It’s Monday and as a driver for NTB if your “weekend” falls on a Wednesday and Thursday, Monday can still seem like the longest day of the week. Finding a way that works for you to leave work at work and find peace and tranquility at the end of each day and week will help make life happy.
It Starts with a Deep Breath and a Stretch
Reset mind and body at the end of each day with a good stretch and a series of long deep breaths.
At the end of a long day or night of driving, muscles tighten and fatigue sets in. While yoga may not be your thing, you can reap the benefits of some good stretches in just a few minutes every day.
Start by standing with your feet at hip width apart. Take 5 slow deep breaths, making certain to exhale completely after each breath. Be aware of and release tension starting with your brow, then your face, your shoulders, and your back. Release your tongue from the roof of your mouth.
On your next inhale, raise your arms above your head, then exhale completely. With arms still raised, reach your right arm higher and then your left with each breath, repeating 3 times. You’ll feel a stretch through your sides and low back. Slowly lower your arms back to your sides and allow your shoulders to relax.
Next, place your hands on your hips. With the next breath, gently turn your body from the waist to the right and then to the left. Let your head lead this stretch and exhale with each twist. Again, allow your shoulders to relax.
The last stretch is a forward bend. Allow your upper body to bend at the waist, let your head and neck relax with your arms either hanging straight down in front of you or loosely folded while relaxed. Breathe gently and be mindful of any tension in your neck and shoulders. Stay in this ragdoll pose for 3-5 full breaths.
If any of these stretches make you feel dizzy or are painful, adjust so that there is no pain or stop doing them. It is always advisable to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Do Something You Enjoy
Make plans ahead of time to do something fun. It doesn’t even matter what those plans are, except that they are for you. They can include other people such as friends or family, but they should be something that makes you happy. This way, you’ll have something to look forward to at the end of a long week while creating happy memories to hold you throughout your work week.
Take a hike (we mean that in the nicest way possible)—or a swim, a paddle, or a pedal! The Midwest is loaded with beautiful public use parks. In West Michigan alone, where NTB’s headquarters is located, there are thousands of acres of parks and trails where the air is clear and nature is abundant. From paddling the Grand River or one of the many other rivers, streams, and lakes, to hiking Kent Trails, swimming in Lake Michigan, or mountain biking at Cannonsburg Ski Area, you could set out for a different outdoor adventure every week of the year and still see new places for the first time!
See how much getting out in nature can rejuvenate your soul.
Not the outdoor adventure type? Plan fun meals—whether as an at-home cooking adventure or a plan to discover a new restaurant every week—with friends and family during your days off. Allot yourself a few hours to read a great book or work on a puzzle. Practice journaling—whether at the end of the day or end of the week—to clear your mind and release stress. Make a date with your child or grandchild to have a tea party or throw a ball or whatever makes them happy—because that makes you happy.
Whether you enjoy spending time outdoors or in, make sure you focus on me-time during your time off.
One Last Suggestion
One of the biggest things you can do to relieve stress is to practice gratitude. With each moment that goes by, being thankful for family, a safe shift of driving, and remembering that someone else’s bad day had a reason, we get one step closer to a peaceful mind.
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