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Juho Heinola

Återhämta dig genom andning

Återhämta dig genom andning

Vet du hur en stressfri kropp, avslappnade axlar och en jämn avspänd andning känns? Känner du till den viktiga roll andningen och syresättningen spelar för vår kropp? Vår förståelse för människokroppen och dess mekanismer utvecklas ständigt. Årets nobelpris i medicin har tilldelats forskningen om mekanismerna förknippade med syretillgänglighet. Studiens betydelse har t.ex. motiverats med vikten av syretillförselns fysiologiska effekt på hälsan och särskilt på vissa sjukdomar[1]. Studien har ökat förståelsen för de mekanismer som är förknippade med syretillförseln. Inspirerat av detta är det intressant att lyfta fram ett av de enklaste sätten att påverka den egna kroppen och stressnivån ‒ andningen.

Djupandningen är ett av de enklaste sätten att påskynda sin återhämtning. Denna väsentliga och omedvetna del av ditt liv kan om den uppmärksammas resultera i många olika hälsofördelar i ditt dagliga liv. Förhållandet mellan andning och psykologisk belastning och deras korrelation med utnyttjandegraden av hälsovårdstjänster har även studerats i Finland[2]. Vi känner till att andningen har förmågan att förbättra koncentrationen och förebygga sömnlöshet. Hälsoeffekterna är många, eftersom vi med hjälp av andningen kan påverka kroppen via det parasympatiska nervsystemet. Man har i studier med hjälp av djupandning bland annat kunnat sänka hjärtfrekvensen och i saliven uppmätta stresshormoner[3]. Känslor och stress påverkar kroppen på olika sätt, men det är också möjligt att påverka våra känslor genom våra kroppar. Stress gör vår andning mer ytlig, och vi kan genom att andast djupt påverka stresskänslan.[4]

Djupandning innebär i sin enklaste form att andas djupt, det vill säga att kontrollera sin egen andning. Det finns många olika andningstekniker och övningar man kan tillämpa, men du kan enkelt komma igång med hjälp av följande övning:

Sätt dig i en position där du kan koppla av, koncentrera dig och ta dig en stund helt för dig själv. Stäng dina ögon, om det känns naturligt. Andas långsamt in medan du räknar till sex och håll andan medan du räknar till två. Räkna igen till sex vid utandning och håll andan igen medan du räknar till två. Rita samtidigt i dina tankar en rektangel, där långsidorna utgör in- och utandningarna och du vid kortsidorna håller andan medan du räknar till två. Påbörja träningen i små etapper och fortsätt genom att först utöka din totala tid. Därefter kan du utöka längden på in- och utandningarna genom att räkna till tio. Några minuters andning är redan en bra start på träningen. Utöka så småningom tiden och variera med olika övningar. Den mesta nyttan åstadkoms med daglig träning. Genom att rita rektangeln får ditt vandrande sinne något att göra och fokusera på.

När du tränar är det också bra att komma ihåg att ge andningen utrymme genom att låta mellangärdet slappna av. En spänd kropp andas inte optimalt. Försök att rikta din andning mer mot bröstkorgen och bukområdet än mot axelpartiet. Andas in genom näsan och ut på det sätt du önskar. Du kan låta dina tankar komma och gå, eller som i föregående övning, fokusera på en bild. Det är möjligt att övningen till en början känns svår. Det är ofta så att ju svårare vi upplever andnings- och avslappningsövningar, desto mer behöver vi dem. Det är dock viktigt att förstå att ju oftare du tränar, desto snabbare börjar du märka effekterna av träningen. När du har lärt dig knepet kan du ta dig en paus för att andas var som helst, även om din omgivning inte är helt fridfull.

När du har gjort framsteg kan du också försöka dig på dessa övningar:

  • 4-6-8-övningen: Andas in medan du räknar till fyra, håll andan medan du räknar till sex och andas ut medan du räknar till åtta.
  • Magövning: Placera ena handen på magen och den andra på bröstkorgen. Andas på så sätt att bara magen rör sig och handen på bröstkorgen förblir så orörlig som möjligt.
  • För att göra utandningen mer effektiv: Andas ut med långa, långsamma andetag, så att lungorna töms ordentligt. Känn hur inandningen efter den effektiva utandningen sker automatiskt, utan att kräva någon som helst ansträngning.
  • Andningsövning känd från yogan: Sätt dig bekvämt och placera pekfingret på den ena näsborren för att blockera ena sidans luftväg. Andas in och flytta pekfingret till den andra sidan. Andas in och ut utan att byta näsborre. Fortsätt växelvis med den ena näsborren i taget.

