not, write them down. Now make space to spend more time with them.
Tempted to check your work email or see what everyone’s up to on Facebook? Don’t.
Our access to stimulation, information and communication is limitless, and we can’t resist going back for more!
When we choose to do one thing, we are also unchoosing something else. So, stop answering emails – you know the ones that count, don’t get snared by details and avoid time stealers like that old friend who never stops talking about her perfect life online.
Escape screen overload and take back time by making a conscious decision about how long to browse, then put away your laptop, switch off your smartphone and stop the mindless more game.
Everyone else is super busy, and because it’s hard to go against social norms, we let our lives fill up too. But surround yourself with people who approach life differently, and you’ll start to mirror their behaviour instead – the relative who doesn’t need umpteen social media accounts to feel connected; the colleague who chooses to have a life as well as a career.
Try seeking out someone you know who runs life at a different pace and spend the day with them. You’ll find it rubs off.