We all need a little down time during the course of our busy working lives – even if it’s just for five minutes. The problem is that most of us just don’t do this because we don’t have to at any given time. So what we do is procrastinate continually. One of the most common promises we make to ourselves is the one that we’re going to “learn to relax”. But when is this going to happen exactly; the twelfth of never?
So instead of putting it on the back burner – a great way to make yourself relax is to take five – at regular intervals – five times per day. And unless there’s a really urgent reason not to – you have to promise yourself that you will adhere to the five times five schedule. If you do this, I promise you, you will be more relaxed and re-energised.
1) Take a five minute break to rediscover your childish self. Kids could teach us a lot about the benefits of play. As adults, we often seem to lose the ability to play, but by playing a game that demands all our intention for just a few minutes, to the exclusion of all else, can really give us a mental pick-me-up. It doesn’t have to be a physical thing. We all have the ability to be online all day these days, but it doesn’t all have to be about work. This is where you can take five too, playing a quick game of something like a word puzzle or, better yet, something that doesn’t demand any concentration. You can play free bingo online anytime. There are new bingo sites and existing ones, which continually update their games to keep them interesting. Simply register with an online bingo site for free and you’ll soon see what we mean; it’s an amazing aid to relaxation. Listening to the numbers being called out and watching the software marking off your numbers can be almost hypnotic. Of course, if you’re about to win, it’s not quite as relaxing, but it does get pretty exciting!
2) The tea/coffee break; we all take these though the course of the day, but they’re usually incidental to what we’re doing. In other words – we keep on working. But the tea/coffee break can be a great ‘reminder’ of the need to take five. Simply go somewhere quiet if you can each time you have a drink, close your eyes and think of nothing else but the process of the act of drinking. The tea/coffee break is meditation by any other name – as is the bingo game. But of course, you don’t need either of these things. Instead – simply find somewhere quiet; close your eyes for five minutes and concentrate solely on your breathing. If you’re having a stressful day, this can be a really great way to clear your head and refresh.
3) Go for a walk. Sometimes a change of scene is all you need for a five minute break. Instead of staying at your desk, leave the building and take five minutes to walk. Whether it’s around the block or to a local park and back, a quick breath of fresh air and a bit of exercise will clear the cobwebs and leave you feeling energised.
4) Take five in the car. The next time you’re in a traffic jam and going nowhere fast – instead of getting anxious because you’re running later or whatever – try to use the time for what it really is; a period of enforced do-nothingness. In this way, you can actually enjoy just sitting there, taking in the quiet inside your vehicle while the rest of the world gets stressed. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway – so accept it, and then use it for a little down time.
5) Finally – how about a facial self-massage for five minutes? This can be a wonderful way of calming yourself and zoning out. Concentrate only on the massage technique, somewhere quiet and preferably dark if you can.