By Jeni Garrett, founder and CEO, The Woodhouse Day Spa
You may think that silence slows you down, but in fact it’s quite the opposite: taking a few minutes to sit quietly and tune out the distractions around you can be a useful stress management tool. When you take a silent break, you renew your mental and physical energy because your resources aren’t being used up by the external stimuli around you. Your creativity is sparked, your dreams are reawakened, and your spirit is refreshed. You’re mentally sharper and ready to take on life’s challenges. Scheduling in some quiet time, at work or at home, can boost your productivity, reduce stress, and, yes, even improve your health.
In the office, breaks are essential to productivity. Our bodies aren’t designed to work nonstop. If you ignore your body’s natural warning signals: fatigue, boredom, and inability to concentrate, to name a few, you’ll lose productivity the more you fight the urge to take a break. Overcompensating with caffeine, energy drinks, and other artificial sources of alertness can give you a temporary rush but are worse for you in the long run.
Instead, when you feel yourself losing focus, take a five- or ten-minute break. Try:
- Closing your eyes (or at least look away from the computer screen) and sitting quietly at your desk for a few moments, focusing on your natural breathing patterns.
- If time and weather permit, get up and go for a short walk – even if it’s just around the block or to another floor of the office, getting away from your desk can help you clear your head.
- Or, if nothing else, make a quick cup of green tea and savor it for a few minutes. The act itself is relaxing, and green tea contains a host of brain- and body-boosting antioxidants along with a moderate amount of caffeine to give you a light, natural boost.
At home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed: between family, bills, scheduling commitments and errands, you might feel like you don’t have a minute to breathe. However, taking some time to sort through your thoughts and put things in perspective will help you manage your daily tasks more effectively.
Try meditation – even if you only do it for five minutes a day, it helps improve your mental focus throughout the day, increases your ability to manage stressful situations, and may even offer tangible benefits like reduced blood pressure and a boosted immune response. There are a number of different techniques and methods, but the basic idea is to focus on your natural breathing pattern and let your thoughts drift without concentrating on them. No matter how you do it, meditation has clear and well-researched benefits.
If meditation isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate quiet time into your everyday schedule:
- Take a relaxing, calming bubble bath.
- Escape to the spa for a well-earned massage or skin treatment.
- Even just turning off your cell phone, computer, and TV for a few minutes can offer you an escape from stress.
By tuning out and taking a break for just a few minutes a day, you can boost your productivity, manage stressful situations, and increase your creativity and overall energy significantly. When all of the external chatter dies down, you will be amazed at your ability to go deep within and discover your dreams, passions and purpose. Take some time this week to Be Still and Know…
* * * * *
This post was written to help you embrace the “Gift of Silence” pledge for Wellness Week! From March 11 through 17, make your week well with valuable wellness tips, free classes and events, and exclusive deals and offers. Plus, enjoy a free $25 Wellness Week Gift Card when you purchase a $25 SpaFinder Wellness Gift Card during Wellness Week (March 11-17). Learn more about Wellness Week 2013!
You might also like:
Mariel Hemingway on Taking the Time for Silence
Give Yourself the Gift of Silence Through Ayurveda & Shirodhara
Connect with Nature: The Physical & Mental Benefits of Getting Outdoors & Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Too Stressed to Meditate? Try These 6 Easy Tips!
It’s Okay to Unplug
Jeni Garrett is the founder, president and CEO of The Woodhouse Day Spa, an upscale chain of day spas and the only high end day spa franchise in the U.S. offering more than 40 different treatments that encompass skin and body care, hand and foot care, massage therapy, specialty treatments and more. Treatments use organic skin and body care products made from sustainable ingredients that are healthy for both guests and the planet. For more information, visit www.woodhousespas.com. Read more about our Wellness Week experts.