At a business breakfast the other day, we were asked to consider; “what is one question, related to your work or business, that you would like to have discussed by the group?” One of those sitting with us asked – How do you disconnect from work at the end of the day, so you don’t spend the night tossing and turning and stressing about tasks which all seem to be urgent, important and top priority? Interestingly, it was a question to which everyone in the group could relate, as the problem of work/life balance is an issue whether you are working for a large multi-national company, a government or local council department, or if you are running your own business.
Our group zoomed in very quickly on the reasons for being unable to clear our minds of work issues - stress and anxiety. There are numerous studies which give us better understanding and ways of coping with these problems. One of the simplest methods of reducing stress and anxiety is to get creative. Creativity stimulates the imagination, focusing the mind in a constructive manner on a task. The creative focus helps achieve a state of “flow” which can be defined as the "optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best."
With a little practice, you can clear your mind of extraneous thoughts and become immersed in the creative task. During times of intense “flow” natural chemicals which make us feel good, such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine are released into your system, while stress inducing chemicals, like cortisol, are reduced. A study in art therapy found that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, REGARDLESS of artistic experience or talent. "Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting," explained one of the researchers.
So, our breakfast discussion had the answer to disconnecting after work and returning to balance – get creative! If you want a way to disconnect, de-stress and relax with friends in a supportive setting, get along to one of our Brush & Tipple evenings. Check the events page for more information.