The Stress Management Society

Female First: Put Those Thoughts To Bed

Director of The Stress Management Society explains why it is so hard for us to ‘switch off’ when we get home from work and shares some techniques on how we can relax

Most of us don’t ‘switch off’ when we get home from work

After a busy and demanding day it can be all too hard to “switch off” when you get home. You can often find yourself still running through all the things that need to be done during the evening at home. Technology has a large part to play in this, from permanently checking-in to emails; taking work calls out of hours, and updating your social media status, chances are you’re experiencing ‘smartphone overload’.

Whilst there’s no denying there are many positives to smartphones and other portable devices, this way of ‘living in a state of constant alert’ as Neil Shah, Director of The Stress Management Society describes it, goes some way to explaining why so many of us find it hard to switch off in the evening.

“It’s vitally important for our health and wellbeing that we reconnect with our mental on-off switch. The way to do this is to disconnect from our devices in favour of time to relax and unwind.” Shah suggests self-imposing a ‘digital blackout’ for an hour before bed and unplugging all devices that could stimulate the mind. Instead, he suggests focussing on unwinding the mind by taking a bath, practising breathing techniques, listening to music, and using acupressure to relieve tensions.”

Here are some techniques you could use to switch off those negative and repetitive thoughts in the evening.

• Turn all forms of electrical stimulation off. TVs should not be on in the bedroom it is a place for sleep. Mental stimulation before shuteye will only fuel the analytical mind.

Phones and tablets should be charged and placed in another room outside the bedroom! Let’s be honest, how many of us look at the phone first thing in the morning, last thing at night and if we wake.

• Be conscious of your breathing, lie on the sofa on your back and be aware of your breathing. Slow it down and control deep, slow inhalations, hold for a second, then exhale slowly and with control

• Avoid or cut down on stimulants in tea or coffee especially in the evenings as they interfere with the process of falling asleep. Why not swap them for a mug of warm milk or caffeine-free tea before hitting the hay.

• Try to squeeze in a couple of sessions of yoga every week to increase mind-body awareness and keep stress levels to a minimum.

• Deep breathing, writing a journal, reading, listening to relaxing music or having a foot massage. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed then repeat it each night to help you release tension and fretful thoughts.

Tips on behalf of Rescue Night.