Has anyone ever run up to you and asked what you are going to do next? Maybe it’s your partner, hungry for dinner. Or maybe it’s your boss, ready with another task. While we all have to face our responsibilities, sometimes it’s okay to take a moment for yourself and just do nothing. Spending some time relaxing, stretching, reflecting, or meditating each day is good for you and necessary to maintain balance between your needs and the demands of your everyday life.
The Science of Relaxation
In this hustle-bustle world, you probably spend a typical day hurrying from one place to another and from one task to another. Depending on your home life, you might also have to squeeze in time with kids, household chores, and even grocery shopping. It’s no wonder that so many people burn out so quickly.
Research has been loud and clear on the matter of relaxation—it’s essential for good health. A study recently examined elderly women living in hospice care. The women who engaged in a yoga therapy program over the course of 12 weeks had decreased levels of anxiety and depression compared to the control group. The women in the test group also experienced increased self-esteem. The authors of the study believe that yoga can enhance the quality of life for people by improving their overall mental health (Ramanathan, 2017).
But Yoga Isn’t Your Thing
But what if you proclaim that yoga just isn’t your thing? Other relaxation techniques can improve your mental well-being. You can simply sit quietly, maybe outside under the trees. Light stretching and exercise may help you relax, too.
If you’ve been cooped up inside behind a desk all day, grab your lunch and head outdoors. Try to empty the thoughts in your mind and don’t worry about the next meeting or the next soccer practice or to not forget rice at the store. Breathe and give yourself permission to take these minutes for you.
You may feel like you are a go-getter, someone who is always ready for action. But science has shown that you will be a more effective leader if you balance your body and mind. Taking some time to destress and relax is critical to maintaining the social mindfulness that occurs when our bodies are performing at their best.
A High-Performing Mind is Needed in
the Imagination Age
It isn’t enough to be the manager of the long-gone Industrial Age. Employees demand new leadership models, and like it or not, the Imagination Age is here. Leaders must be creative and be ready to adapt and move quickly. Workers expect more, and now is the time for you to up your game.
High levels of performance mean that you are taking care of your mind, body, and spirit and that you can remain calm in stressful situations. So take a moment for yourself. Dinner can wait for a few minutes, and you can still get that report in on time.
Ramanathan, M., Bhavanani, A. B., & Trakroo, M. (2017). Effect of a 12-week yoga therapy program on mental health status in elderly women inmates of a hospice. International Journal of Yoga, 10(1), 24–28. http://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.186156