|Do you remember what it was like when the three year old was screaming bloody murder, the TV was blaring Barney songs at levels that could break glass, and you were hanging by your last thread of sanity? (Parents of teenagers say the same thing happens in their household now, except it is another cartoon character called “50 Cent”)
When the levels of stress got so bad, we would declare that it was quiet time. For fifteen or twenty minutes, Barney was switched off, we moved to our inside voices, and we played quietly with books and toys. There was a brief respite from the noise and confusion, and for a moment everything was good, peaceful. It made a difference in our day. We even looked forward to the next quiet time.
Consider incorporating quiet time into your stressful day at the office. Life there doesn’t have to be chaotic and bustling with activity. You can take control of your day by declaring quiet time at work. Here are some suggestions that are actually practiced by people who know stress all too well:
Turn off all electronic goods for 15-20 minutes- You will not miss your emails, people will call back, and you will feel better having the break from electronic pressures.
Get out of the office for 15-20 minutes; take a brisk walk without a cell phone or iPod- A little exercise is always good for you. The mental benefits will far outweigh the physical.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 15 minutes- Deep breathing helps relieve all kinds of stress, reduces blood pressure, and is great for relaxation. A relaxed body can calm a racing mind.
Carry a book that has nothing to do with job or career with you to work. Take quiet time and enjoy some fiction (or cartoons)- Japanese businessmen are notorious for carrying around manga (cartoon books). One of the reasons that the Japanese work day is so long is that they spend time managing the stress of the day.
Take your lunch to a park or a quiet place away from colleagues and co-workers--enjoy the quiet- Eat lunch with your colleagues, and work never ends. If you are in need of a break, spend lunchtime alone. You will be more ready to tackle the afternoon, your head will be clearer, and you might just eat healthier.
Remember how great it was when the three year old collapsed for a nap after instituting quiet time? Here is a last suggestion for quiet time at the office:
Set an alarm (you may be surprised that you can fall off to sleep easier than you expected).
About the author:
Mike Stanton-Rich is "The Leisure Guy." Armed with a Ph.D. in Leisure Studies and years studying stress and burnout, he writes regular articles and features about enhancing work and leisure. Catch his latest at: http://www.theleisureguy.com
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