Brought to you by AENO:
Look around. There’s no doubt that we’re living in quite stressful and strenuous times, right?. While it’s easy to blame the current dire situation on the ongoing pandemic, the onset of COVID-19 just aggravated an already deteriorating and rapidly worsening state of affairs.
We were already at a tipping point and this global catastrophe only served to accelerate the collapse and meltdown that we’re now experiencing. In the middle of this melee are overworked and underpaid employees, some of whom have to work several jobs concurrently just to eke out a living.
Unfortunately, we’re not designed to endure such lengthy periods of chronic nervousness, mental pressure, and anxiety. The human body has a fine threshold within which it can optimally function, and stress throws the whole system out of balance. Which, of course, explains why prolonged worry and tensity has been linked to all manner of life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, clinical depression, and hypertension.
Following are a few ways you can stay in tip-top shape even if everything else is coming down.
1. Use Meditation and Concentration Techniques
The ability of meditation to lessen stress and combat depression cannot be overstated, really. Among many other things, meditation helps you:
- Build a high tolerance and resilience for mental pressure and stress. In other words, it fortifies your mental strength making it easier for you to overcome even harder challenges in the future.
- Create your own little island of peace and tranquility that you can momentarily retreat to whenever stress threatens to overwhelm you.
- Forge a quick-release safety valve for relieving tension when things threaten to boil over and interfere with the state of your emotional well-being.
What’s even better, meditation can be personalized to be a unique way of calming yourself down enough to eat properly, sleep, or exercise even when in the middle of a crisis. Other closely-related concentration techniques such as taking a deep breath and clearing your mind for a minute or two have been shown to be extremely helpful stress relievers.
2. Focus on Something New
You’d be surprised to know how powerful the mind is, especially when it comes to dictating the state of your mental healthiness. Something as seemingly simple as taking a break from your desk and working on a completely unrelated or mundane task, such as lawn-mowing, can work magic in relieving that otherwise bubbling mental pressure.
It’s an age-old trick that is used by captains of industry, technocrats, presidents, elite athletes, and business leaders to stay on top of things and not buckle under pressure. So, the next time you’re feeling that nothing is working out and the sky is about to rip open, just take a breather and do something entirely unrelated for a couple of minutes and see the difference.
3. Take Care of your Skin and your Body
Nothing fights stress and anxiety better than having a healthy amount of self-esteem. This level of self-confidence stems from looking and feeling good about yourself, enough to counter any negativity that may be lurking around in the depths of your mindset. It’s what keeps people going even in their darkest and most trying times.
Taking deliberate steps to look good will, of course, involve crafting a functional fitness and skincare regimen that is tailored to bring out the best in you. In this regard, start small and work incrementally to refine a new self-development and self-care project. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
Something as simple and low-cost as booking a weekly facial or therapeutic massage session may sound a bit cliche but the kind of dividends that you’re likely to reap out of it will be nothing short of outstanding. The same applies to adopting new eating habits that promote the health of your skin and overall mental wellbeing.
4. Start Writing Down Your Thoughts on Paper
Journaling and documenting your thoughts is an interesting way to keep things in perspective. It’s almost as if the world becomes clearer and our problems magically disappear when we put pen to paper and pour out our heartfelt feelings and thoughts.
You see, one of the biggest reasons we’re living in pretty tense times is that we’re constantly agonizing about what other people think of us, our job, or the car that we drive. We’re so concerned about the image that we project to other people to the point where we now have to bottle our real feelings and emotions to avoid being judged the wrong way.
But having a private journal where you can be yourself and express your deepest fears, worries, and uneasiness can do wonders for your mental health. It’s a highly-effective yet severely underestimated tool for channeling your frustrations without having to worry about damage control later. Simply put, it can help you;
- Cope with depression: It gives you a chance to have a positive pep-talk with yourself and banish any negative vibes that are creeping up on you.
- Manage stress: Journaling is an efficient way of tracking your mood from day to day to the point where you can easily identify your anxiety triggers and learn better ways to avoid them.
- Eases anxiety: By regularly writing down your thoughts, you’re envisioning your concerns, problems, and fears in such a manner that you still have a clear perspective of what should rattle you and what shouldn’t. In short, it’s a good way to make sure that you are not just sweating the small stuff.
5. Take a Walk Every Day
The hectic schedules that characterize the modern workplace could mean that you barely have enough time for yourself, let alone a couple of minutes to go for a therapeutic walk every other day.
Yes, we all have deadlines to beat, targets to meet, clients to appease, and bosses to please. Still, you cannot understate the importance of taking a short walk (for half an hour or so) just to clear your mind and blow off some steam. Besides, a nature walk gives you a fresh frame of reference instead of the pigeon-hole outlook that you have when you’re seated at your desk.
What’s even better, that short but restorative daily walk allows you a moment or two to converse with yourself without worrying about what others may think about it. It’s more or less a private session where you get to mull over things and appreciate that whatever could be bothering you at the moment is quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
6. Do Little Exercises
Exerting yourself physically – even if it’s just for short periods at a time – releases a host of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters known as endorphins. It’s almost akin to giving yourself a jab of a stress-boosting medicine. This shot of positivity, peace, and calmness is just what you need to see the day through, especially if you work in a highly stressful and demanding environment.
Besides being a well-timed stress reliever, exercise distracts your mind for a minute or two, just enough to ward off anxiety and bouts of mild depression that are starting to crop up. Consequently, this translates to a whole array of positive effects in your physical well-being, such a well-functioning digestive, cardiovascular, and immune system, something that counters and neutralizes whatever ill effects your job could be impacting in your life.
Apart from shedding off your job’s tensions through physical activity and movement, daily exercise improves your sleeping cycle, which is typically disrupted by depression, stress, or work-related anxiety. The effect that a well-rested mind will have on your productivity the next time you sit down to work will simply blow you away.
7. Take a Break Outside the Office
There is a reason we feel so pumped-up and enthusiastic whenever we come back to work after a short vacation or holiday. The human psyche is, unfortunately, not built to withstand long monotonous spells of doing the same thing over and over again, especially not in the same environment.
Do you remember the short and well-timed breaks that we had back in school between lectures and classes? Have you ever wondered why your productivity and general mood take a beating towards the tail-end of a long and arduous day?
While it may not be feasible or practical to go on a vacation every other day, you can recreate the curing and healing effects of a holiday by just taking a 15-minute break away from your desk after every hour of continuous concentration. This breaks the mundane and humdrum nature that characterizes the struggle of trying to earn a paycheck, beating deadlines, or meeting targets, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.
To some people, this could mean a world of a difference between maintaining professional sanity and imploding under work-related pressure. So the next time you find yourself so overwhelmed and swamped by your work, take a breather for a couple of minutes. You may just find out that it’s never that serious at the end of the day.
Work is important, there is no debate about that. Having a job gives you an opportunity to showcase your talent, create value, and enhance your skills – all of this while making money to meet your daily necessities and fund a few luxuries.
However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that your mental and physical health is just as equally (if not more) important as your job. It wouldn’t do you any good to make a ton of money only to later spend it trying to treat lifestyle diseases that you picked up in pursuit of material possessions or career progress.