Low battery? How to rest when stressed and overwhelmed
“So, you’re also working in your home office now?” one of our colleagues was recently asked by her great-aunt. What used to be a very abstract construct for many of us – especially the older generation – has quickly become part of everyday life.
Currently, one in four people (25%) work from their home office. Another 20% partially work from home, on certain days of the week only. On the whole, every second German (45%) spends at least some of their time in a home office setting (Bitkom). But what about those who can’t just curl up on the couch?
In order to keep our society up and running, we need to ensure people in certain occupations carry on doing their – often very strenuous – jobs. We are referring to nursing staff in hospitals, doctors, parcel delivery staff, supermarket employees, social workers, geriatric nurses, teachers, shop assistants and many more. So what happens when we cannot find peace at home?
We have written this article to shed light on finding rest when we are pushed to our limits, and to offer you some tips on how to unwind.
Every second person who doesn’t have the option of working in their home office is envious
Current figures from the “Future of Work Reports 2021” reveal that working from home is not an option for four out of ten workers (43%), they still have to go to work. More than one in two (54%) said they envied those who could work from home. More than 35% would even be willing to change jobs in order to be able to work from a home office. Almost as many would even consider changing their employer.
The main reason here seems to be the concern about the virus. In a survey conducted by the portal Lohnspiegel, more than half of the employees in the field of education, social work, and social care (57%) said they were worried about contracting the disease at work.
But there are other voices that want to be heard. People who are not afraid of the virus and are happy to leave the house. In an article, Katharina Lorenz, a saleswoman in an organic supermarket in the Munich area, confided in the magazine with the following “Dear Work“:
“I am relieved that I can go to work two days a week. Of course, there is an increased risk of infection in the organic market, but I’m still glad to escape sometimes. I work behind the counter with a safety distance of 1.5 m and many customers wear protective masks and gloves. I wear gloves myself, of course, for hygienic reasons.”
Whether you’re happy to leave the house for work or it makes you anxious – either way, stress is breathing down our necks. After all, even those who are not worried about catching the virus can feel the tense social situation and pick up on the fears of people they come into contact with at work.
“Setting boundaries” are the magic words for more peace of mind
Sometimes it feels like the current situation has to serve as a justification for a number of things. That might work for a short while, but we have been living in this “state of emergency” for more than a year now. A state of emergency that practically demands from many of us – especially those who have to go to work every day – to do more and to go past our own limits.
The body and mind – depending on the person – can only keep up with this for so long, and then psychosomatic symptoms such as insomnia, stomach problems, depression, or burnout usually follow. But we don’t have to let things get that far if we listen to the signs coming from our body and mind, and we need to trust them.
Only a healthy person can contribute to a healthy system. If we all work on our own health first, then we needn’t worry that much about the big system. This, however, requires a mindful analysis of the current state of affairs. This could be the following:
- How does my body and soul feel after a day’s work?
- Do I have long-lasting pain that I am not managing?
- How do I feel before going to sleep? What are my thoughts about?
- What do I do daily and unwillingly that I don’t actually enjoy?
- How do I counteract a stressful working day to find peace again and achieve a balance?
This small cheat sheet of questions can already be a big help to assess your current state.
The good news: You are born with the tools to do this. It’s called intuition – or the infamous “gut feeling”.
The path to greater peace of mind is to be in touch with yourself all the time and to recognise when something doesn’t feel right to you. And this is just the right time to bang on the table and say: “I know this task has to be done, but I don’t think I can do it right now!” or “I feel overworked every day, what can we do to remove some of the pressure?”.
Tips for finding rest after a hard day at work
1. Ground yourself and make balancing movements
“Even more movement?”, you’re probably asking. Absolutely, since the movement you do at work on a daily basis is usually one-sided. If you are delivering parcels, for example, you will use the same muscle groups over and over again and thus only move your body in a one-sided way.
This is less about burning calories and more about getting back in touch with your body. During a normal working day, we tend to be on autopilot in such a way that we move in a robotic and automatic way.
To ground yourself after a hard day’s work, try a completely different way of moving.
Our Humanoo app offers plenty of exercise options for you to try out – from yoga to Pilates to boxing – and is even available in German, English, French and Italian.
2. Build conscious relaxing moments into your everyday life
An old Zen teaching says, “Meditate 20 minutes a day, unless you don’t have time, then meditate for an hour.” You might shake your head in disbelief and think “Where am I supposed to find time between a full-time job, homeschooling, and my own problems?”. But let’s be honest here: This is a lame excuse (sorry, not sorry!).
Because relaxation, yoga, and meditation are not things you have to make time for, but a lifestyle that you can incorporate into every moment of everyday life. You’re wondering how?
The next time you’re bored on the train or standing in a queue at the checkout, decide NOT to take out your phone, but rather close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Scan your body and see how you feel.
You must have realised at bedtime, when you scroll through your entire Instagram feed until you’re fully up to date…
that this is an extremely unhealthy thing to be doing. In fact, a study has found that using a mobile phone before bed can affect your sleep and cause headaches, concentration problems, and even lead to depression.
In any case, you’ll have more restful sleep if you put your phone away at least two hours before you go to bed and engage in other activities such as sleep meditation or reading a book.
You will find countless options to introduce healthy sleeping habits in our Humanoo app – for example, through sound meditation.
3. If nothing else works, nature will help you to find peace
All the answers that we humans seek, can be found in nature. Nature knows how to retreat when it’s time, and also how to blossom again when ready.
Studies have shown that a walk in the countryside causes the heart to beat measurably slower, blood pressure to drop, and our muscles to relax. The 10 kilos you are carrying on your shoulders will fall off like magic and you will experience more positive sensations.
Researchers at the University of Essex have even found that just 5 minutes of gardening, walking, or fishing, for example, is enough to boost your self-esteem and make you feel noticeably better. According to psychologists, mood and self-esteem are the most important indicators of mental and physical health.
Can you still not find the time to relax?
We hope that this article has inspired you to set clear boundaries when you feel overworked and to see relaxation as something you can incorporate into every moment of your everyday life.
Whether you’re in a home office or on your feet for 8 hours, stress is experienced differently from person to person and each of us is allowed to be less than the best version of ourselves in such unprecedented times. Now and again, the patience string is allowed to snap – because of homeschooling, home-office isolation, or the annoying customers in the shop.
It’s crucial that you listen to the signs of your body and mind and put your needs first. As a result, others will treat you with more respect in the future and you will soon be able to get through a chaotic day in a more relaxed way.
Wherever you may be, we are happy to lend you a helping hand, even if only virtually.
Your Humanoo team