There is nothing more exciting than a four-day weekend but this Easter, make a real difference to your mindset and really relax with these practical tips – which will leave you feeling energised at the time, as well as chilled out for weeks to come.
The average smartphone owner touches their phone almost 3,000 times a day – that’s how obsessed we have got with scrolling. Often we are just ‘checking’ rather than searching for exact information and it’s this obsession with tech which is leaving us more anxious than ever – especially as we are often looking at multiple screens and trying to absorb information from many channels at once. Taking a break from technology is almost impossible for many of us during the working week, but the long weekend is the perfect opportunity to turn off and tune in to a life less technological.
Without realising it, so many of us are failing to engage with the world directly around us – and even with those in the same room as us, so desperate are we for the endorphin hit we get from our phones, and being on social media.
As well as disconnecting us from real conversations with those around us, this also perpetuates the addiction we have with technology – meaning we may feel anxious, distracted and depressed when we first try to overcome our habit. But wait till you see how much time you free up by not engaging with your phone. You may be surprised to see just how many hours you spend staring at that screen. Let this long weekend be a chance to cut loose, forget about the FOMO and embrace living in the moment. You could be surprised how much you enjoy it.
The feeling of being unable to do things we would like to do creates tension and underlying stress. We often focus on events, habits and pressures which prevent us living out our dreams and which make us stressed – all of which is negative. It can be helpful sometimes to switch the focus to something we want to do, something positive which will make us happy. These do not have to be enormous events to have a big impact.
For example, perhaps you are a new mum and you would just love the chance to wake up late and have a coffee in the bath with a magazine before starting the day? Maybe you have always wanted to see the sun rise over the sea and could travel to a local beach? Perhaps you have always wanted to paint one wall in your kitchen bright yellow and could take the plunge? Small desires can be achievable, but they often fall by the wayside.
This weekend think about something you have always wanted to make happen and do it. This will give you a greater feeling of self-worth and make you feel empowered to make other changes in your life as you gain confidence that you can make things happen – even if they are just for you.
Laughter really is the best medicine when it comes to freeing ourselves from worries and tension. Humour and laughter trigger the release of certain neurotransmitters, such as the ‘happy hormones’ dopamine and serotonin. They also increase the number of immune cells we have and helps us fight illness and protect us from disease. Physically, a jolly good laugh also releases pent up tension and the muscle tightness we have from stress. The effects of a good chuckle can last up to 45 minutes too. So whether it’s meeting a friend who always puts a smile on your face, going to a comedy gig or just being silly with the kids, make time for fun in the four-day break.
Thanks to Marie Kondo and her Tidying Up series, being organised has never been cooler. But aside from looking nice there are plenty of stress-busting benefits to getting your house in order. Researchers at Princetown found that when we are in an environment with too much clutter and disorder the chaos competes for our attention making it harder to focus and increasing stress and burnout. Another study in Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, noted that people who felt their homes were unfinished and messy had a more depressed mood daily that those who felt their homes were a restful sanctuary.
With busy lives it can feel impossible to find the time to declutter and tidy up, so the four day break is a great time to get started. Approach one area at a time so you don’t feel you are making the mess worse and get discouraged. As you get even single drawers at a time organized you will feel enthused to carry on your good work.
And the actual act of cleaning is good for us too. It encourages us to look at what is really needed and meaningful in our lives without attachment and acknowledge we are not defined by our possessions. The physical side of scrubbing or sorting is also a great stressbuster as immersing ourselves in a simple, repetitive action forces your brain to shift gears away from stress. The task becomes the focus and we tend to let go of worry and anxiety.
If you would like to know more about how valuable prioritizing yourself can be then Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish will help you. And find out why you shouldn’t spend your four days off work binge watching TV shows!