In this age and time, it is easy to hustle and bustle through your days. We wake up, rush through morning to get to work, only to continue rushing to meet deadlines and wait for the end of the day, when the Singapore rush hour would engulf us in the mechanical routine of a typical weekday. We speed through every day's routine without much thought, thinking that we just have to last through the work day, thinking of our next escape. Don't you ever wonder, is that all there is to life?
The concept of slowing down has gained momentum as more people start to notice the impact that technology and the onset of the digital age have on us. Slow life movements have taken root in communities all over the world, and words like Hygge, labom, and zen are appearing more often in our conversations to live life a little more mindfully. Singaporeans experience extremely high levels of stress in a tough and demanding work environment, as reported by Michelle Lim, Chief Operating Officer of Jobscentral Group.1 Does working even though you are on sick leave sound familiar? Or maybe you have gotten so used to staying at work for an additional hour or two that you have forgotten what it means to go home on time?
In this article, we want to help you find some time to slow down, because you are more than just your work, and you are important.
#1 - In the morning — wake up a little earlier
30 minutes can make a lot of difference to your day. Waking up early allows you to take your time to prepare for the long day ahead. Go ahead, give yourself a 5-minutes allowance to laze in bed before getting up for a good stretch. The benefits of stretching in the morning is extensive, as endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine, it can improve your posture, reduce pains and aches, improve your blood flow, and also can provide you with a boost of energy. It doesn't even have to be a deep yoga-style stretching; a simple breathing exercise coupled with your arms reaching to the sky may be more than enough.
#2 - During commute — keep your phone away
We are so used to resorting to Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to occupy us while we commute that we often don't realize that if looking away from our phones and media devices gives us a chance to relax. So put your phone away and observe the cabin, look at the sky outside, or simply close your eyes and allow yourself to relax and do nothing. You'll be surprised how a simple exercise like putting your phone away can calm your mind.
#3 - At work — take a walk
Use your lunch break to wind down, you're half done with the day. Take your time with your food, have your lunch away from work, so close that email app that is open on your phone and eat away from your work computer. Focus on the food that you're eating, refocus all attention on yourself and your body.
If you have time after lunch, take a short walk. Remind yourself that you are free to utilize your break time, and your break time should rightly be away from your work. Do yourself a favour, and take your mind off that email that you haven't sent. Allowing your mind to relax can lead to increased productivity later on.
#4 - After work — Get off work on time
Of course it's difficult to get off work on time when you have 5 project deadlines approaching, your boss is chasing you for the budget sheet due for submission, and the world feels like it's crashing down unless you hold it up for another hour. Or two. But, finish up that last email, pack up your things, and hit the shutdown button on your computer. You are entitled to leave work on time, even if it is for a day out of a week, remind yourself that you are worth more time than your work. Leave the office, treat yourself to a good dinner, or catch up with some friends before heading home for a well-deserved rest after a day of work. You are allowed to relax. Remember that.
#5 - Before sleep — Do what you love
Go ahead, remind yourself to breathe and live, tell yourself that you are important too, and you are more important than the work that you do. We're not saying to abandon your responsibilities, we're saying you can take time to love yourself.Live a little, your weekday should not just be about work! Put aside some time to read if you love reading, or if you like to indulge in some k-drama, allow yourself to watch an episode before turning in for the night. People say you should stay away from screens right before bed, but we believe that allowing yourself some guilty pleasure after a tiring day at work can be tremendously beneficial.
Written by Ange Chua
Edited by Cynthea Lam
Ange Chua is an aspiring bird-watcher trying to fix her black thumbs. When she's not writing, you'd find her drinking tea out of teacups or reading in bed with her dog. She thinks her spirit animal is an alpaca.