För variation kan du utföra alla ovanstående övningar i olika positioner. Ta din återhämtning i egna händer och andas djupt minst en gång under arbetsdagen. Du kan med ditt exempel uppmuntra dina kollegor och göra övningarna till hela arbetsteamets gemensamma sätt att återhämta sig under dagen.

Skrivet av:
Mia Bäck
Idrottsinstruktör (YH), Hälsocoach, NLP-utövare och Pilates Health-ledare

Mia Bäck jobbar med motionsrådgivning och hälsohandledning för rörliga och mindre rörliga människor i alla åldrar. Mia är av åsikten att vi med hjälp av våra hälsoval kan påverka många av våra hälsoproblem. Hon utmanar i sitt arbete människor att ta ansvar för sitt eget välbefinnande genom små åtgärder för att uppnå välbalanserat och övergripande välmående och förnöjsamhet.

 

Referenser:

[1] Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019. Nobel Media AB 2019. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2019/press-release/

[2] Selinheimo, Vasankari etc. The association of psychological factors and healthcare use with the discrepancy between subjective and objective respiratory-health complaints in the general population. Psychol Med. 2008

[3] Perciavalle, Blandini etc. The role of deep breathing on stress. University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 2016

[4] André Christophe. Proper breathing brings better health. Scientific American Jan 15th 2019

 

Make breathing exercises a health habit

Make breathing exercises a health habit

Do you know what it feels like to have a stress free body, relaxed shoulders and to breathe lightly and effortlessly? Have you ever considered how crucial breathing and the oxygen it delivers is to how our bodies function? Our understanding about human bodies and its mechanisms increases constantly. This year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was given to discoveries on how cells adapt to oxygen availability. The significance of these discoveries is based on the physiological effects of oxygen availability on health and certain illnesses. This research has broadened our understanding of the mechanisms connected with oxygen availability. With that said, I’d like to bring up one of the easiest ways of affecting our bodies and stress levels positively – Breathing.

One of the simplest ways of helping our bodies recover is deep breathing. Something you do constantly throughout your life without even acknowledging can bring along several health benefits when done consciously, with thought. The correlation between breathing and psychological stress, as well as their correlation with the use of health services has been studied in Finland, too. By doing breathing exercises we can also improve our concentration and prevent insomnia. Breathing has several effects on our health because by breathing we affect our parasympathetic nervous system which affects how our bodies feel. Studies show that with the help of deep breathing we can lower our heart rate and the level of stress hormones measured from saliva. The stress and emotions we feel affect our bodies in different ways, but it’s also possible to use our bodies to affect how we feel. For example, stress makes our breathing more shallow but by breathing deep we can affect our feeling of stress.

The simplest way to explain what deep breathing is that it’s breathing deep while controlling your breath. There are many different kinds of breathing techniques and exercises. Here is an easy exercise that will get you started:

Settle into a comfortable position so that you can relax, focus and take a moment to yourself. You can close your eyes if it feels right. Breathe in slowly while counting to six. Breathe out slowly while counting to six, and hold your breath while counting to two. Repeat the previous steps; breathe in counting to six, breathe out and count to six, hold your breath. Repeat while drawing a rectangle in your mind. The long sides of the rectangles are breaths in and out, hold your breath during the short sides. Start practicing in small bits and increase the total time as you progress. Eventually you can extend the length of your breaths in and out and count to ten. Even just a few minutes of breathing is a good start. 

Once you’ve gotten a good start you can try different exercises and gradually increase the total time of each exercise. You’ll receive the greatest benefit by making breathing exercises a daily habit. By drawing the rectangle in your mind as you go your mind has something to focus on and you’ll be less distracted.

