Days in the office can be exhausting. Whether you’re physically running around to meetings or focusing your mental energy on very specific and detailed tasks for hours at a time, being a leader is no mean feat. As such, it is important to set aside time to take care of your body and your mind so that you don’t burn yourself out.
For many, meditation or exercise is an excellent way of de-stressing the body, so you can rejuvenate and prepare for the next day. To find out what approaches work, and why, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
What form of meditation or exercise do you prefer for clearing your mind and recharging your batteries?
Here are their preferred methods:
I prefer yin yoga to clear my mind and recharge after a stressful day. Yin is a form of restorative yoga with a meditation influence. Yin yoga requires you to hold each pose for two to five minutes. The increased hold time allows your muscles to become more relaxed and provide for a deeper stretch. The long poses also provide the opportunity to clear your mind and meditate during each hold.
Any kind of exercise that takes you out of your stressed mindset is great for your brain. I prefer yoga but am trying to make time for running! These exercises keep you focused on what’s happening right at that moment, not what you’re stressing about.
I have been practicing transcendental meditation for over a year now and found that it has not only helped me with work-life balance but also my creative thinking and problem-solving. I recommend any form of meditation to anybody, especially busy entrepreneurs trying to handle stress.
I go to a local meditation group which does dynamic meditation. It has five stages of 10 minutes each: exhale from nose, shout loudly, jump on the feet with sound, silence and dance. It really helps overcome my stress and I do it twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday. It really works for the modern mind since we try to tackle so many things in one go. If you can’t do silent meditation, try dynamic.
Weight training isn’t just for meatheads — there’s something primally refreshing about pushing your body to its absolute limits of strength. The benefits of heavy, compound weightlifting (deadlifts, squats and bench presses) are well-documented for both physical and mental health: A 2018 New York Times article showed that consistent training contributed to prevention and decrease of depression.
I’ve found that practicing mindfulness is just as beneficial, if not more, than typical meditation. For 15 minutes out of every day, I actively unplug from my phone, email, computer and other like-minded devices or platforms, and be present with my thoughts. I play an observant role, whether it is at a coffee shop, a walk around my office building or at lunch, and take in my surroundings.
I do something physically intense, like CrossFit. I will keep thinking about work if I’m jogging, but the intensity of CrossFit forces my brain to take a break!
High-intensity interval training sounds like the opposite of meditation, but working up a sweat and getting your body worked up is the best way for me to recharge my batteries and feel refreshed. Long work days of sitting at a desk and computer get old fast, so working toward getting my heart rate up helps me focus for what’s ahead.
I love to go on weekend endurance runs to clear my head and de-stress. I generally go on a 90-minute run on Friday afternoons/evenings and then two-hour runs on Sunday afternoons to prepare for the following week.
When you are very stressed or have had one of those long days, the best thing to do is to hit a punching bag. That really lets go of all of that energy and recharge back up. Sometimes the bag is not available, so I resort to running and listening to music while doing so. This really gets your mind and body on a different level and allows you to relax and regain your attitude.
To me, walking outside in the fresh air is the best meditation. This is my selfish time, during which I let my mind wander by simply observing the world around me. Sometimes during the long walks, my mind generates amazing ideas or finds solutions to some problems, which I couldn’t figure out otherwise. Other times I just mentally relax and recharge.