By Stephanie Weese, CFO, MSBO President-Elect, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, Livingston ESA
Have you ever googled how to relax? I just did, and it gave me over 8 million results in 0.33 seconds! With all of these resources, it seems like it would be something so easy to accomplish, right? Or maybe there are so many resources because so many of us struggle with the concept? Whatever the case may be, I know that I am not the only one that may struggle with unplugging from work and taking time for myself.
My motivation to google how to relax was when I changed my Google Calendar view from “week” to “month” and noticed that a nice break (from my office) was coming up very quickly. As I was looking at those days away from the office, I wondered how I could take advantage of that time for maximum benefit. As a rule, I am not particularly good at disconnecting from work and truly relaxing. In fact, I am terrible at it. I am always checking my email, responding to emails, thinking through issues, making notes/talking points for future meetings, etc. However, I recognize my issue and I want to improve. I just need some help to accomplish the task. So, Google it is!
I clicked on a Mayo Clinic article titled “Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress”. The article focuses on stress and how it impacts your physical health. Using relaxation techniques can help manage stress, which directly impacts your physical health which leads to overall well-being. A few of the physical health benefits of relaxation include: improving digestion, controlling blood sugar levels, improving focus and mood, improving sleep quality, and boosting confidence.
A couple of relaxation techniques suggested by the article are:
Visualization. Take yourself to a calm space in your mind, close your eyes and take deep breaths. Feel free to borrow my visualization and take yourself to a tropical island where you can listen to the ocean sounds with your feet in the sand.
Muscle relaxation. Focus your awareness on any tense muscles in your body. For example, how close are your shoulders to your ears right now? Release your shoulder muscles and feel that tension subside. Focus on muscles throughout your body and practice releasing the tension. This a great technique to use before going to bed. You can also tense muscles for 5 seconds and then release them to feel the tension leave your body.
Some other ways to relax your body could be, deep breathing, massage, meditation, yoga, take a walk, listen to music, read a book, pick up your favorite hobby that you haven’t had time for in a while, do a jigsaw puzzle.
I appreciate a good article with some techniques that are easy to apply. However, I also appreciate that we are all different and may not readily embrace those techniques, or we may not see how those would actually fit into our daily lives. So, I am going to gather my own list of techniques to focus on during my time away from my office. Here is my short list (in no particular order):
- DO NOTHING! Grab a cup of tea and just be in the moment.
- Sleep until you naturally wake up in the morning. Do not set your alarm- or make sure to turn off your alarm.
- Create a flexible plan for any family events. Not everything works out as planned, so go with the flow.
- Set the out of office response on your email. Only check your email once per day. Notify staff/colleagues/supervisor to contact you via phone call or text, if it is an emergency.
- Finish the book you started- or find a book that you haven’t read yet and read it.
- Do something creative- make something and give it away (cookies, art, etc.)
- Take a walk
- Spend time with friends/family
What would your list look like? What would help you disconnect from work when you are away from the office and also reduce stress? The list you make could also become something that you focus on during the weekends as well, not just reserved for vacation time or during school breaks.
I hope that you all reserve some time for yourselves during the upcoming break and just relax. You deserve it!
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Celebrate Success!
- It is the Right Thing to Do – Mary Beth Rogers
- MSBO Annual Report: A Snapshot
- MSBO Google Training Expanding
- MSBO Scholarships – Don’t Miss This Opportunity
- MSBO Update – Bob Dwan
- Practical Professional Development – Save The Dates
- Start the Year Right with Financial Strategies
- Welcome New Members