Avoiding stress and overwork by finding time for reflection

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Lifestyle editor, Sara Fisher, reflects on the importance of finding time for yourself as a way to promote healthy mental wellbeing.

The need to constantly be busy, on the go, and in the know can be difficult to escape. It can often feel like the more you struggle against avoiding boredom and tedium, the more stressed and restless you feel. With constant demands such as university work, a healthy lifestyle, and an endless stream of information from social media, it can be hard to imagine taking 5 minutes for yourself to decompress. Most people search for activities as a coping mechanism, but instead, consider doing nothing as a method of relaxing.

As humans, we often reward ourselves for overworking, especially when we are already stressed and feeling rundown. Validating our tendencies to overwork by making comments such as, “I had to pull an all-nighter to get that done!” or “I haven’t stopped to think today,” can push us to our limits and that is when we tend to snap. Although we may get a lot done and feel proud of what we have achieved, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to recover from the energy spent pushing ourselves too hard.

Mindful meditation has been proven to aid in alleviating mental stress, promote healthy and sustained focus, and contribute to a greater sense of well-being. A controlled study, by the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology at the University of Ghent, Belgium, found that ‘mindfulness-based therapy…significantly reduced the period of time before relapse of episodes of low mood. It also helped with long and short-term healthy mood maintenance. Participants reported experiencing a better quality of life.’. Mindfulness can be easily introduced into your day through stillness and static activities.

Becoming comfortable with your own stillness is a learning process. You can easily start with 1 to 2 minutes a day. Start by sitting and taking a moment for yourself. Question what you are grateful for, how you truly feel, and how you can improve.

Personal meditation can be practiced through many mediums such as sitting in silence, listening to your favourite song, or simply watching the world go by. It can take time and effort to find a static activity that relaxes you without causing you to feel fidgety or guilty, but it’s worth the effort you put into it. Reflection and introspection are difficult practices to learn and incorporate into our everyday life but even just a moment gives our mind room to breathe.

Hyperactivity and restlessness are often our way of dealing with underlying issues such as anxiety, stress, and loneliness. But taking a moment to acknowledge these feelings can immensely change our view of how to cope with difficult situations. Rather than trying to run from any issues you feel you may be having with your wellbeing, becoming aware of them may be the start to a more restful life.

About the author / 

Sara Fisher

Sara | Manchester | Third Year English Student | Lifestyle Editor

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