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SIMPLE WAYS TO UNWIND AFTER A STRESSFUL DAY

Take a deep breath

There are ways of breathing that can energise & help you unwind. Similarly, there are breathing techniques that can send you into a state of blissful sleepiness. After 5-10 minutes of breathing like this, you’ll be ready to drift off into a nice, restful sleep.

Place both hands on your stomach and feel your belly expand and contract. Making your belly as big as possible. Deep belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, and reduces the sympathetic nervous system, which is what sends you into “fight or flight” mode. Use your lungs to their full capacity and breathe as deeply as possible. Make each breath slower and more controlled than the last, counting to steady the pace. Extending each exhalation will help to lower your heart rate and relax your muscles.

Slow down

Instead of constantly thinking about what you are going to do next, be where you are right now. This is a simple mindfulness trick that focuses your mind on the present moment and reduces anxiety regarding future or past events. Plus, it’s simple to do and can be practiced at any time. No matter how mundane the task, try to enjoy it instead of constantly looking forward, or thinking about the past. Whether you’re having a cup of tea, or changing the bed, stay in that moment and find pleasure in it.

Sit in silence

We are so used to being overstimulated these days that it is difficult to just do nothing. See if you can simply be with no form of entertainment. This can actually be intimidating for many of us, so start slow by trying not to pull out your phone while you’re drifting off to sleep. Eventually, you might work up to having a dedicated 15 minutes or half an hour before bed where you can just sit and be. This is, essentially, a form of meditation. And don’t worry if your mind wanders, allow yourself to acknowledge all thoughts and then bring yourself back to the present moment.

Stop multitasking

We’re always trying to do so much before realising that we are not actually getting anything done. After a stressful day at the office, trying to tackle a to-do list at home will likely result in frustration. There’s always something to be doing, but you’ll get more done if you focus on one task at a time. So, when you’ve got a million things to do after work, prioritise them, focus on the top three tasks, and ignore the rest. Switch your phone to airplane mode and ignore emails when getting jobs done. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and, hopefully, some time to relax without feeling guilty.

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