After a restful holiday period, most of us come back to work feeling calm, and we can’t quite understand why things had a tendency to get on top of us before the holiday. Unfortunately, for many of us, it may only take a few days, for the deadlines to loom, for the pressures to build and for the priorities to become blurred again.
So, to help you enjoy a calmer year and to put you firmly in control, I’ve put together a selection of techniques for you to use when you feel your calmness evaporating. You’ll have met some of the techniques before and others may seem a little bit twee but by making a conscious effort to try them out, you will find the ones that work best for you. Remember, new habits take a while to embed and practice makes perfect, so stick with it for a calmer year with you firmly in control.
SPOT the DOWNWARD SPIRAL
The opposite of calm includes the emotions of agitation, nervousness, anger and worry. Spotting the signs that your calmness is deserting you, is the first step to getting it back. Signs to look out for include:
- your breathing is not as deep or as regular as usual
- your voice is tight or raised
- you are making irrational comments
- you feel as though you’re not in control
Once you have spotted the signs, you can stop the downward spiral by taking an avoiding action such as removing yourself from the situation or using a breathing technique.
BREATHE CALMLY in 3 minutes
- Sit or stand comfortably
- Unfold your arms and unclench your fists
- Lengthen your spine
- Close your eyes, if possible.
- Concentrate on breathing through your nose. Notice your abdomen rise as you breath in and lower as you breath out.
- As you breath, think of a place where you feel calm (for example by the sea) or think of a calm word (for example, calm or relax)
- Continue this for 3 to 5 minutes feeling your body loosen every time you breath out.
- When you are ready let yourself come to slowly.
Stop chasing PERFECTION
Some tasks need to be done well, but for others ‘good enough’ is enough. Recognising which tasks really do need to have more time spent on them and accepting that there is no such thing as perfection, will help your time management and consequently your calmness.
Sit down and DEFINE your OBJECTIVES.
Woolly objectives, unreasonable timescales or a lack of resources leave us feeling anything but calm! Everyone knows about SMART objectives (or equivalent schemes) but it’s incredible how often the process is only touched upon or even skipped. The general principles can be applied to any task. Yes, it takes time but it should save time in the long run as it’s much easier to follow a well laid path with a definite end.
2-minute FACE RELAXATION
Try these 4 quick face relaxation techniques when you need a calm 2 minutes:
- Forehead stroke –gently stoke your forehead from the centre outwards using the middle 3 fingers of each hand. Repeat 5 times
- Temple massage – gently massage your temples in a circular motion using your first 2 fingers. Repeat 3 times each way.
- Eye circles – gently tap in a circle around your eyes using your middle fingers. Start from above our nose, following your eyebrows then follow your check bones below your eyes and then between your eyes back to the start. Repeat this 3 times.
- Face pat – gently and slowly pat all over your face using all your fingers; notice any parts that feel particularly tense and give them extra attention. Continue for 30 seconds.