When you’re doing the exercises it’s good to remember to relax your midriff. If you’re tense your breathing will not be optimal. Try to direct your breathing to your ribs and lower abdomen rather than your shoulders. Breathe in through your nose, and breathe out either through your nose or mouth. You can let your thoughts come and go, or focus on an imagined figure like in the previous exercise. You may feel it’s hard to get started or it may feel uncomfortable, but keep in mind that the more difficult it feels to do breathing exercises the more you need them. Repetition is key and the more often you do the exercises, the faster you’ll start reaping in the benefits. Once you teach yourself these skills you can take your moment to breathe anywhere, even if your surroundings aren’t optimal for a calm moment.

Here are some exercises you can try once you’ve made some progress:

  • 4-6-8 exercise: Breathe in while counting to four, hold your breath while counting to six and breathe out while counting to eight.
  • Midriff breathing: Lay one hand down on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Breathe in a manner where only your abdomen is moving and chest stays as still as possible.
  • Effective breaths out: Breathe out very slow, long breaths emptying your lungs completely. Pay attention to how your breath in is completely automatic and effortless after breathing out effectively.
  • Yoga breath exercise: Sit in a comfortable position and place your index finger on your other nostril blocking the airway. Breathe in and switch your finger to the other side. Breathe in again and without switching sides breathe out. Repeat this and switch nostrils as you go.

If you want to mix it up try doing these exercises in different positions from time to time. Take your relaxation and recovery into your own hands and complete a breathing exercise at least once a day. With your example you can encourage your colleagues and make breathing exercises a healthy habit in your work community.

Written by:

Mia Bäck
Sports instructor (Bachelor), Health Coach, NLP Practitioner and Pilates Health coach.

Mia works as an advisor for physical training and health coach with people of all ages. Mia believes that we can affect most of our health issues with our health choices. She challenges people to take responsibility for their own well-being through small actions to achieve a holistic and balanced feeling of wellness and satisfaction.

Sources:
1. Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019. Nobel Media AB 2019. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2019/press-release/
2. Selinheimo, Vasankari etc. The association of psychological factors and healthcare use with the discrepancy between subjective and objective respiratory-health complaints in the general population. Psychol Med. 2008
3. Perciavalle, Blandini etc. The role of deep breathing on stress. University of Catania, Catania, Italy. 2016
4. André Christophe. Proper breathing brings better health. Scientific American Jan 15th 2019

 

Fem steg till bättre återhämtning

Fem steg till bättre återhämtning

Åtta timmars sömn garanterar inte tillräcklig vila och återhämtning i en hektisk vardag där vi måste lära oss nya saker allt snabbare och arbetet ofta är spritt över dagen. Det lönar sig att ha en proaktiv inställning till återhämtning och vila, precis som till träning och annan typ av personlig utveckling. En aktiv och medveten återhämtningsrutin utvecklar din återhämtningsförmåga och leder till mer bestående resultat.

När det gäller förändring kommer det bästa resultatet sällan genom plötsliga omvälvningar. Som flera studier har konstaterat är mikroåtgärder mer benägna att leda till bestående livsstilsförändringar än extrema och plötsliga förändringar. Det viktiga är att bygga goda vanor och rutiner. Men vad är det bästa sättet att lägga till mer återhämtning och vila i vardagen?

En bra utgångspunkt är att undvika alkohol, ohälsosam mat och negativ stress. Tänk också på en god sömnkvalitet, fysisk aktivitet och en varierad kost. För att inta ett mer proaktivt förhållningssätt till återhämtning och mentalt välbefinnande bör du fundera på följande saker:

  1. Attityd och motivation

Tillräcklig återhämtning och vila kräver att vår motivation bygger på en genuin vilja att förändras och att förstå fördelarna med det vi gör. Allt börjar från strukturer, från rötterna. Om vi inte har rötterna stadigt i marken, faller vi redan under den första stormen.

Vårt engagemang att förändras blir ytligt om vi inte tror på det och erkänner för oss själva att förändring är nödvändigt för vårt eget välbefinnande. Då återgår vi lätt till gamla vanor efter en kort rusch. För att hitta vår egen inre motivation, måste vi släppa yttre förväntningar och fokusera på vad vi själva behöver för att orka bättre. Ingen annan kan ta hand om vårt välbefinnande om vi inte själva tar ansvar först.

