When you're super-busy, it might sound silly to start making time for some fun or relaxation. But small tweaks to your schedule can make you better able to accomplish the things you really want to do, and with less stress to boot. So let's take a look at a few things to add to your schedule that will help you feel energized and focused.
1. Take a nap.
There is so much research on the importance of sleep and the benefits of napping. Aim for a quick 20-minute nap in the early afternoon if you can swing it. If that's impossible during your work week, try adding a nap to your weekend routine.
2. Go to a yoga class.
Put it in your calendar! Spinning may be great for working off stress, but sometimes you need to slow down and get grounded.
3. Buy yourself flowers.
Seriously! You're always making a quick stop to grab coffee, why not make time for this little pick-me-up? A hint of spring and splash of color can do wonders for your mood, which will help to lessen your stress levels.
4. Connect with a friend or family member.
If you don't have 20 minutes to spend on the phone — or if it isn't a convenient time for the other person to talk — send an email. Take a few minutes to connect with someone who is important to you and let them know that you're thinking of them. You'll both feel good.
5. Write down three things for which you are grateful.
Reminding yourself of the things you're grateful for (especially when life is difficult) can give you a renewed sense of purpose.
6. Listen to a favorite song.
The nice thing about all of our electronic gadgets (which take up so much of our attention) is that you can find a favorite song almost anywhere and it's guaranteed to put you in a good mood.
7. Take a walk.
Get your blood flowing and reconnect with yourself by stepping away from everything for just 10 minutes. You'll feel more relaxed, grounded and even more creative when you return to your work.
8. Zone out.
Pick a spot on the wall or outside and stare at it. Unfocus your eyes a bit if you can. Think of it as informally practicing meditation. It'll rest your brain and allow you to look at your work with fresh eyes when you refocus and get back to work.
9. Sip some herbal tea.
Most of us are way too caffeinated these days. Make a point of sipping a delicious, warming beverage that won't give you the jitters. It's soothing and relaxing.
It's counterintuitive, but taking time to do these exercises will help you to get everything done with more enthusiasm and energy than if you'd simply tried to charge through your to-do list. So the next time you start feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, pick one activity from the list above and give it a try. You'll be glad you did.