Do you ever fell stressed, exhausted and full of tension? There are many factors that can contribute to stress, our work, our home, finances, etc. One thing is for sure, being stressed is bad for our health. Actually stress can be a killer. Chronic stress for example, is linked to six leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide, according to the American Psychological Association.
It is important to take action to manage stress to ensure your body is functioning as it should and for your overall health and well-being. Here are 20 really simple ways to help you to relax and de-stress. The following tips can also help relieve anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Read the following tips with an open mind and try to incorporate as many of them as possible into your daily routine.
With one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, take a big deep breath in through your nose filling up your diaphragm and then slowly exhale the air out through your mouth. Try to clear your head of any thoughts and and just try to focus on your breathing. Try to do six to ten deep breaths a minute for five to ten minutes. Taking slow deep breaths are a great way of lowering your heart rate, your blood pressure and help you to feel more relaxed.
Find a comfortable place in your home, this can be a chair, the couch or simply sitting on a comfortable cushion. You can play some relaxing music in the background if you wish. Begin your meditation by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine any tension moving down from your head, past your chest, down your legs and out through your feet as you breath and relax. Try to focus on the present moment and let any thoughts go that come into your head. Rather than focusing on clearing your head of any thoughts, focus on just ‘being’. It takes a little practice to let thoughts come and go, but over time it will become easier. A simple five minute meditation can have you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Use a Journal
I am a big fan of using a journal every day. Start off by writing down three things that your are grateful for. These could be anything from the home you live in, your family, your health, your job, having food on the table, your positive attitude. The list is yours, there are no rules here. Just get into the positive daily habit or recording three things that you are grateful for. Next, write down in your journal your short and long term goals. Finally, write down in your journal anything that might be troubling you. Get into the habit of getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper.
Listen To Music
Do you have a favorite song playlist? Well, put up the volume and listen to the songs that make you want to sing, dance and forget about anything that might be bothering or stressing you. Music has the power to relax, inspire and make us feel happy. I find that listening to some music for just a few minutes is a great way to lift my spirit and have me feeling great. Try it!
We all know that exercise is not only good for improving us physically but there are mental benefits too. The feel good chemicals that are released by the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine will help to lift your mood. A brisk walk or run are great ways to get the heart pumping and your muscles working. After just a few minutes of exercise you should feel any stress drift away. I like to go for a fast walk, listen to my favorite music and soak up the scenery around me to help me totally relax.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Drink Green Tea
There are many health benefits of drinking green tea. If you want an energy boost and a healthy pick me up without any after slump, green tea is the answer. Green tea contains l-theanine which offers many brain benefits, it is widely appreciated for its ability to bring about a state of focused relaxation and calm attentiveness. Some people like to drink green tea in the evening to help them relax and sleep better.
Call a Friend
We all have that close friend that instantly makes us feel better when we speak with them. If something is bothering you, a good idea is to share what is on your mind with a good friend. A good chat with a friend is always a great way to put a smile on our face and give us a much welcomed mood boost.
Take a Nap
Sometimes the best way to unwind and relax is simply to lay down in bed and have a quick nap. As you drift away to sleep, imagine all of your worries drifting away also. After you have your nap you should be feeling fresh and relaxed again.
Try to get into the positive morning habit of stretching all of your muscles. Begin by stretching all of the large muscle groups such as your legs, chest and back, then gently stretch your shoulders, arms and neck muscles. A few light stretches are a great way to release any tension and stiffness from your muscles.
By simply inhaling some lemon, lavender or jasmine will instantly help you to feel calmer, think more clearly and relieve any tension. Lighting a scented candle in your home is an easy way to clear the air and have you feeling better in no time.
A good laugh is a great cure for when you might be feeling stressed or under the weather. Did you know that there is actually scientific evidence to back this up. Laughter actually enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and also increases endorphins that are released by your brain. Having a good laugh can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Watch a movie that always makes you laugh out loud or meet your friends that always put a smile on your face.
