When you're feeling the stress of a hectic week, it can be challenging to take time for yourself. You may feel like everything is coming at you too quickly and that there isn't any space for relaxation.
But slowing down doesn't have to mean taking your foot off the gas pedal; it just means finding ways to break up your week with moments of peace and relaxation. It's all about finding balance - a balance between restfulness and productivity, between high-achieving and purposeful work. It's all a give and take and recognizing this balancing act will help you become your best self in all arenas of life. For starters, if you are in need of a slow down, here are ten tips for slowing down and re-centering yourself during a hectic week:
1. Make Time for Yourself Each Day
Even if it's just ten or fifteen minutes, make sure to set aside some time each day to do something calming and relaxing. This could be reading, listening to music, taking a walk, meditating, or anything else that helps you de-stress.
It can be so easy to fall into the trap of "I don't have time to take care of myself during my workweek. I'm too busy!" But in fact, research shows that people who make time for themselves amid a busy schedule experience less stress and greater professional success. There is no job or role in your life that should take away from this - even motherhood! Yes, we did say that. As a mother or parent in general, you taking time for yourself may seem extremely challenging and near impossible but it's absolutely crucial. You are not just a mom, dad, or caretaker. You're not one-dimensional so don't live your life that way. You're a unique and incredibly important individual and if you take care of yourself first, everyone else in your life will benefit from that.
2. Eat Whole Foods
Eating whole foods helps your body function at its best, both physically and emotionally. Make sure you're fueling yourself with food that is full of nutrients and that don't contain chemicals or sugars that may aggravate your mood or energy levels.
This may seem like common sense, but it's easy to let your eating habits slip when you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed. It's too easy to get through a tough day and "reward" yourself with a guilty pleasure. Make a conscious effort to pack your lunch, remove net-negative food from your home, or have well-rounded snacks on hand instead of turning to junk food. This includes avoiding the urge to order take out too. Delete those apps and replace them with recipe apps, meditation apps, or another app that boost your mood.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. If you can get in a good workout each week, you'll feel better physically and emotionally.
You don't have to be an athlete - even a walk around the block or a light jog can make a big difference. And if you don't have time to go to the gym, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home. And trust us when we say, even when your work out and exhaust your body more often, you'll end up finding more stores of natural energy to pull from - the body is a beautiful thing!
4. Take Breaks Throughout the Day
When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to step away from your desk and re-focus. Make sure to get up from your desk every once in a while, walk around, and stretch out.
Using time blocks throughout the day to focus on specific tasks can be especially helpful if you're feeling overwhelmed with a big project. Just make sure that you're not zoning out during these time blocks - give yourself entirely to the task at hand!
When your time block is up, take a break to re-energize.
5. Talk to Someone You Trust
Talking through what's going on in your life is important. In good time and bag! Talking about your stressors can help you feel like you're not alone and that there's someone who cares about what you're going through. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or another support system can be incredibly helpful.
If you don't have someone close, journaling can also be a great way to vent your feelings and get them out of your system.
6. Limit Your Screen Time
It can be tough to relax when you're spending a lot of time in front of screens (computers, phones, TVs). Try to limit your screen time as much as possible and find other activities you enjoy.
This is especially important before bed since the blue light from screens can make it hard to get quality sleep.
7. Do Something For You
Taking time to do something special just for yourself is a great way to slow down and focus on yourself. It can be as simple as spending some time reading, getting a massage, taking your motorcycle out for a long ride, building something in the shop or drawing yourself a much needed bath.
Doing this once or twice a month can make a big difference in your stress levels.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Struggling to sleep can be incredibly stressful and can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you're getting enough sleep each night (at least seven or eight hours) to feel your best.
It's hard to focus when you don't get enough sleep, and you're more likely to feel stressed out.
9. Practice Yoga or Meditation
Both yoga and meditation can be great ways to slow down and focus on your breath. If you don't have time for an entire yoga class, try doing some simple stretches or sitting in silence for a few minutes.
Yoga has become especially popular in recent years, and there are plenty of great resources online if you want to start practicing.
10. Disconnect From the World
Disconnecting from the world can be a great way to relax and focus on yourself. This could mean unplugging from electronics for an hour or two each day, spending time outdoors, or simply disconnecting from the internet. Enjoy your favorite cup of decaf coffee, curl up with a good book, or take some time to clear your mind.
Slowing down your week doesn't have to be complicated; it just takes a little planning. Take some time each day for yourself, and try to create small moments throughout the week that allow you to slow down and take care of yourself. These tips should help you create a less hectic workweek and feel more relaxed and in control.
A great cup of decaf coffee, a good book, and some time outdoors can all work wonders when it comes to slowing down during a hectic week. When you take things one step at a time, you'll be less likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.