PICK-ME-UPS

Need a mind and/or body boost? These hacks have you cov­ered

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - COVER STORY -

POWER NAP

This is su­per top­i­cal. Tak­ing a nap is a fantastic, nat­u­ral per­for­manceen­hancer that you can do post-lunch. It’s a great way of boost­ing en­ergy and con­cen­tra­tion; much bet­ter than a cof­fee or a choco­late bar. Maybe you have a nap­ping room at work? Any quiet space will do. Any­where be­tween 10 and 20 min­utes, ide­ally be­tween mid­day and 3pm. Ex­per­i­ment with the length to find the right time for you to re­duce the sleep in­er­tia ef­fect.

GM

BREATHE THROUGH YOUR NOSE

Take a mo­ment when you’re feel­ing stressed to in­hale for four counts through the nose, then ex­hale for eight counts through the nose. This will calm your ner­vous sys­tem. When you’re hav­ing a “fight or flight” re­ac­tion, breath­ing is the first thing that’s af­fected. Stress causes our breath to be­come very shal­low, which means we’re not oxy­genat­ing our sys­tem very well. A sim­ple in­hale and ex­hale grounds you and calms you.

JL

HAVE A SLEEP DATE NIGHT

Most of us deprive our­selves of sleep dur­ing the week and catch up at the week­end. But a big lie-in makes us feel worse; it gives us jet lag. If you usu­ally get up at 7am and lie in on Saturday un­til mid­day, you’re now on New York time. In­stead, aim to have a mid­week catch-up night. Make a thing of it.

Put new sheets on the bed, wind down and get the bi­o­log­i­cal sleep you need: seven to eight hours, plus an ex­tra 30 min­utes.

GM

MED­I­TATE THE STRESS AWAY

Of­ten, stress is locked into the cells of our body, reg­is­ter­ing as var­i­ous sen­sa­tions. I use a five-minute med­i­ta­tion, called the body feel­ing tech­nique, to help re­lease that stress. First, sit com­fort­ably and close your eyes. Now bring your at­ten­tion to a feel­ing or sen­sa­tion in your body – a tight­ness in your chest; a tin­gle on top of your head. After a mo­ment, the feel­ing will shift and you’ll no­tice a dif­fer­ent sen­sa­tion – a twinge in your hip; a feel­ing of light­ness in your stom­ach. Let your at­ten­tion fol­low. Again, the sen­sa­tion will move, so keep fol­low­ing the feel­ings around your body. After a while, you’ll find your­self think­ing other thoughts, as though day­dream­ing. Now you can open your eyes.

JL

GO ON A SLEEP HOL­I­DAY

Book two weeks off and go some­where sunny, but don’t plan any­thing. In­stead, go to bed when you’re tired and al­low your body to sleep as much as it needs. Within a week or so, your body will fit into its nat­u­ral sleep-wake cy­cle. How­ever, make sure you’re not some­where with a huge time zone dif­fer­ence, as this will dis­rupt your rhythm. GM

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