A woman with a clear ball around her head as if she were in space

Working from home has become the norm for many in 2020. As we are living more insular lives, this holiday season may take specific intention to keep us motivated as well as regulated.

Whether you are a full-time mom, work in the corporate world or are a creative, your work is necessary to the well-being of our world. To operate at our fullest, we need to keep our brains activated and calm. 

Here are six ideas to activate your mind and body:

1. Watch a funny video clip.

The goal here is not endless scrolling. Instead, maybe ask a friend for recommendations or find a clip before you need the reboot. Laughter helps lower fatigue and leads to energy. 

2. Play a game for 10 minutes.

This is not referring to a computer game but one that requires you to use your body. Our family enjoys hookey. This classic ring toss game always makes us laugh, and it gets us moving. It will also allow you to connect with a child or partner, which is good for your brain health.

4. Give yourself a pressure point massage.

There are three simple steps: 1. Stand up straight. 2. Gently massage the pressure point between your thumb and pointer finger for one minute. 3. Switch hands after 30 seconds.

5. Clean out an office drawer or file cabinet.

Any time we can unplug and be productive in a different way, we allow our brains to reboot. Touching physical objects employs our sense of touch and can energize us. 

6. Engage in tabata exercise.

Tabata training is high-intensity interval training or HIIT. HIIT workouts are a favorite for fat burning exercises, but they also stimulate brain function. Spend four minutes rotating between air squats, pushups and sit-ups. Next, do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. You can download a Tabata app on your phone for free to make it easier. It’s just four minutes to stimulate your brain and body! 

Here are five ideas to calm your mind and body:

1. Journal for five minutes.

Grab a pen and paper. Focus on your five senses, and take one minute for each sense describing what you feel, see, hear, smell and taste.

2. Make a playlist of soothing songs.

Play this when you are feeling overwhelmed or overworked. Music does wonders for calming your mind and thoughts. Check out Darling’s playlists on Spotify: Songs to Help You Find Rest and Songs of Joy and Peace.

3. Try the cross crawl.

A cross crawl is a cross-lateral activity in which you cross the midline of the body, such as touching the opposite hand and knee or foot. Some benefits of a cross crawl include re-integrating your brain and nervous system and re-organizing your mind-body connections.In a slow and rhythmic manner, follow these directions: 1. Stand up. 2. Place your right hand across the body to the left knee as you raise it. 3. Do the same thing for the left hand on the right knee just as if you were marching. 4. Do this for two minutes.

4. Try the Wonder Woman pose.

Made iconic by comic book character Wonder Woman, this is a power pose known to reduce anxiety and increase confidence. Stand up, feet shoulder width apart, shoulders back, chest out and with your hands on your hips. Take a deep breath in to fill up your chest. Stand tall. Then, breathe out slowly, letting your chest come down inch by inch. Repeat five times slowly.

5. Do a body scan.

Take time to elevate your body and places where you hold tension. Observing your body’s pain points will allow you to rest those areas better. Take five minutes and start at your toes, moving slowly up your body. What do you notice? Where do you hold tension? Where are you tired? Are there places that feel hot or cold? Do you hold excess energy from sitting?

What are some of your favorite “brain break” ideas? What helps you reenergize during the day?

Image via Sami Drasin, Darling Issue No. 22

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