  1. Att ta och att välja bort ansvar

Vad innebär det egentligen att ta ansvar för sitt eget välbefinnande? Det handlar inte bara om att bära ansvar för våra egna handlingar och att godkänna konsekvenserna. Ansvar handlar också om vår attityd och hur vi förhåller oss till vår omgivning.

Vi väljer varje dag hur vi förhåller oss till exempel till morgonrusningen eller en jobbig kollega.  Hur vi hanterar de här sakerna är på vårt eget ansvar.

När vi inser att vi inte alltid kan påverka vår omgivning, kan vi befria oss från onödig oro och fokusera på det väsentliga. Det här frigör också resurser för saker som är viktiga för oss och förbättrar balansen i vardagen.

  1. En sak i taget

Vi behöver inte göra allt med en gång – och det ska vi inte heller. När vi fått för lite tid till återhämtning och sömn och i stället gör allt för att prestera, börjar vi lätt ta på oss för mycket på samma gång. Vi arbetar inte lika effektivt, vilket i sin tur ökar den mentala belastningen. Resultatet är ett ekorrhjul av otillräcklig vila, hjältelika prestationer och ineffektivitet.

Arbetet har under de senaste åren blivit mer självstyrande, och fler och fler bestämmer till stor del själva sina egna arbetsmetoder och tider. Kulturförändringen har varit så snabb att även arbetsledare står inför nya typer av utmaningar.

Att schemalägga sina uppgifter i en kalender är ett steg i rätt riktning. När vi reserverat en viss tid för våra uppgifter i kalendern, behöver vi inte hela tiden försöka komma ihåg uppgifter och tider utantill. Om vi bara försöker organisera dagens uppgifter i huvudet eller på att-göra-listor, är det lättare att de förblir ogjorda. I en kalender som delas av organisationen ser även kollegorna när vi är upptagna, vilket gör att det blir färre onödiga avbrott och att den gemensamma tiden blir lättare att koordinera.

  1. Lyssna på dig själv

Ibland måste man stanna upp eller åtminstone sakta ner. Att pressa sig själv till det yttersta är inte bra för någon. Ta en fem minuters paus under arbetsdagen och fokusera på andningen. Ta en kort promenad runt kvarteret. Lyssna på avkopplande ljud. Spring lite i trapporna.

Det bästa sättet att återhämta sig och koppla av en stund är att lyssna på sin egen kropp och själ. Att prestera och att bestraffa dig själv för att du tar en lätt promenad i skogen i stället för ett krävande gympass gör mer skada än nytta. Var barmhärtig mot dig själv och gör det som känns rätt i stunden.

  1. Be om hjälp

Om situationen redan har nått en punkt där hopplösheten och tröttheten känns för stor för att övervinna på egen hand, samla mod och be om hjälp. Tecken på utbrändhet är bland annat ständig trötthet, avsaknad av betydelsefullhet och mening i arbetet, försämrad initiativförmåga och andra stressymptom.

Ungefär en fjärdedel av befolkningen upplever utbrändhet minst en gång i livet, och ju tidigare man reagerar desto lättare blir det att göra något åt situationen. Ibland kan det räcka med att prata med en god vän för att få ordning på saker och ting och må bättre. Ibland behövs professionell hjälp.

Att frigöra sig från onödig belastning är ett steg mot bättre återhämtning och en mer bestående balans. Dessutom måste vi våga prioritera vårt mentala välbefinnande. Oavsett livssituation och bransch är tillräcklig mental och fysisk återhämtning en förutsättning för att vi ska orka och må bra på jobbet. 

AlvinOne är ett personligt verktyg för anställda som hjälper dem att följa sitt eget välbefinnande. AlvinOnes maskininlärningsalgoritm förutser kommande hälsorisker, och hälsoanalysredskapet analyserar det aktuella hälsotillståndet och ger hälsofrämjande råd. AlvinOne kan också skicka rekommendationer till användaren om tjänster som arbetsgivaren erbjuder på basen av hälsoanalysen. För HR och ledning gör AlvinOne analyser på gruppnivå om personalens välbefinnande till stöd för beslutsfattandet.