Get yourself into a comfortable position on the couch or a chair. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and recall a time when you were in a relaxed, tranquil environment. With your eyes closed, bring back the scene as vividly as possible (feel free to embellish the scene with more color and light. The memory is just a point of reference from where to begin.) Imagine the sounds, the sensations – perhaps a light breeze, or the warm feeling of the sun at the beach. Imagine all your senses immersed in the peace of the moment, relaxing in tranquility and harmony. When you feel complete, think about the rest of your day unfolding in total peace in harmony. Slowly open your eyes and notice how relaxed and wonderful you feel.
A wonderful way to relax and unwind is just by simply sitting outside (weather permitting of course). Feel the sun against your face, the wind in your hair and listen to the birds singing in the distance. This break outdoors from your typical surroundings is a great way to chill out and feel great again. Sometimes when I go for a walk in the local park, I will take a few minutes and sit on a bench and take everything in around me. The sights, the sounds, the fresh air always help me relax and de-stress.
Another great way to relax and de-stress to to read. This could be some motivational quotes, your favorite self help book or a great novel. The choice is yours. Occasionally, I like to pick a book that I haven’t read in a long time and start reading it again. A great book is a great book, no matter how many times you read it.
Switch Off Your Phone
Our phones can be a constant source of distraction. Emails, messages, phone calls, notifications, news feeds, sports scores etc etc. Try to get into the healthy habit of not using your phone or having it beside you 24/7. Better still, get into the productive habit of either not using it for the first hour of the day or switching it off in the evening an hour before you go to bed.
Clean The House
Some people find that cleaning can be very therapeutic. I like washing the dishes for example. I don’t know why, but I just seem to feel more relaxed as I wash the plates and cups. Some people enjoy vacuuming, while others like to iron clothes. Giving your home a regular spring clean can be a great way to freshen up where you live and tidy up all of your ‘stuff’ which can be contributing to your stress.
Have A Cup Of Coffee
Millions of people make coffee their morning beverage of choice to help kick start each day. There are many health benefits of drinking coffee. The chlorogenic, ferulic and caffeic acid contained in coffee can help reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brain of people with depression. Also, the caffeine in coffee causes an increase in your brain’s production of dopamine, leading to an increased feeling of well-being and a more positive mood. The next time that you are feeling stressed, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy all of its benefits.
Take A Shower
Having a nice hot shower is a great way to wash away any tension from your body after a stressful day. The warm water has a wonderful calming effect on the mind and soul. Having a nice hot shower to help your muscles relax followed by a cool splash of cold water is another great way to feel invigorated and energized. For an extra bonus, try singing your favorite song while you are having a shower for some extra feel good therapy.
Use a Singing Bowl
I use a singing bowl every morning for a just few minutes as a part of my morning routine. The sound of the singing bowl followed by the gentle vibration that it makes have a wonderful calming and meditative effect. Using a singing bowl is also a great way to aid your immune system and also improve your blood circulation. I also find that using a singing bowl helps me to relax, de-stress and re-focus.
Enjoy Your Time Alone
Sometimes all we need to do to help to relax and clear or mind is to simply switch off our phones, disconnect from the computer and spend some quality time alone with our thoughts. Get into the habit of liking who you are and enjoying your own company.
I hope that you find some of the suggestions above useful. I find a mixture of the above tips help me in different times. The important thing to remember here is to find what works best for you that will help you to relax and de-stress and do it.
How Neurobics Can improve Your Memory
When you are trying to improve your overall well-being, it is just as important to focus on your mental fitness as well as your physical fitness. Most people have heard of aerobics. Aerobic exercise is a great way to boost your heart rate and burn a few extra calories while improving your heart health. But, have you ever heard of Neurobics? Neurobics is the science behind brain exercise.
Yes, you can exercise your mind and keep it just as fit as your body. But, it is not like your brain is going to do any jumping jacks or jogging any time soon, right? So, what can you do to keep it fit, and how does exercising your brain actually improve your memory?
