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