Did you know it takes a full 10 days for us to switch off from work mode and relax? (Cascade IRIS Human Capital Management). 4 days off sounds like heaven, but it can be over in a blink if you don’t take active steps to switch off from work mode. You might be thinking that you don’t have an issue with putting work out of your mind but then you settle down for bed, turn off the lights and bam your mind starts racing a million miles an hour with all the things you need to do. Sound familiar?
“We’re living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction, decoherence,” says Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace. We’re always doing something, and we allow little time to practice stillness and calm.
When we’re at work, we dream about being on a holiday and when we’re on a holiday we worry about work. Arrggh! But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are three proven techniques to help you to switch off your ‘monkey mind’ as Buddhists call it because you go from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
Schedule time to do nothing
Unfortunately many of us don’t have house staff to do our grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. These chores, although necessary, are tiresome enough but then we go and layer them with ‘catch-ups’ with friends, kids birthday parties, and other ‘necessary’ social obligations. Schedule in sometime to do activities that you truly enjoy. Things like; reading the paper, going to for a walk and brunch at your local café or a run in the fresh air on your own. If you’re like me you probably convince yourself that you’ll squeeze sometime in somewhere to do a little something for yourself but by the time the weekend is over you’re exhausted and barely got a minute to have a shower without a toddler banging on the glass door, let alone gone for a run. Let’s make this long weekend count and block out time in our diaries to do something that truly makes us happy.
Turn off notifications on your device
This is a big one. As a rule I have notifications turned off on my device from all apps 24/7. Your phone lighting up with a notification will jump into your space while you’re concentrating on something of value or a moment of appreciation and calm. It’s a mental disruptor that will chip away at your decision-making capacity for the day. Just by looking at your phone and deciding on whether to ignore the notification, clear it, respond to it or delete it, is literally taxing your brain.
Do something creative
As children we’re encouraged to be creative. To think outside the box and just let our minds wander. Grab yourself some pencils and a colouring book and doodle away. As strange as it may seem, colouring in is a kind of meditation: It calms the mind, occupies the hands and focuses attention on simple, repetitive tasks (Psychology Today). This level of concentration creates a state of peace, blocking out negative or intrusive thoughts. Try Coloring Mandala for Meditation or The Mindfulness Colouring Diary: An Illustrated Diary of Anti-Stress Colouring.
May your long weekend be stress-free and filled with chocolate, hot cross buns and maybe a little champers.
Happy Easter & Passover!