Although many of us are taking a break from the early morning commute and enjoying an extra hour in bed, in reality working from home can bring up a whole new set of stressors that affect our mood and productivity. Between WiFi issues, feeling lonely, forgetting the time and working late into the night, working from home is not always as relaxing as it seems.
Learning how to step back and create that ‘recovery time’ is an essential skill to master during this unsettling time. With this in mind, Head of Yoga at FLY LDN, Fi Clark suggests 6 rejuvenating ways to unwind and destress during your workday.
Read a book
Try to keep engaged in activities other than watching the news or Netflix, and carve out time during the day to read a chapter of a book. Finding somewhere quiet, either inside or out, and taking the time to read with your phone on silent and out of sight is a great way of improving mental focus. Our levels of concentration diminish rapidly throughout the day, so reading a book is the ultimate lunchtime activity for those who suffer from brain fog in the afternoon. Reading also takes you into a fantasy world where the creative side of your brain can develop and grow, allowing you an escape from your work to-do-list.
Find a spot of natural beauty
A change in scenery focuses your brain on a different environment. Whether that be a green space, the river or a pond nearby where you can be around the sounds, smells and visuals of nature, finding a spot of natural beauty is an instant fix to get you feeling relaxed and at peace during or after a busy day. If you’re short for time, simply look out your window into the skyline or stand in the garden for a few minutes, as this is a therapeutic way to work off stress and reconnect with the bigger world around you.
Find a lunchtime yoga class
Online yoga classes or home workouts are a great way to keep moving when it feels all too easy to simply flop on the sofa, and there are lots of gyms that are currently offering workout sessions via Instagram Live or Zoom which fit around work schedules. A lunchtime yoga session is a great way to unwind and shut off from work, making you feel energised, focussed and clear-headed to be able to perform better in the afternoon. Yoga offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the working day and can help us find inner strength as we navigate our way through this unsettling time. FLY LDN is running free morning, lunchtime and evening classes on their Instagram page. Find a quiet space, light a candle, roll out your mat and let yourself get lost in your practice.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be sat cross-legged for hours, chanting, in order to meditate. Mediation can be practised anywhere and everywhere, whether that be in a quiet spot at home or whilst you are out on your daily walk. There are many different ways to practice meditation, but one of the easiest is to master mindfulness. All you need to do is concentrate on what you’re doing in the moment, such as following the journey of the breath in and out of the body and observing how the body gently adjusts to the intake and expelling of breath. During the day, try focussing on the steps of your feet and what’s going on around you, as this will allow you to rid your mind of stress and banish any anxious thoughts. There are also many highly recommended apps that offer guided meditation, my personal favourite is Head Space, which leaves me feeling calm and ready to take on whatever the day throws at me.
Another side to meditation is mandala adult colouring-in books, which have become a very popular platform for people wanting stress relief and a screen break. The circular shapes of mandalas have the power to calm the mind, balance the energies of your body, promote relaxation and enhance your creativity. The notion of focusing on the colouring in and choosing colours to help take the mind away from work for a break is very appealing to a lot of people who find it difficult to meditate with eyes closed in the more traditional way.
Write letters or postcards to old friends and family
Sadly, writing letters is a dying pastime now as it’s not a necessity to communicate through handwritten word. Not only can writing a letter to a loved one be very therapeutic, but it’s also a welcome surprise to receive one too. Taking time on your lunch break or after work to write to someone you haven’t seen for a while will give your brain a break and has longer-lasting effects of feeling good once the recipient has received their letter, too.