With the holiday season in full swing, end of the year reports quickly approaching, and deadlines coming from every direction, stress is at its yearly high. While the holiday season brings joy and cheer, it also brings stress and fatigue. Stress can take a huge toll on your body both physically and mentally. It is important to take time out of each day to clear your mind and relax. Though seemingly easier said than done, taking just five minutes out of your day to clear your mind helps improve your overall productivity and focus. If there are times during the day where you feel yourself lacking focus and "hitting a wall" try one or two of these steps.

Meditation

Meditation brings an abundance of health benefits such as stress reduction, anxiety control, improved emotional health, increased attention span, improved sleep,  pain management, and reduced blood pressure. Effective meditation, like anything, comes with practice. There are steps you can take to help you start meditating that over time will build your skills to where you can meditate anywhere. If you are new to meditation, try a guided meditation app to give you the help you need to successfully meditate.  Apps such as Mindfulness, Calm, and Headspace provide guided meditation for beginners, tips for mindfulness, and resources to help you understand the art of meditation.

Visualizing /Guided Imagery

Taking five minutes to practice visualization helps some people de-stress at work and take a quick break from pressing deadlines or distractions. Visualizing, or guided imagery, is the process of imagining a calm and peaceful place to help clear your mind of stressors and worrying thoughts. If you are a beginner, there are guided tutorials and audio resources on YouTube to help you get started.

Stretching /Walking

Taking time to stretch and be active can boost your focus for the rest of the day. Taking as few as five minutes a day to stretch your legs or take a quick walk around the office can relieve your body of built-up tension, and in turn, boost your focus and productivity.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Sitting for long periods of time can cause strain on your neck, back, and shoulders.  Practicing progressive muscle relaxation each day can help relieve the tension and provide your mind with a needed break from work-induced stressors. Psychotherapist, Amy Morin says "Focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing your muscles, one group at a time. Start with your toes and work your way up to your neck. With practice, you'll increase your awareness of when you're tensing your muscles and you'll learn to let go of that tension."

Your mind is your body's most powerful asset, and just like your body, it needs rest and recovery to work at its highest level. Dedicate a few daily minutes to mindfulness to give it the break it deserves.

Published on: Dec 7, 2018