Let’s dive a little deeper into how Neurobics actually works, and a few exercises you can try to boost your memory and overall brain health.
What Is Neurobics?
When you break Neurobics down, it stands for neurons + aerobics. Neurobic exercises increase the level of oxygen in your brain and “breathe life” into the neurons.
When those neurons are stronger and more stimulated, it improves your brain health – especially your memory. A good way to visualize how Neurobics actually helps is by picturing a piece of glass being blown into a decorative item. The glass maker has to stretch the piece when it is warm and malleable. But, once it is stretched out, it doesn’t spring back to where was before. It stays permanently in place.
Neurobics work the same way. By taking part in an activity or experience that taxes your brain, you are “stretching” the neurons. Once they are stretched, they don’t return to the shape that they were in before.
That is the point of Neurobics – to challenge your mind in different ways so that it gets stronger. If you are working out your body, doing the exact same exercise the same way each day, it would eventually cause your results to plateau. You have to switch things up to “confuse” your muscles and get them stronger. Working out your brain is just the same. With that in mind, let’s cover a few easy Neurobics exercises that you can start doing right away.
Change Your Habits
One of the easiest (and yet, most challenging) ways to get started with Neurobics is to step out of your daily comfort zone. Some habits can already be detrimental to your memory, and cutting them out of your life will make a difference.
When you stop old habits, you are actually using Neurobics to challenge your brain into different thinking patterns. Some ideas to consider include:
- Giving up (or at least cutting down) on television
- Quitting smoking/drinking alcohol
- Changing your eating habits
- Exercising more
When you stop doing some of the things that you have grown comfortable with, you require your brain to stretch, adapt and change. As a result, you will start thinking clearer, become more focused, and remember more things.
Do Something Different
Some Neurobic exercises are things that you can do in just a few minutes each day – the equivalent of doing 50 jumping jacks in a five-minute work break. Things like solving a crossword puzzle, writing in a journal or giving yourself a High Five in a mirror can all fire up the neurons in your brain. Even yoga and/or meditation can force you to push away the “cluttered” thoughts that are in your head and require you to focus on one particular thing.
The places you go and the experiences that you jump into can be considered as Neurobic activities. Anything that challenges your mind and causes you to think differently about something is a great way to stretch your brain.
These could include going to a museum, a zoo, a musical performance, or even different cultural festivals. Allowing yourself to be open to new ideas and experiences is one of the best ways to exercise your brain and improve your memory.
Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do.”
While one of the biggest benefits of Neurobics is improved memory, it is certainly not the only “perk” to this type of mental exercising. Neurobics can also help you to face your fears, live without regrets, and experience a fuller, more meaningful life.
They can give you the courage to take more chances and experience the rewards. They can turn you into a better leader. Most importantly, Neurobics can inspire you by changing the way you see the world around you.
If you are already passionate about your physical health, it could be time to start thinking about your mental fitness, too! Whether you want to improve your memory as you get older or just want to keep your mind as sharp as possible now, trying Neurobics is a great way to “stay in great mental shape”.
Use some of the exercises listed here to get started. You might be surprised by just how quickly your focus and memory will start to improve.
8 Great Ways To Reward Your Employees
Employee engagement is more than a current trend – it is something that more businesses across the globe are starting to value for plenty of good reasons. When employees feel happy and appreciated, they are more likely to be productive and loyal to your company.
While basic benefits packages are still important, it is now more important than ever to go above and beyond for the people working for you. Not only can great rewards help you to hire the best talent, but they will also make your business environment a positive one where people will actually enjoy coming to work and do their best.
The great part about rewarding your employees is that you can let your creativity shine. Think about practical, functional rewards that your employees will actually use and appreciate. Then, don’t be afraid to have some fun with your ideas.
Feeling stuck? Not sure where to get started? Let’s cover some great ways to reward your employees.
