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Health Chatter: Slowing down to release the pressure

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

A Slow Down Day blog

Have you ever experienced a slow acceptance of the pressures around you, until everything is “just too much”? There is evidence that the pace and intensity of work has been increasing, with more employees multi-tasking to meet ever changing demands (Burke 2008). Unsurprisingly, this corresponds with more employees feeling weary and stressed.

Let’s explore ways to slow things down a notch:

Don’t procrastinate Instead of having an endless list of tasks to do;

  • select one that you really need to do today and clear away everything not needed for the task in hand

  • break it down into small manageable chunks

  • when you have achieved a chunk, take a 5 min break -

  • take time to be quiet

  • take time to stretch and move

  • take time to smile and “pass the time” with a colleague

There’s every chance you will find that:

  • The job didn’t take as long as you expected

  • You were more focused and ready for the next chunk after having a short break

  • You feel satisfied that you have worked well

  • You feel less tense than beforehand having accomplished what you set out to achieve

Review the remaining list after you have completed a task and choose 3 items to eliminate from your list that won’t really impact on your career or your life (other than to free up some time) without doing them at all. Remember, things don't have to be perfect. Sometimes “good enough” is just fine. Make self-care a priority

  • If it is not vital that you do something when asked, convincingly but politely say no to avoid being pulled in all directions.

  • When we make time for ourselves, we put our wellbeing first. This can feel selfish to start, but it is like the aeroplane analogy—we must put our own oxygen mask on before we can assist others.

  • Take your lunch break

  • Go home on time

Techniques to help you slow down:

  • Switch off the technology to reduce the constant stimulus that encourages you to be “switched on” all the time.

  • Visualize an image of something that conveys happiness, warmth, or peaceful feelings for you. By focusing on the image for even a minute, you can lower your pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure

  • Breathe deeply: - Sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported against the back of the chair. - Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air. - Breathe out through your nose. - Place one hand on your belly. Place the other hand on your chest. - As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that's on your chest. - Take three more full, deep breaths. Breathe into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.

  • Massage your hands. This video gives a good demonstration.

  • Colour in a picture

  • Go for a walk outside

  • Play a board game with a colleague in your break

  • Listen to a piece of music that makes you want to sing or dance

Grey rocks on a body of water during daytime
Focusing on something that conveys happiness can lower your pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure

The NHS has listed these 10 stress busters which you might also find helpful. Our sources and for more information: Burke R (2009); Working to Live or Living to Work: Should Individuals and Organizations Care? Journal of Business Ethics (2009) 84:167–172


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Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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