Are you getting into bed, tossing and turning, finding you can’t sleep, waking up at around 3 am with lists running through your head, finding yourself panicking about things that you really can’t do anything about at 3am and waking up feeling exhausted?  If you are, you are not alone. I am definitely a victim of this.  

When this happens it can be hard to function at work, productivity decreases and we can start to feel agitated and angry very easily.  

These symptoms may be a sign that your brain is working at full speed, your adrenal glands are firing and your body is staying in a constant state of “fight or flight”, which means your sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive.  

So how can we shift from this space and switch off?

You may want to try incorporate these five things into your daily routine to help you switch off...

  1. Sleep on it. we have all heard the saying sleep on it.  We should all listen to that advice.  Sleep can help us organise our thoughts and process the information of the day, improving our problem solving abilities.  This also relieves us of the immediate stress associated with making a decision and finishing the endless task list.  

  2. Legs up against the wall.  Try putting your legs up against the wall for at least 10 minutes at the end of the day before bed.  This engages your parasympathetic nervous system and beings your body into a state of “rest and digest”.   

  3. Take a 15 minute walk in the morning before starting your day. Not only does this kick start your metabolism but it also helps soften your mind before the craziness of the day begins.  You can enter the day set to conquer anything that comes at you.

  4. Take some time at the end of your day to call a friend, family member or your partner and chat.  Use this as a way to decompress your thoughts and try focus on the positive events of the day.

  5. Sit in stillness. Find a space at home, close your eyes and focus on your breath.  This will help calm the chatter of the mind and bring you back to centre.  Start with 3 minutes and see if you can increase it a little every week.

  6. Go to bed early. This one I personally struggle with, but getting into bed early, even if you can’t get to sleep immediately sends a message to the body that it is time for rest.  Try not looking at your phone and reading off that.  Instead grab a book and immerse yourself in the novel.

  7. Write in a journal.  Sometimes we just need to get it all out on paper.  This can be a way to de-clutter the brain and visually see your thoughts on paper.  Get a pen, a little notebook and just start writing down whatever pops into your mind.

  8. Do what the Mediterraneans do. Take the time at night to sit with your partner, friends or family and enjoy a wholesome meal. Find the time to laugh and joke.

Also, don’t forget to smile and give a loved one a big hug daily! Hugging helps release serotonin, the happy hormone!