Work and rest are partners

The better you get at resting, the more energy and creativity you bring to your work.

Proper rest is not just a passive rest. Real rest that leaves you energized and inspired involves three essential elements:

  1. Relaxing your mind
  2. Relaxing your body
  3. Relaxing your expectations.

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How to relax after a stressful workday: The 3 types of rest you need

blog.rescuetime.com

If you have ever gotten in bed but your mind race with all the unfinished tasks, to-dos, and scenarios you replay in your mind, then you will know the importance of relaxing your mind.

To relax your mind, close any open loops and follow a 'shut down' routine.

  • Open loops are all the tasks that you deem so important that you want to hold on to them.
  • Anticipatory stress. Another is the feeling that you constantly need to be on stand-by, such as responding to messages.

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A master list can help you relax your mind. A master list is a document where you write down every task, email, to-do, and idea. For each item, write down a concrete next step, set a deadline, and categorise them as either working on now, waiting for someone else, or another time.

To truly relax your mind:

  • Record your progress in hours worked and tasks completed.
  • Glance at the day or week ahead to ensure there isn't anything you're forgetting about.
  • Acknowledge the day is over.

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Use deep breathing exercises to relax your body:

  • Sit somewhere comfortable with a straight back
  • Close your eyes and begin breathing through your nose
  • Breathe in for a count of two.
  • Hold your breath for a count of one
  • Breathe out through your mouth for a count of four. The key is to exhale longer than you inhale.
  • Hold your breath for one second and then repeat.

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This popular technique systematically relaxes your muscle groups one at a time.

  • Lie down and stretch out.
  • Breathe in and tense the first muscle group, for example, your hands. Tense hard, but not to the point of pain. Hold for 4-10 seconds.
  • Exhale and relax the muscle group all at once.
  • Relax for 10-20 seconds.
  • Move on to the next muscle group. Work through your whole body in this way.
  • When you're done, count backwards from 5 to bring your focus back to the present.

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Eye strain is a common symptom of too much time on a screen. It can lead to headaches, tense shoulders and back, and potentially blurred vision.

A simple exercise to help with eye-strain: After every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

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Meditation practices can help you relax and focus your energy on your body and breath.

A walk outside can calm your mind and body and help you further into a state of relaxation.

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  • Have a conversation with your boss on expectations and boundaries. Be open about when you're available and when not.
  • Keep your phone in another room to resist the urge to check it.
  • Remove work apps from your phone or home devise to create a distinction between phone (personal) and computer (work time.)
  • Change your email signature that states how long you usually take to respond.
  • Use if/then statements to reduce the need to keep working. (If I get an email notification at 5 pm, then I will ....)

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