Av: Johanna Varje

Five tips for better rest and recovery

Five tips for better rest and recovery

Eight hours of sleep doesn’t guarantee sufficient rest and recovery in our hectic day-to-day lives. The speed at which we have to absorb new information and how our work days often leave us feeling scattered doesn’t help. A proactive stance toward rest and recovery is beneficial, just as it is with exercise and in other areas of personal development. Building our recovery routines actively and systematically develops our recovery skills and leads to long-lasting results.

When we talk about change, turning everything upside down all at once rarely leads to the best outcome. As several studies have concluded, micro-actions lead to lasting changes in behaviour better than extreme U turns. Building sustainable, healthy habits is key. But where do we begin when we want to add rest and recovery into our everyday lives?

A good place to start this journey is to avoid alcohol, junk food and negative stress. We should also pay attention to the quality of our sleep, physical activity and eating energising foods. In order to assume a proactive attitude toward recovery and mental well-being, we should also consider the following.

  1. Attitude and motivation

Sufficient recovery and rest requires that our motivation is well founded and based on genuine desire for change. Everything starts at the roots. If our roots aren’t grounded we risk falling during the first storm.

Commiting to change remains shallow if we don’t admit the necessity of change and accept that our well-being is at stake. Making changes without sincere commitment often leads to a temporary spurt and then we return to our old ways quickly. In order to find our inner motivation, we have to let go of outside expectations and focus on our personal needs. No one else can do this for us, we have to be responsible for our well-being first.

  1. Taking responsibility and letting go

What does being responsible for our well-being really mean? Be resposnible for our well-being doesn’t only mean owning our actions or accepting their consequences. Taking responsibility also includes our attitude toward the surrounding world.

Every day we choose how we react to morning traffic jams or an annoying colleague. The way we react is up to us.

When we understand and accept we can’t always affect our surroundings or other people, we can let go and stop using our resources on them. This enables us to focus on what’s important and relevant to us, and as a result it improves the balance of our day-to-day lives. 

  1. One step at a time

We don’t need to do everything all at once. In fact, we shouldn’t even try to. When we haven’t taken enough time to rest and recover, and our pace is based on maximising achievement, we often take on too much at a time. Overwhelming ourselves with too many things makes us ineffective, which in turn makes us feel even more overwhelmed. It quickly spirals into a vicious circle of insufficient rest, a heroic-like attitude toward achievement and inefficiency.

Today’s working life also requires more self-determination from employees than before. Individuals are increasingly in charge of their own work methods and schedules. The change in culture and attitudes has been so fast that leadership and management are also facing completely new challenges.

Timing your tasks into a calendar is a step in the right direction. By assigning slots for tasks we don’t have to try to remember everything all the time and can trust tasks will be completed in time, as long as we adhere to our calendars. It’s also easier to slip up on our tasks if they only exist in our minds or personal to-do lists. By using a shared calendar with our organisation our colleagues can see when we’re busy, and unnecessary interruptions decrease and coordinating our joint time becomes easier.

  1. Listen to yourself

Sometimes we just have to stop, or at least just slow down. Wearing yourself out doesn’t benefit anyone. Let’s remember to take a 5-minute break during the work day to do a breathing exercise. Let’s take a walk around the block and listen to relaxing sounds. Let’s run up and down the stairs to the office.

The best way add restful moments to our day to listen to our bodies and minds. Constant achieving and punishing yourself for not meeting someone else’s standards is useless. Sometimes that calm walk in the forest does more for your well-being than an hour-long gym workout. Let’s be kind to ourselves and do what feels right.

  1. Ask for help

If we reach a point where exhaustion and hopelessness feel like unbeatable obstacles, let’s ask for help. Signs of burnout include constant fatigue, a feeling of meaninglessness, loss of passion toward your work, decreased ability to take initiative and other stress symptoms. 

About 25% of us suffer from a burnout at some stage in our lives. The earlier we react, the easier it is to start healing. Sometimes just a good conversation with a friend can do wonders for our minds. At other times we may need help from a professional.

Letting go of being responsible for things we can’t affect is a commendable leap toward better recovery and a healthier balance. In addition, we have to have the courage and will to prioritise the well-being of our mind. No matter where we are in life, which field we work in, the sufficient rest and recovery of our bodies and minds is a prerequisite for our well-being, ability to work and coping with stress.

