If you're feeling that you have a lot to do but little time to do it here a list of things you should try to help stay calm and stop the stress from kicking in. I have chosen things which only take a few mins (15 max), don't require you to go and buy lots of things in the shops and might make you feel a bit silly. They are a bit silly because you need to smile while you do them and preferably do them with a friend but on your own is great too, as smiling to yourself works wonders, They may seem silly activities but they have a serious aim which is to promote calm and reduce or prevent anxiety. As you read the list try to imagine where and when you could do each one and who you could rope in to doing it with you.
Please don't use your screens when you are doing these activities unless they are specifically required for guidance.
Legs up again the wall
What to do
Please note: Beds and pyjamas are great for this due to cosiness, but office walls are good too!
Important - do not look at screens while you are in this position so you can fully switch off.
2/ Blow the cobwebs away - Go for a mindful walk
When I was little my mum made us go out for a walk every day, whatever the weather. We often went out just before bed in our pyjamas, wellies and 70's anoraks. We did live on a farm so we could get away with walks in pyjamas. If it was really dark I used to walk with my eyes closed, holding my mum's hand. Other times our walks were in the day, these were sometimes long, sometimes short, often wet and often windy, sometimes both. We had no screens to take with us, no music to play in our ears, we did use to just walk and talk. We also used to see, hear, feel and touch the nature around us. We always got back from walks a little less bored and grumpy. Our night time walks were great tonics for sleep. The infographic really sums up the brilliance of walking for our well-being.
So walk fast outside today and as you walk notice things. Really look at the colours around you, listen to the sounds. You may be walking through nature or just through the streets on your way home from work but look for things that make you smile. It may be a building, a bit of graffiti, a tree, a flower, something someone is wearing, the colour of the sky, the coldness of the air or a cat which comes out to say hello as you walk past. If you are walking with someone, point out the silly little things that bring your joy. If you are on your own acknowledge it quietly with a smile.
3/ Increase your energy with 3 breathing exercises
When we are stressed our breathing becomes more shallow and becomes quicker. Learning a few fun and quick breathing exercises can reduce stress and energise you. These three Pranayama exercises are quite noisy and appear a bit silly so I think other people should be encouraged to do these with you. If you do them on your own you may be able to concentrate more on the quality of your breathing. Either way they will bring you energy and help to reduce your stress.
What to do
4/ Tennis Ball Shoulder Self Massage
Shoulder tension does not help your levels of calm or your posture. This activity can look a bit silly but it can help get that tension between the shoulder blades and takes less than 10 minutes.
What to do
5/ Tea Bag Meditations
Teabags on eyes? Please remember most of the challenges I have chosen are slightly silly but they have a serious purpose. Please go with this one, it may surprise you!
What to do?
You need 2 cold steeped caffinated teabags (so not the ones in my picture!), a comfy place to lie down and 5-10 minutes of quiet.
Lie down and get comfortable and then place the teabags on your eyes. notice how they feel. Notice where they sit on your eyes and their temperature. Say to yourself 'Thank you eyes for what your do'. Smile at yourself lying there with teabags on your eyes and for the calming feeling it brings.
Scan the areas of the face, feeling how they feel and say thank you to each part. Remember to smile.
Don't judge yourself if your mind wanders, or something feels achy, just bring your mind back and continue scanning the rest of your body and saying thank you to it, finishing at your feet. Take your time and don't miss anything out.
Once you have reached you feet, notice the feeling of your body on the floor/bed and then bring your mind gradually back to the teabags.
Gently remove the teabags, open your refreshed eyes slowly and enjoy the feeling of calm in your body. Smile.
It's probably best not to do this at bed time as you may fall asleep and wake up lying on a broken wet tea bag!
After you have done your teabag relaxation. Prepare two teabags for a friend/family member. Explain to them what to do. They will probably laugh at you to begin, laugh too as teabags on eyes is silly. But then tell them how it felt and how beneficial it was. Get them to lie down, place the bags on their eyes and leave them to it with a lovely feeling of knowing you have helped someone else be calm.
6/ Give your hands a massage
Hands do so much for us and we really neglect them. They often hold tension from the things we put them through. They are also incredibly sensitive and are covered in sensors so we can touch and feel effectively. So it's time to treat them.
Hands love to be massaged and cared for, it is also very restful for your mind. If you are massaging your hands you can't do anything else and you have to be mindful of their different elements which is very relaxing in itself.
What to do
7/ Do something relaxing for someone else - give someone a hand massage
One of the best ways to be happy and calm is do something nice for someone else. You will find that people love to receive hand massages, and it can be very calming for the giver and the receiver.
What to do
Please note the hand massage should take at least about 5 minutes per hand.
If there is no one available for you to give a hand massage to, just take a long hot bath and give yourself another hand massage.
Please try a different one of these calming activities everyday for a week. Remember they aren't meant to take long and the first time you read the challenge, imagine yourself doing the challenge at a particular time of your day. that way it is more likely to happen and don't forget to smile whilst doing them.
by Stop for a massage
With the start of 2017 I have been thinking about my New Year's resolutions. I always try to have one and stick to it but it doesn't always happen but I feel it is worth a go. Whilst wasting time on the internet the other day I came across the Pomodoro Technique website. In Italian a pomodoro is a tomato, the Pomodoro Technique has really nothing to do with tomatoes apart from the fact it uses a timer which is shaped like a tomato.
It's not a new concept but it might be what I need to focus on my course work and boring housework. It might also help me concentrate and keep me away from Facebook. But what to do in those breaks? That's not really a hard one - eat cake, go to the loo, have a drink of water, or maybe because it's New Year I could be more creative with my five minutes break.
Doing the massage course has made me think about my own aches, pains and terrible posture so maybe I could do something to help my body in my short break. This month we have been practising shoulder mobilisation and neck massage to help the aches caused by hunching. After sitting hunched over a screen, book or pile of laundry we all need a stretch to stop the hunch becoming permanent, so I searched out some exercises to help with shoulder mobilisation and posture.
I selected two short You Tube videos. The first video I chose because it covers shoulder mobilisation exercises which are easy to do standing away from a desk and two which could be done sitting down as I to return to work. The second video is an exercise designed by a chiropractor to help with correcting bad posture involving the neck.
I think I will aim to do a few a day and see what happens. Happy New Year.