How to switch off before dinner
It was recently reported that Kiwi’s watch just over 3 hours of television per day or about 23 hours a week – this is a little less than our British cousins but, explains Prof Cropley, “if you are mentally tired, sitting down and watching television is probably the least effective way to unwind. If you look at a screen all day, you need to use different physiological and psychological resources than that which you use all day at work.” Instead he advises to establish a restorative place – somewhere you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed – and spend 20 minutes there. “It could be a favourite armchair or a spot in the garden,” says Prof Cropley. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a place of solitude. The point is it is your space to settle inner tension, allowing for the renewal of one’s coping resources, contemplation and buying time to gather thoughts.”
Crucically, create a relaxing ritual that tells the brain that the working day is over. “Getting changed and having a shower as soon as you arrive home signals to the brain that you have finished for the day, as can short household chores – so long as you don’t usually see them as work.”
It may seem counter intuitive, but a blast of activity after a long day can also refresh as much as a rest. “A good hobby not only distracts, it also controls and demands our attention without too much mental energy. Make time for something you have a natural interest in; dancing, running, gardening or reading, it doesn’t matter.” People who dedicate time to something not only feel happier and less stressed – they also perform better at work. According to research by Dr Kevin Eschleman at San Francisco State University the less relevant the pastime is to one’s job, the greater the effect on workplace performance – so try to choose something that uses a totally different skill set.
Reference: Daily Telegraph, NewsHub.co.nz