1. Make Your Gratitude Public
Sometimes, the simplest gestures can make the biggest difference. If you really want your employees to feel good, make sure everyone knows how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication.
So, thank them publicly. The next time you have a company meeting or public event, carve out some time to thank people individually. Giving them a few moments of attention in a public setting is a great way to show them how much that you appreciate them. After all, who doesn’t like to be complimented?
2. Give Time Off
A reward doesn’t have to be something tangible to be valuable. If your employees have been working hard, reward them with some extra time off. It could be a long weekend, a surprise vacation, or even just an afternoon off on a random Tuesday.
If you do decide to reward them with some free time, make sure you let them know how much you appreciate the work that they have been doing. That appreciation, along with getting a break from work, can help them to feel more motivated and productive when they return.
3. The Little Things Count
You don’t need to go overboard with flashy, expensive rewards. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most. Plus, you will be able to give them more frequently.
Hand out things like gift cards to local coffee shops or movie theaters, or give them something practical like a travel mug or ergonomic desk chair. Small gestures can really mean a lot and your employees will remember and appreciate the gesture.
4. Build Community Through Food
Everyone has to eat, but not everyone likes spending money on their lunch or bringing a regular sandwich from home.
One of the easiest ways to reward your employees is to have lunch catered in as often as possible. Not only does it show them how much you appreciate their work, but when everyone eats lunch together, it will build a more positive work environment. Your business benefits all around.
You can take things one step further by making your catered lunches a scheduled event, whether you do it once a week, once a month, etc. It gives people something to look forward to and serves as a constant reminder of your appreciation.
5. Subscription Services
Subscription services have become more popular than ever in recent years. They really grew during the pandemic, when most people started spending more time at home.
Consider signing your employees up for a subscription service you think they would enjoy. Perhaps give them a list of magazines that they can choose from and give them a years subscription for a job well done.
6. Schedule Company-wide Activities
Host company parties, picnics, and other fun events as often as possible. Everyone deserves to have fun after working hard, and it is another great opportunity for your employees to get closer, a build a better bond. Company activities can also help to prevent burnout in the workplace.
Make sure to include certain events that can include employees’ family members so everyone can join in the fun and your workers don’t have to be away from their loved ones. Family picnics, movie nights, bowling tournaments, or even a catered dinner are all great ways to make sure everyone is involved.
7. Extra Responsibility
While more responsibilities might not seem like a “reward” at first, it is how you present it to an employee that makes a difference.
When you sit down to talk to an employee about increasing their responsibilities, make sure they know why. Talk about how much you trust them and their ability to make decisions on their own. Let them know their value as a part of the company, and you take their career goals as seriously as they do.
8. Give Them A High Five
Giving someone a high five should not be confined just to sports. You have probably seen the viral videos of a teacher giving their students a high five as they enter the classroom. You can feel the positivity, genuine excitement and the wonderful energy from these videos. Research has shown that the biggest difference in whether or not someone will enjoy their job and be more productive, is not the amount of vacation time or their salary package. It is when someone has a manager who cares, appreciates and trusts them and makes them feel that they matter. The next time someone hits a target, makes a sale or gives great customer service why not give them a well deserved high five and see how it makes them feel.
While your employees might not regularly expect rewards, that is half the fun of giving them. Boosting morale, no matter how big or small your business might be, will make a big difference in how productive your workers are. It will shape the environment of your entire company, and the best part? It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to reward people for a job well done. Get creative, get personal, and find unique ways to show your employees how much you appreciate them.
Are You Working For A Tyrant Boss? (And what you can do about it)
Multiple studies have indicated that a large percentage of people are unhappy with their jobs. Research carried out by Microsoft in 2021, showed that 41% of the workforce are considering leaving their employer. Sometimes, this dissatisfaction comes from working long hours. Other times, it is about not making enough money.
On occasion, however, the source of unhappiness is the person that you work for. Working for a tyrant boss is draining and stressful. It can have a negative impact on nearly every area of your life, because the stress that it causes makes it hard to “let go” of your workday even when you are at home.
