I was listening to an interview on Hay House Radio the other day with John Gray, the author of the best selling book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. He was talking about stress and how men and women deal with it differently. He was talking about a test where men and women had the blood flow to their brain measured whilst sitting on the sofa after a day's work. Women had more brain activity showing than men. When asked what the women were thinking about they generally said something like "all the things I should be doing other than sitting here". The men mostly said "nothing".
Unfortunately it's just in our make up that women find it harder to switch off. Gray was saying that once the sun has gone down and the work day is over, when nothing more can be done until the next day men can often just relax more easily. Women on the other hand will keep thinking about it all.
So what can we do to help ourselves switch off. Men if you are still reading, take some notes so you can help the women in your life!
1) Brain dump. We all love a list! Before you finish work for the day write down everything that needs to be done the next day and prioritise the things you need to do first. That way you are left with a sense of being organised for the morning, it stops you from leaving in a rush and needing to think about it when you would rather be to be switching off.
2) Plan something completely different to do in the evening, that is preferably relaxing as well. Maybe some yoga, pilates, art class or a meditation group. Something that will help you to think about something completely different.
3) Cut down on alcohol. I know some of you will be disagreeing with me right now as a glass of wine feels like it actually helps you to switch off. But does it really? Do you drink wine and then just talk about what you are stressed about all night anyway? The high sugar content in alcohol can lead to insomnia, or a very disturbed sleep, which will make you feel worse in the morning. Lack of clear head the next day could then make your day even harder work and it then becomes a never ending cycle.
4) Try reading instead of watching TV. Some times its very easy just to stare at a TV but not actually pay any attention, getting lost in thoughts elsewhere. However when you are really stuck into a good book your mind can be totally transported in to another world and time can just fly by.
5) Turn your computer/ smart phone off. The constant need to check emails and social media sites is totally addictive and we can find it hard not to reply to messages immediately. If they are work messages they can wait until the morning, be firm with yourself, you deserve a life too. Life balance is important for your health, and sanity!
6) Already mentioned above but worth a point all of it's own too, exercise. Exercise what ever form works for you helps to get you out of your mind into your body. Of course I will promote yoga as it really does help you to connect with your body and breath which naturally helps you to relax. However I also love Zumba, focusing on what steps to take next and the fun dance music will not leave any space for thoughts about your day.
Just for the next week look at you diary and plan something different for the evenings, something that will help you to switch off for a few hours. Then pay attention to any shifts in how you feel this creates.