Being forced to stay home has provided us all with a break from having to rush around and always be ‘doing’. Yes, it’s been challenging not being able to catch up for a coffee with friends, take the kids to the park, visit family or do all those other things that we love. But slowing down is something we’ve always been telling ourselves to do but just ‘never have time’ to do it!
So as things start to transition back to normal, there’s a general sense of wanting to harness that feeling of time and space.
Here are a few tips to help keep that balance in check to avoid ending up in a big ol' rush again.
As life’s commitments and obligations come back, keep exercise front of mind. You just have to make the commitment to do it. So before you sit down to that cup of tea, take a look at these simple and quick ways to bring movement into your day.
Cardio – Interval training is essential to helping prevent heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol. Try running for five minutes, and walking for one. Set yourself 20 minutes, four times a week. Or simply head out to the trampoline – 10 minutes of jumping is equivalent to 30 minutes of running!
| We have a 7 Days of Fitness on the Trampoline challenge to get you started (all you need is 10 minutes a day).
Flexibility – Stretching is a perfect body balancing activity to release stress and improve your range of motion. Stretching can literally be done anywhere. You can stretch while you’re sitting at work, in the car when you’re stuck in traffic or even do 10 minutes when you get up in the morning. If you decide to commit to your stretching practice further and take up yoga, there is the added stillness of mind benefit that comes with the practice, providing both a physical and mental benefit.
Strength –Building your strength doesn’t have to be about getting bulky. Incorporating weight training into your workouts will keep you toned, stimulate the nervous system and prevent injuries. If you can try to incorporate just five minutes of strength training into your daily routine this will help keep you strong and fit.
Play – This is the best kind of exercise of all. If sticking to some kind of fitness regime is not your cup of tea, then use play as a way to keep active. Dancing around in the lounge with the kids to your favourite Spotify playlist, kicking the soccer ball around in the backyard, playing trampoline games, pushing them on the swing are all things that are keeping your blood and heart pumping. It also helps to build on that bond that you’ve created with the kids over the past couple of months.
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While it’s sometimes easier to focus your body physically, as it’s something you can see, touch and control, it’s also important to protect your mental and emotional health. Keeping a clear mind with a positive mindset benefits not only you but those close to you.
Meditation – Many people shy away from meditation because they just don’t ‘get it’. There’s an expectation that you should experience immense clarity of mind and settled thoughts. But it takes time. Meditation is a skill that needs to develop but as you work on developing it, you are still allowing yourself 10 minutes of stillness. Giving yourself that time in a quiet space will allow you to reduce your stress levels, and ideally a bit of space to just be. You will have thoughts come and go but gradually you will start to observe these less and you’ll notice that you have a clearer view of the world and you begin to stress less.
Sleep – It is no secret that sleep plays a critical role in repairing your body, protecting your immune system and assisting with memory function. And if you’ve ever had a bad sleep, you know how crucial it is to your productivity and mood. The amount of sleep you need is very individual. Some people perform exceptionally well on fewer hours than others. But on average, you should aim for seven to nine hours a day.
Relationships – If there is nothing else we’ve learned this year, is how much we value our support network. Having family and friends to talk to can help give you new ways of tackling life challenges. Putting in time for family dinners, coffee dates with your friends, or even joining a club is a great way to nurture these relationships.
Laugh – Love that feeling of a tummy-aching, eyes-watering laugh? Research has proven that laughing reduces the production of hormones that create stress. It also helps to boost the immune system and your mood levels. Take time out to watch a comedy or even try laughing yoga.
Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. There is nothing you need to do that can’t wait a day. Spend the extra time interacting with your family and friends – see above point as to why this matters.
Mindfulness – we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve had a conversation with someone but not actually heard a word they’ve said, or driven somewhere and have no recollection of how we got from a to b. We’ve also heard this message time and time again – Be Present. Next time you go for a walk pay attention to what’s going on around you. Or take a new route when driving to work to keep your mind active. Observe your kids as they play, they know how to live in the moment so when in doubt, take a leaf out of their book.
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Keeping the balance takes commitment and a will to do it. Now you’ve potentially had a taste of how nice not rushing around is, the desire may be stronger than normal, so we hope these few tips help keep you on track.