There will always be moments in your day when you just want to get away from it all, but if you’re like me, you’ll probably want to take your tech with you! Here’s a shortlist of some of my favourite tools to help me relax, unwind and de-stress in five minutes or less.
1. Rescue your Time
"I'm just too busy!" is something I hear regularly from my friends and understand only too well. In our increasingly fast-paced world, we seem to be capable of doing more with our limited time, thanks to the confluence of our collaborative tech and global minds, but we're often left wondering, are we spending our time doing the most meaningful things to us? Since I spend upwards of eight hours of each day online, understanding how I use my computer goes a long way to help answer this question.
RescueTime is a free computer-based tracking program that will help identify how you spend your time online and pinpoint where your time sucks are. Install it on multiple computers through a single account and it tracks your site visits and time spent on programs whenever you’re active. Programs and websites are categorized by professional and personal activities, (Communication & Scheduling, Social Networking, Business, Reference & Learning, etc.) and individual sites/programs are scored based on productivity.
At first, my days appeared horrifically unproductive until I recategorized Facebook and Twitter as “Professional Networking” activities which increased their score from -2 to a +1. I’m a social media strategist, after all, so Facebook and Twitter are core to my role.
RescueTime online reporting provides you with an impressive array of data splicing down to the minute. At a glance you can see what time of day you’re most efficient, how much time you actually waste each day on unproductive activities. A brief check daily to my RescueTime dashboard helps me to feel more in charge and less stressed. I’m happy to report that over the last month, I have grown to be more productive than 70% of people, according to the Efficiency Summary. (Apparently, though, I’m the least productive on Wednesdays… good ol’ hump day.)This awareness is the first step to adjusting your behavour, set goals to maximize your productivity, and reclaiming your time. Self-empowerment is a powerful de-stresser!
2. Put the ‘app’ in happy!
There is great value in zoning out with a round or two of your favourite game on the go, as long as playing isn’t an act of procrastination or interferes with your commitments. I will often take advantage of my public transit commute to get in a five-minute round of Bejeweled on Zen mode. The soothing music, empowering mantras and never-ending levels ensures I start my day on a blissful, winning streak. I walk through the doors subliminaly thinking, “I easily discard negative thoughts."
There is a plethora of free apps designed to help you achieve bliss, from iZen gardens to NatureSpace, offering sounds of the most beautiful places on earth. I'm curious to hear from you which app leaves you feeling happy?
3. Wii Your Workout
It’s my firm believe that nothing de-stresses like exercising! While working towards gaining a Masters of Kinesiology, I become very interested in play- er, I mean, studying – Nintendo Wii Fit. Wii Fit Plus and other active videos games like Dance Dance Revolution and XBOX Kinect fitness games are known as exergames, video games which integrate and encourage exercising through game play. The growing body of research around exergaming focuses on school-aged children, adults who are sedentarily inactive, the elderly and injured, as they seem to benefit the most. In a meta-analysis of 35 research studies, I found that all studies indicate that players gain at least some short-term physiological benefits when exergaming, such as an increase in heart rate, oxygen uptake and energy expenditure, but the primary advantage is that it’s really, really fun, and thus has a positive impact on personal motivation to exercise.
Exergames are specifically designed to get you interacting while working up a sweat, a great way to relieve stress. The benefits are enhanced if you play with others, which add a positive social influence. We all know watching someone gyrate around the living room, trying to keep an imaginary hula hoop spinning is a hoot! Hundreds of YouTube videos can attest to that. Besides, a good laugh is pretty de-stressing too.
It's easy to take the Wii Fit experience to the next level with Wii Fit Plus! Now you can build your own personal workout or choose from a variety of customized routines based on your own fitness goals. Get active with family and friends in the new multiplayer mode, and enjoy over 20 new exercises and activities! Includes Wii Fit Balance Board.
4. Invest In Hi-Tech Pampering
There’s nothing better than having your own personal massage therapist at your fingertips 24/7. If you’re looking for a professional-quality, intense relaxation, one that’s designed to alleviate your headaches or tension, then you’ll want to try the Pure Therapy Head and Eye Massager with Acupressure and Heat Compression. At first it might seem as if you’re in an 80s virtual reality video, as you adjust headpiece to get the fitting just right for you, but soon you’ll be lulled into a delicious stupor by the gentle vibrations, calming heat and surprising firm acupressure rolling across your neck, temples and eye areas. The controls allow you to adjust the time from five minutes to 15, set your soothing sounds, choose the intesity of vibration, temperature and air pressure, making it a truly personalized massage. You’ll even forget that you’re wearing head gear until your significant other pulls you out of your reverie by snapping a picture of you in mid-relax and insisting it’s their turn.
Building in mini-breaks to your day will help keep your energy and spirits high. Low-tech, unplugged solutions can be as simple as altering the smells and sounds around you, booking a meeting room to perform a couple of sun salutations, seeking out that person who will make you laugh, or passing on an unexpected gift of relaxation.
To help you unplug, check out Future Shop's new assortment of aromatherapy oils, scented candles, yoga gear and WaySpa gift certificates and be sure to find five minutes today to indulge in blissful relaxation.
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