After a busy festive season and late nights over the New Year, it can be hard to settle back into a routine in January.
So, what can we do to revitalise the mind and body following the party season? Nick Woodward, founder of Essential Living (essentialliving.co.uk), has shared his top tips with us.
Carving out some time in the morning to meditate has many benefits for general health and wellbeing, including improving immune system function, improving interpersonal relationships, and reducing stress and anxiety.
"Meditating is surprisingly simple. All you need to do is find someplace quiet and relaxing, and dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes to freeing your mind of thoughts, deliberately letting each thought go until you achieve a pure state of mindfulness," he said. "Whilst it may take some practice to get used to the process, once you do, you'll start noticing yourself more hyper-focused in everyday situations."
When looking at screens and devices all day, it is important to take a "brain break".
"Reading a piece of fiction or perhaps something related to your job before a meeting will help reactivate your brain. The more often you read, the more accustomed your brain will become at storing information, improving your intelligence. All that information will eventually come in handy as you engage in conversations, work on projects, and try to solve complex problems," noted Nick.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are now accustomed to working from home. But it can be easy to go for days without interacting with friends or colleagues.
"Social interaction is extremely important for keeping your brain energised and educated. Despite the uncertainty of further restrictions, there are still safe ways you can socially interact following social distancing guidelines. You'd be amazed what you can gain from a simple conversation. Social interactions allow you to learn new facts, new perspectives, and new ideas, and all the while, you'll develop your abilities to focus, learn, and analyse a situation," he explained.
Even a small amount of exercise, whether it be a few minutes walking, jogging or a few stretches, will help to stabilise your mood and increase focus and attention.
"The short-term and long-term benefits of physical exercise (both aerobic and anaerobic) are well worth the time investment, particularly if completed once or twice a day," shared Nick.
Deep breathing, like the kind used in meditation, will help you focus and feel energised throughout your day.
"Try to conduct breathing exercises whenever you start to feel tired or stressed. Sit or lie in a comfortable position, keeping your legs and spine straight and place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest. Then inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and into your abdomen, until your lungs are full. Pause for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the mouth, making a quiet whooshing sound, until your lungs are empty. Repeat the process until you start to feel calmer and more mentally prepared to continue your day," he added.