It takes effort, patience, and energy to walk through a day without a punching bag next to your desk. Especially if you forget your headphones at home and you have to go through the excruciating pains of that heavy bench while listening to Rihanna. Nobody can pull off a personal record (PR) in those conditions and then just go back to work as if you’ve managed to let go of pent-up negative energy.
While it would be ideal to cycle and chill around Rotto for a week or two, you have to find your go-to strategy to relax and unwind. Let’s walk through some of the most effective techniques to achieve a Zen state of mind, even for the ticking bombs among you.
Take Control of your Breath
With all the hustle during your work hours, it’s a challenge to stay still and focus on the least prominent thing in that moment: your breathing. And unless you really can afford a punching bag for those joyful situations when a colleague strikes a nerve, you need to give this strategy a test run.
Especially when you’re surrounded by noise and commotion, focusing on deep, slow breathing will let you disengage, take a moment to regroup and regain control of your thoughts. Studies have shown a decrease of stress symptoms and plenty of health benefits such as lower blood pressure and heart rate in people who practice controlled breathing.
Bring on the Right Munchies
We know it all too well, simple carbs are invented to cause trouble. When you have a day of intense situations, negotiations, presentations and many other stressful “actions”, it’s tempting to grab your favourite candy bar (or five). Instead, rely on foods that will not only keep you full but will also help you keep your cool.
For instance, take a protein bar, a handful of almonds or peanuts, some dark chocolate, a glass of warm milk or a banana, and you’re good to go. If I have time, I go and visit The Hill Eatery or The Bucket List for a quick bite and a time out from a hectic day. Generally, food brimming with magnesium, fibre, and complex carbs are ideal to keep your stress at bay.
Massage the Stress Away
Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like an hour-long massage to unwind and forget about the annoyances of your day. Whether you’ve just finished work or you’re heading out of the gym, your whole body is probably aching from stress, and the foam roller just won’t do the trick. I gladly take some time off from everything and everyone about once every two weeks to visit my favourite Bondi Beach Massage parlour and I’m as good as new.
A simple back massage, or if you want to go pro, a deep-tissue massage can help your body detox, relax your muscles and get ready for the next day of challenges. In fact, you’ll likely have a prolonged relaxing effect and handle the upcoming stress much better if you treat yourself to a professional massage session.
Stay Calm and Deadlift
Even if it’s Monday, international chest day, and you’re in for a hell of a week, a few sets of moderately heavy (if there is such a thing) deadlifts will give you an extra boost of energy, let you blow off some steam, and put your mind at ease for the days ahead. For the toughest of days, getting your entire body moving and sweating is probably the best remedy.
Strength, endurance or HIIT training, anything that will get your blood flowing and heart rate up will be your cure for the hardships of a stressful life. Exercise increases levels of endorphins, your happy hormones, which helps you maintain a positive attitude by increasing your energy levels, which will help you cope with difficult situations.
Taking it easy and being calm is probably the greatest challenge of all when stress sets in, so take your time to create your perfect stress-fighting strategy that will have you smiling, chilled and Zen for ages to come.