You’re at work with piles of unattended files on your table, your inbox is loaded with several emails marked urgent, that PPT you’re supposed to submit by EOD isn’t ready yet, your client just called you to get an update on the project you totally forgot about, and your mom has sent about 15 messages to ask what you want for dinner. It would be an understatement to say that you’d be overwhelmed with all this happening around you and would want a long break from everything.
However, instead of taking a full–fledged break, which may or may not recharge you and affect your work, why not take a small one? Yes, you can take mini-vacations for your brain to do a quick reboot and get back to the task at hand with more vigor. To help you get through a tough day, without draining your mind battery, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to pace yourself.
Sip Up Your Green Tea
A chai-break is always a good one. But instead of the sugar-laden one, opt for green tea. It provides the benefits of L-Theanine, a chemical that is known to reduce body stress . In addition, staring at the earthy green color of this herbal tonic might help you calm down, thanks to color psychology .
Chilling With Chocolates
Just take a bite from a dark chocolate bar when you need a quick break. It can boost your brain health and reduce stress. Need more convincing? Dark chocolate is lower in sugar than milk chocolate, making it a healthy alternative .
Disconnect From Time To Time
Step away from the situation that’s stressing you for some time. Turn off the internet on your phone and laptop and replace your screen time with another activity offline (a short one if you are busy). Give yourself the time and space to calm down and process the dilemma. This will help you approach the situation with a fresh perspective.
Break The Monotony
If something is disturbing you mentally, distract yourself. Do something creative or something that soothes your mind so that you’re out of your thought rut. You could even alter your routine a bit, or change the way you do things. This will bring some excitement and distract you from your negative thoughts. If you’re not keen on drastically changing your timetable, you could try something simple like using your left hand to brush your teeth or sipping water that is infused with fruits.
Walk It Off
Taking a walk when your mind’s all over the place can help you calm down as walking leads to the release of endorphins – the happy chemical. Even a 10-minute walk inside the house can help you clear your thoughts, lighten your mood and boost your energy levels .
When you’re having overwhelming thoughts, try pampering yourself. While a long bath or a hairstyle may not be possible, you could try quick fixes like applying lipstick or a sheet mask, ordering your favorite dessert or enjoying a cup of gourmet coffee. Men, you too can soak in a warm bath, groom yourself, or try a relaxing body massage. Maybe watch the game or catch up with the guys for a drink. Or, perhaps, just laze around and let your body rest. It’ll help you take your mind off things and make you feel good about yourself.
When things around you turn too much for you to handle, just plug in your earphones and listen to a few songs. Music is known to have a profound effect on our emotions. Upbeat music can make you feel more alert and can help you concentrate better. Upbeat music can bring in the positive vibes. Slow and calming music can quiet your mind, relax your muscles, and make you feel soothed .
Take a Mental Vacation
Yes, we mean a mental vacation quite literally – one that’s in your mind. This practice of imagining yourself in a different environment, such as at a beach or mountain side is actually used as a relaxation technique and is known as guided imagery (6). It’s one of the best ways to be calm on a hectic day. As you picture the scenery in your mind, try to focus on small details, imaging the sound of the birds or the waves and the fragrance of flowers and sea breeze. If you have a hard time doing this on your own, you can even use audio recordings or apps in which a voice guides you through the scene, helping you to create a mental picture.
When you’re bogged down at work and just want to find some way on how to be calm on a busy day, going out and partying with friends may not be an option. However, you don’t need to spend hours socializing to reap the benefits of social contact. Simply getting on a call to chat for a few minutes with loved ones or getting a hug can lower stress levels almost instantly, giving you that much needed mind-cation. This is probably one of the simplest and most effective ways to be calm on a busy day. If you still have doubts, you can take comfort in the fact that studies show that simply hugging someone triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel happy (7).
Smell The Flowers
Ever heard of the phrase, stop and smell the roses? That’s a lesson on how to be calm on a hectic day. It’s about reminding ourselves to pause and take a break from our productivity obsessed routines to look around and appreciate the world around us. However, in this case, we mean that you should literally stop and smell the flowers! Since you probably don’t have flowering plants sitting on your work desk or around you, aromatherapy candles and essential oils would suffice. Aromatherapy with scents like lavender, rose, chamomile, or geranium can be highly relaxing and invigorating.
Notes To Self
Having a long conversation with a close friend is often the best solution, but also time-consuming. Hence, try a short conversation with your other best friend – you! Leave handwritten or digital notes for yourself when you feel stressed. A small pep talk will work wonders.