Fall can be a busy time for many people – school is back in session, lots of activities, holidays, and maybe rushing to finish projects at work by the end of the year. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, slowing down may help you keep up to speed. Practices that help you manage stress and reduce the amount of time that your body experiences the “fight or flight” reflex can also help you to focus on your tasks. Adding a mindfulness or relaxation practice to your routine doesn’t have to take a lot of time, either. Spending a few minutes every day or 15 minutes once or twice a week can be very beneficial. Simple options to add calm in your day might include one of these activities:
- Sit quietly and listen to a favorite piece of music
- Spend a few minutes observing your breath
- Whenever the phone rings, take a deep breath before answering
- Take 5 or 10 minutes at lunch time to be outside, sitting quietly or walking slowly
Another way to relax is with restorative yoga. This type of yoga uses blankets and other props to support the body. This allows muscles to release and let you hold the pose long enough to experience a deeper relaxation. Check out the book Relax and Renew by Judith Hanson Lasater. She advises, “Stress proof your life by making plans to relax.”
For more information on stress, see the Mayo Clinic’s page on stress basics.