>Strength for the Journey – staying fit!


Running with Seagulls
You wouldn’t be wasting time reading this if you were not committed to doing something interesting and worthwhile after leaving the Public Sector. 
You are engaged in a most important task – ensuring the best possible future for you and for those close to you.  This major project will be challenging to manage and making sure it is success will require both your energy and your commitment! 
You need to do your best to make sure you are fit for the task – I mean physically and mentally fit!
You are going through what for most people is a deeply stressful experience. Sometimes people turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping, or they may overeat. Unfortunately all of those just provide a short-term fix at the cost of long term physical and mental damage. (I’m not even going to mention smoking!) 
If you are serious about Project You, you just can’t afford those options!   
There are lots of simple relaxation techniques around.  But I’ve put one at the end of this post anyway. 
Sometimes playing a game that keeps your mind working (rather than watching TV) can be a way to relax even if it is just Scrabble on Facebook. I have a NintendoDS and my word can’t that while away the hours and the tension!
This might also be the time to make some simple change in your overall life style that have worked for others.
Replace coffee with tea! In a recent study,   researchers found that drinking a cup of tea 4-6 times a day reduces stress hormone levels in your body. The study’s results suggest “drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life.” In any case drink lots of water – 8 glasses a day is recommended.
Eat a balanced diet – plenty of vegetables and complex carbohydrates!  Cut out the fat, salt and sugar and eat small meals at frequent and regular intervals.
Get some exercise every day, even if much of your day is spent in the home office working on Project You! Get out for a daily walk at the very least. Getting outside for some fresh air, a change of scenery, and a quick walk to get your blood going, will do wonders for your mood and motivation.   
Now is not the time to cut yourself off from company, I will be writing here about networking shortly.  In the meantime make sure you stay in touch with your old friends. Remember so many people have suffered the indignity of being made redundant that you are likely to be treated with a lot of understanding by old friends and colleagues, if that is what has happened. 
Now here is that relaxation technique I mentioned.
Relaxed breathing 

Practise deep breathing at a regular time and in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Loosen or remove any tight clothes and make yourself comfortable! 

If you can, sit in a comfortable chair which supports your head or lie on the floor or bed. Place your arms on the chair arms, or flat on the floor or bed, a little bit away from the side of your body with the palms up. 

If you’re lying down, stretch out your legs, keeping them hip-width apart or slightly wider. If you’re sitting in a chair, don’t cross your legs.
Good relaxation always starts with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down.
·         Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly.
·         Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing.
·         Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom.
·         Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first).
·         Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.
·         Keep doing this until you feel calm.
·         Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.
While you are doing this concentrate completely on your breathing – let the thought of your breath fill you heart and mind completely! 
You will be surprised by the power of this very simple technique which you can use any time and in more or less any place.  Please try it and let me know what you think!

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