Do you seriously love your bed? I do too. And that’s OK. You see, that bed of yours is not just a place for snoozing, Netflix marathons and mobile chats with your posse - your mecca of relaxation can also be home to self-improvement, productivity, and spiritual wellbeing.
For me, soft lighting, scented candles, Angus & Julia Stone on rotation, crisp fresh sheets post bubble bath...well that's my ultimate relaxation at the end of a challenging day. Lingering that extra 30 minutes next morning, Nespresso in hand, a gentle way to acquaint with the coming day.
Next time you’re tempted to turn in early or can’t entertain the thought of getting out from under the covers just yet, stop feeling guilty and try one of these ways to make the most of your time in bed.
It's well known that deep breathing exercises provide positive mental and physical benefits, from stimulating the lymphatic system and increasing blood flow to reducing fatigue, alleviating stress and reeling back anxiety. All from the comfort of your beloved bed!
Experts recommend first exhaling any remaining breath in your lungs so that you can take the deepest breath possible. Then, breathe in through your nose for three seconds, hold for three seconds, and exhale for six seconds. Repeat at least three times and reap the benefits.
2) Clear the Head
For me meditation can be quite challenging. The minute I try my brain's like 'Old MacDonald had a farm ei ei oh look a squirrel cornflakes blue sky heyyy Macarena!' But the benefits you can reap from even a few minutes of meditation are seriously fabulous, for who doesn't want to ease stress and anxiety, increase long term focus, open previously unknown creative centers in the mind? Worth a try don't you think?
Needing a little help to get going I turned to an elegant little app called 'Buddify'. No need to get out of bed—just get comfy and use the five, 10, or 20 minute meditation journeys to jump start self-improvement, success, and productivity. Want to get serious? Try the renowned 'Headspace' app - and be guided along the path to enlightenment by the dulcet tones of Andy.
Sure I personally love to write, however everyone can benefit. Reflecting on the day and jotting down key memories, inner thoughts and fleeting ideas can clear the mind for deeper thinking. While sleeping the subconscious goes to work and often upon wa
king, ideas and solutions start flowing. Studies show that keeping a regular journal as an adult can actually supercharge your productivity. (see post Oh the Mighty Word)
Alternatively? Write first thing in the morning. A method called morning pages recommends writing 750 words in a stream of consciousness when you first rise. A great way to clear your head, so you can focus on what is most important for the day.
I keep a hardy journal that includes a mix of blank pages, some dotted, others plain by my bedside. It's riddled with quotes, inspiring ideas, doodles, plans and strategies from my restless pen. Going paperless? Try 'Paper' by FiftyThree or 'Bamboo Paper' both nifty little apps ideal for note taking, doodling and sketching.
Experts recommend using a weekly planning system to get your thoughts, to-dos, and schedule organized. Grab that planner or computer and spend a few extra minutes under the covers organizing your time for the next few days or week.
Be sure to block out time for goal setting, refocusing, and even resetting your brain between those important meetings and concrete tasks.
A list person? Try the 'Reminders' app. Need more? I love 'aNote' app for quick jots and 'Daily Notes' for journaling and both connect with 'Evernote' the seriously super curation app for instant mobility. Love a good brainstorm? 'iThoughts HD' is my favourite big-gun go to here. Check 'em out at your App Store.
One study demonstrated that reading fiction can increase your empathy, helpful for improving relationships with both family and work teams. Improved analytical thinking and memory are also cited among the benefits of reading.
Reading from your iPad or tablet? Research says the short wave length blue light of our electronic devices can disrupt our sleeping patterns. Instead try a good old fashioned book or indulge in a Kindle Touch. I love mine for it emits non disruptive light, I can read in the dark and it turns itself off if I fall asleep. (It also downloads new reads instantly and insanely cheaply from Amazon!)
Reading before bed will help you get in a relaxed mindset beneficial for falling asleep, so that you can wake up and function productively. Unless of course you’re in the middle of a thriller, in which case all bets are off.
Cuddling may not feel associated with productivity, but there are actually surprising benefits that can directly link to your success.
Cuddles release a hormone called oxytocin, which makes you feel good and connected to other people. It boosts the immune system, reduces anxiety and stress, and even lowers the risk of heart disease, such benefits leading to a healthier body and mind. Go on...snuggle up! No need to elaborate on the positive benefits that might lead to :)
The next time you’re feeling guilty about whiling away hours in your bed, have fun with these tips while remembering the relationship between productivity and relaxation—you must have both for a successful career and life. Sweet dreams!
John Hamm (Don Draper - Mad Men)
John Hamm as Don Draper - MadMen. image from http://www.zap2it.com