AlvinOne is a personal tool for employees to track their well-being. AlvinOne’s machine-learning algorithm predicts future risks. The AlvinOne Health Analysis depicts users’ current state of health and provides feedback on how they can improve it. AlvinOne may also send its users recommendations to use services offered by the employer  based on the results from the AlvinOne Health Analysis. Alvinone provides anonymised group level analytics for HR and management to support data-driven decision-making. Book a demo here.

Author: Johanna Varje

How to survive the winter blues

How to survive the winter blues

According to some, it’s impossible to stay in Finland for the entire winter without losing your mind. The social media in Finland is filled with people complaining about how dark it is. The light we have is gray. Th sun sets early in the afternoon. This is Finland.

Approximately 30% of Finns become gloomier than normal at the end of fall, as the amount of natural light decreases. Actual seasonal affective disorder caused by the winter’s darkness is much less common – only about 5% of the nation is affected by it – but most of us feel a bit less cheery and feel the need to resort to comfort food and sweets to feel better. We feel tired and might need several more hours of sleep per night and cannot resist the cakes and chocolate.

There is no reason to lose hope entirely, although you see the sun much less than during the summer. (North of the Polar Circle the sun doesn’t rise at all during the winter months.)

There are some ways that have been proven to make you feel better during the dark season. Spending time outside during the light hours of the day, exercise and taking care of social relationships – although you instinctively want to wrap yourself in a blanket and watch Netflix all night long – help make you feel better. Some find light therapy lamps helpful as well.

Studies say that as many as four out of five people feel better during the dark season when using light therapy in a correct way. Best results are achieved when using the light from a half an hour to an hour daily, and when you are exposed to the light as early as possible in the morning.

Getting along with the darkness might help too. Maybe the darkness is here to remind us not to constantly demand full energy levels and maximum results from ourselves. It’s ok to sleep a little longer and take it easier during the darkest months.

Try these tips when battling the gloominess winter months in the north might bring:

1. Light therapy treatment

According to studies, this is the fastest and most effective way to treat symptoms brought out by the dark season. For results, the light needs to be directed to your brain through the eyes. You don’t need to stare directly in to the light, having breakfast or reading a book near the light does the trick.

2. The outdoors

There may not be many hours of daylight, but you should take use of them by going outside. Make tomorrow’s meeting a walking meeting or schedule a lunch in a deli a bit further away. Use a part of your break to catch some daylight outside. The morning hours are most effective for soaking in some daylight.

3. Don’t become a hermit

When you’re feeling tired the appeal of the sofa might be very strong, but don’t forget to spend some time with people close to you as well. The well-being of your social relationships has an effect on your overall well-being as well, not the least during the winter’s darkness.

15 minutes can make a difference!

15 minutes can make a difference!

Have you noticed how more and more celebrities tell they’ve moved from hard-core workouts to more gentle ways of exercise? New information on the health effects of physical activity has led to all the more people choosing a lighter and softer way to stay in motion.

Children need a lot of exercise, and naturally move along the day while they are playing. There are aspects in the way children move that we adults should learn some lessons from. Health-enhancing physical activity is different from exercise and training, and requires less effort than sweating breathless at the gym. Including both of them in your life is good for your health, but adding more physical activity to your day is a good place to start.

Any kind of motion and exercise that has positive effects to your health can be called health-enhancing physical activity. It might include physical strain at work, walks in the park, riding your bike to work, dancing or stretching. Having good aerobic fitness helps you feel better and stay active.

We’re not all top athletes, but we all want to stay healthy and active. New studies say this can be achieved with a small amount of exercise: adding even 15 minutes of light exercise to your day is beneficial to your health. Nevertheless, adults who are physically active for one or one and a half hours daily gain the most benefits. The more versatile our exercise is, the better we feel.

Exercise is proven to have several beneficial effects on our health, both physical and mental. Regular, moderate exercise is also proven to help prevent certain illnesses.

Some effects of health-enhancing physical activity can be seen immediately during exercise. Your heart rate rises, your breathing becomes more effective, the metabolism in your bones and joints speeds up, your muscles receive more oxygen and the blood circulation in your brain increases. This is why taking a walk outside makes you feel like your thoughts clear up, which makes walking meetings an excellent way to gather new ideas and suggestions at a workplace. Exercise breaks are also becoming more common at the workplace are an easy way to add that 15 minutes of exercise to your day. They also keep you alert and productive throughout your work day.

