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Relax, be good to yourself!

ALL work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - a cliché done to death. However, it inexorably rings true in the current hard-driving work culture.

We have conditioned ourselves to work, work and work all day. `Overworked', `burned-out' or `wound up' is the customary characteristic of every employee today.

The constant rush to meet deadlines, sprinting from one task to another and juggling numerous responsibilities eventually takes its toll. Research conducted by the International Stress Management Association found that workplace stress lowers productivity and job satisfaction as well.

Your body pays the price too. Persistent tiredness, loss of appetite and frequent headaches are warning signs that you are courting danger. Dr. Andrew Weils opines, `A relaxed body is less prone to health issues than an agitated one'. Stop and take time to relax before you end up as a candidate for tranquilisers!

Relaxation is a lost art. It seems more like a mythical concept. `Relax - Do I know that word?' is a universal phenomenon.

Take a breather at work

`The time to relax is when you do not have time for it', points out counsellor Sidney Harris. If you cannot afford to take five minutes of respite, then you sorely need to slow down! Catching a few moments of respite over the course of the day can save you from an inevitable breakdown. In the long run, it will help you work more efficiently and calmly. The following tips should go a long way in helping you avoid the problem:

A couple of deep breaths in between tasks can help ease the pace. It has a relaxing and rejuvenating effect on the whole body

Stretch the back, neck and leg muscles. It will help you feel more alive and more positive

Train yourself to take short but frequent breaks while working. The coffee break works not because of the jolt from the caffeine!

Dedicate some moments to yourself. For a few minutes, forget what you were working on. Shift your focus from the frantic activities of the day to a more peaceful state of mind

A break from the monotony will revive the senses. Step out to get some fresh air

Personalising your workspace with family snapshots, flowers or small knickknacks also helps loosen up things a bit

Many companies provide de-stressing areas like in-house gymnasiums, `chill out rooms' or `therapy zones'. Utilise them to restore your vitality and zest

Switching gears after work

At closing time, do not carry your work burdens home. Distance yourself from your professional thought processes. Remember that you have a life outside work. Devote time to unwinding as you put your feet up for the day. It increases energy levels, gives clarity of perspective and enhances concentration.

Some more tips:

Pursue leisure hobbies like reading or gardening. It will help drain away the tensions of the day

Create a healthy and holistic you. After all, healthy living is essential to be able to relax

Try relaxation methods like yoga, reiki, body massage or meditation. Your body will definitely thank you for the reprieve!

The best break from mental exertion is physical toil. Exercise regularly; it will have a moderating influence on the emotions. As George Phelps, an engineer at Tech Associates, says, `I joined a golf club to save my sanity. It is soothing to be able to beat up a little white ball with a stick after a frustrating day!'

Get a good night's sleep. It clears the mind of the day's clutter and you can start afresh the next day

If all else fails, take a vacation. Letting your hair down once in a while works wonders for the body and soul

You need to take a reality check before your work becomes your waterloo. In the prevailing work atmosphere, adopting a system of relaxation is easier said than done. Remind yourself that you are a human being first. Commit to relaxation before your stress meter soars off!


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