So, how do you know if you are working for a tyrant boss? And if you are, what can you do about it?
A Boss That Is Never Wrong
You have heard of the phrase “the customer is always right,” but do you work for someone who never seems to think that you are ever right?
A tyrant in the workplace is often a dictator. This means that they don’t listen to anyone else’s opinion or ideas, and if they do, they are instantly shut down. A tyrant boss can “never be wrong,” and they have the final authority on everything.
Unfortunately, they are often the ones who will suffer in the end. No one is perfect, no matter how much your boss thinks that they are. If they do not take other people’s input into consideration, they are going to burn out and end up making poor choices, which will impact the business in the long run.
Help people reach their full potential, catch them doing something right. ― Ken Blanchard
They Expect Carbon Copies Of Themselves
Does your boss seem to gravitate toward employees who are just like them?
Narcissistic people tend to be kinder to those who have the same characteristics. The problem with that? It takes a diverse group of people with different skill sets to make a great team.
If your boss favors people just like them and expects everyone to conform to certain unreasonable expectations, you should see this as a huge red flag.
Additionally, pay attention to how your boss’ personality changes around certain people. If they tend to play favorites, it might be another sign that they are running a tyrannical operation. Everyone in a business should be treated equally. Favoritism doesn’t belong in a professional setting.
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success. – Henry Ford
They Don’t Respect Your Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance has become an important topic of conversation over the last year. With more people working remotely, it has been harder for some to strike a healthy balance between their work life and their home life.
While, in many cases, you can find ways to manage this balance, some bosses simply won’t allow it.
For example, does your boss frequently call you on your day off? Do they email you or message you after working hours, or first thing in the morning?
If your boss cannot respect that you have a life and that you deserve some free time, they are running their business like a dictatorship. Good employers know how important it is for their employees to have free time, whether it is for self-care or socialization. When a worker constantly feels like they are “on the clock,” they are more likely to get burnt out quickly, and their performance will suffer.
They Are Master Micro-Managers
Does your boss lurk over you more often than not? Do you find it hard to get anything done in a day because they are micromanaging everything that you do?
Micro-managers want a play-by-play of everything that you are doing throughout the day. They will try to take charge of your projects and overlook everything so you can’t be as productive as you could be.
You can work to diffuse a micro-managing boss by giving them more information than they ask for. Beat them at their own game by giving them detailed information about what you are working on. If they feel like they are not able to be “on top” of you anymore, they will likely give up and let you work in peace.
Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people. – Steve Jobs
They Want All Of The Credit
Typically, when a business sees any kind of success, it is a good sign of a strong, dynamic team. One person cannot hold up an entire company on their own.
But, if your boss tends to take the credit for everything and loves being in the spotlight, it can often feel like your efforts are unnoticed and unappreciated. There are children’s books about people doing all the work and someone else taking all of the credit. Some adults just never seem to learn the “moral of the story”.
What Can You Do About It?
So, what can you do if you are working for a tyrant boss? Aside from resigning, which is sometimes the only option, there are a few ways that you can manage things on a daily basis.
First, try not to let your boss’ behavior affect you. Yes, they can be frustrating. They will get to you, at times. It is important for you to take the high road and be the bigger person. No matter where you work, everything that you do is a reflection of who you are – your personal brand. Don’t give in to your frustrations, and don’t fuel your boss’ attitude by snapping back at them. If you do, chances are, their behaviors will become even more exaggerated.
Your overall well-being should be your top priority. If you don’t see any signs of a changing environment, you don’t need to stay in a toxic workplace. Understand some of these signs, and trust your gut when it comes to how you should respond. Many of us have had bad experiences with tyrant bosses in the past, I know I have. In my experience, tyrant bosses very rarely change. They have either moved on or I have.
Life is too short to be stressed out by your boss. Thankfully there are plenty of great bosses out there too who will respect and value you and they are a real joy to work with.