In addition to this, adding physical activity to your day improves the quality of your sleep. Moderate activity might have a positive affect on symptoms of sleeping disorders in just a couple of months. It’s definitely worth a try!

Did your holiday end too soon?

Did your holiday end too soon?

If going back to work after the summer holidays makes you anxious instead of excited, try our tips for feeling better about it. Maybe they’ll make it a little easier.

One more week of your holiday left, but you’re already feeling a little weepy and depressed? Many of us feel anxious about going back to work. Sometimes going back to your every day routines makes you feel low even if your workplace is fun or you’re studying for your dream job.

Holidays are about taking it easy: you might sleep longer in the mornings, go to bed later at night, drink more wine than usually and eat less healthy. All of the sudden you should be able to go to sleep in time and wake up early. Will there be any time left for other things than work?

Studies show that women are more prone to feeling low and anxious at the end of their holidays than men. Returning to work is also harder for younger people. More than half of people between the ages of 18 and 22 experience anxiety at the end of their holidays.

Spending time with your friends and family, adding exercise to your day and cutting down on alcohol consumption can make the return to every day life a little easier.

Experts also say it’s easier to go back to work if you prepare for it before you start your holidays. It’s good to prioritise the work you need to get done before your holiday starts and make a list of a couple of the most important things you should start with when you return. It gives going back to work a more controlled feeling.

It might also be good to think about what you think makes a good holiday in advance. You won’t have time for everything – and you shouldn’t try to – but making some plans gives your holiday structure. On your holiday you can live exactly the kind of life you value. If your family and friends are what’s most important to you, now you have the chance to fully focus on them.

Here are some tips to make it easier to return to work:
1. Start giving structure to your days before you holiday is over for example by going to sleep and waking up earlier, and by keeping your meal times regular.
2. Try having an easy start when going back to work. If possible, don’t book the most challenging tasks, meetings and decisions for your first week.
3. Some studies suggest having several shorter holidays is better for your wellbeing than one long holiday. The relaxation our holiday provides you is long gone in a couple of weeks after returning to work. Try dividing your next holiday into shorter periods throughout the year.
4. Your holiday is over, but life goes on. Do fun stuff after work, go outdoors and enjoy your hobbies, the nature and spending time with your loved ones.
5. Peer support is a powerful tool. You’re not the only one coming back to work. You can share your holiday highlights and your best tips on how to make it easier to return to every day life.

Hooked

Hooked

Are you addicted to your phone? Afternoon donuts? Maybe on the music of your favorite band? Being hooked on something is often joked about, but addictions that have a negative impact on your life are often more long-term needs that control your life than following a good TV series.

A common factor to all harmful addictions is that they start to control your thoughts and replace other important things in life. Life yields, addiction takes over.

Nearly all of us have experienced being hooked on something. If you haven’t at some point been addicted to games, sex, work, your mobile phone, running, eating or any other action or substance yourself, you definitely know someone who has.

Challenging situations in life, inherited qualities and learned habits have an effect on the development of addictions, but the prevailing attitudes and values around you also make a difference. If all your closest colleagues take drugs, it becomes the new normal and thus more tempting to try yourself.

The same goes with other addictions as well. If your friends all count their calories and carbs or take their exercise so seriously that missing one day at the gym or having an ice cream becomes larger than life, you may start to think life should revolve around eating or exercise.

A harmless routine meant to add to your well-being may go from being a blessing to a curse. The addiction turns your secret lover into a prison guard. It becomes the epicenter of your life and makes you its slave.

Addiction often arises from the need to find pleasure and escaping feelings that make you uncomfortable. The goal in a healthy adulthood should be in being able to live with all kinds of feelings. Feelings themselves are not dangerous.

Escaping your feelings and reaching for short-term pleasure from addictive sources can, in the long run, be dangerous. Addictions at their most serious can destroy your health and ability of life management, and they can cause serious consequences not only to you, but your loved ones.

In many cases an addict can break free on their own, but that’s not always possible. If you have trouble with life management and dealing with your feelings, the addiction might simply shift focus to another source. Many need help to break free from addiction. Experts recommend counselling and peer support when the addiction is severe.

It is also important to find new sources of pleasure. With addiction, one source of pleasure is so strong that it overcomes all others. When you learn to direct your need for pleasure to several different sources more equally, the original addiction weakens.

Feeling awake at work

Feeling awake at work

Have you ever tried to hide a yawn in a meeting or dreamed of taking just a tiny nap under your desk? When is the last time you asked your co-worker to top up your coffee mug just to stay awake?

Being tired during the day is frustrating, but the most frustrating thing about it’s often self-induced. Getting enough sleep, exercise and avoiding alcohol have a crucial role in making sure you have energy during the day. It’s important to take enough time for recovery after a workday by making a clear distinction between work and free time.

Most of us don’t want to be remembered as the one who always answered work emails, whether it was Sunday or midnight. Every now and then it’s important to get your mind off work completely and let your brain rest by spending time with loved ones, exercising, going outdoors and enjoying your hobbies. Remember to use your lunch and coffee breaks to give your brain a rest during the day.

Drinking ten cans of energy drinks and three pints of coffee is not the only way to feel fresh and awake at work. We listed five of our best tips on how to avoid afternoon fatigue and feel more alert.

1. Drink water. You need to drink about 8 glasses of water per day, so it’s good to have a sip regularly during the day. Start your morning by drinking a glass of water and have one close by at your desk as well.

2. Eat your breakfast. Too many adults try to save time in the morning by skipping breakfast, but that’s a sure way to take your blood sugar levels for a roller coaster ride. People need a regular eating pattern – even grown-ups.

3. Listen to music. Music improves your concentration and keeps you awake.

4. Schedule a walking meeting or take a break and go out for a walk. Just walking around the block freshens you up – you feel more focused and alert. Natural light is good for you, so even though walking around at the office is good for you too, it’s even better to go outside. A standing desk or making changes to your workstation gives you an energy boost.

5. Schedule time for worrying. Take 15 minutes and just worry. Write down all the things troubling you that you haven’t solved yet. You can also plan a schedule for taking care of them and think of different solutions. If you don’t do this during the day you most likely will after you’ve gone to bed, making it harder to fall asleep.

Make your New Year’s resolution last

Make your New Year’s resolution last

We are a couple of weeks into the new year, and it is time to look back on New Year’s Eve, the night filled with fireworks and sparkling wine. The next morning, if not earlier, you decided this will be the year of changes.

People are most likely to make resolutions such as getting in shape, starting to exercise regularly, improving their diet, and spending more time with their loved ones. These are good goals that have a positive effect on your wellbeing as well as your performance at work.

Exercise is the number one thing you can do to improve your health. The one sitting at their office desk the latest is not the most effective employee. The most effective employees are often the ones who takes cares care of themselves. How well have you been able to keep your resolutions during the first few weeks of the new year?

Making your resolution realistic and as precise as possible gives you the best chance at reaching your goals. Instead of saying “I want to be a better person, and this is going to be the best year of my life!” it’s good to make your goals more tangible and measurable. Say you’ll exercise once a week, go to sleep at 11 pm on working nights or that you’ll choose water instead of a soda at lunch.

Everything doesn’t have to happen at once when you start your journey towards a better life. It’s not about achieving the body of a fitness model by this summer or giving up alcohol for life; even smaller changes make a difference. But if you already made the promise to stop consuming sugar and alcohol, losing 40 pounds and that you will be a perfect friend, spouse and parent, don’t panic!

We often set our goals too high when we want to achieve a healthier life, which is why reaching them might become too hard. Slipping from your rules and having setbacks doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It only means you should re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and customized for your life.

Living healthy does not mean you have to say no to everything; after all, most of us don’t need to have the body of a swimsuit model. A piece of cake or a glass of wine every now and then doesn’t cancel out all your other healthy choices.

When you make a resolution, concentrate on the expected results. Think of what you gain by the changes you make, not about what you have to give up.

It’s important to make resolutions that fit your own values and make you feel excited about achieving them. If the motivation does not come from inside, the results won’t last. Changing your life should feel good! When your goal fits your values, is the right size, flexible, and measurable, you will see progress. Cheers to that!