Are you one of many who hit pause on their healthy habits this Christmas and New Year? Although down time is extremely important, if you completely abandoned the habits and routines you worked so hard to form during the holidays, you’re likely to be finding it impossible to focus again. Fear not. Rather than give up for good, follow these critical four actions to improve your concentration, strengthen your willpower again and get back into your groove.
1. Commit to daily meditation
A great way to prime your mind for a successful and productive day is to set aside time for meditation first thing in the morning. By doing this, you’re practicing mindfulness, which is going to improve your mood, creativity, and stress levels. Most importantly, you’ll be able to focus longer without distraction while producing better results in less time.
2. Find purpose in your work
It’s not just sports and healthy eating that are difficult to return to after a few days off, but also work and studying. Do you find yourself taking twice the time to carry out tasks, or checking your social media sites every ten minutes?
It’s nearly impossible to stay focused on a task when you simply don't care about it nor deem it of importance. If you find yourself bored and frustrated with a task, take a second to ask yourself “why” before heading to social media for an escape.
For example, maybe you’re studying for a particular certification. It’s not exciting material, but you know that if you pass the upcoming exam, you’re going to be closer to living your dream life. Reminding yourself brings positive emotions into the work which leads to more energy and renewed concentration.
By opting for an exercise program that challenges your body for 30-60 minutes such as the Freeletics ‘Strength & Stamina’ program, you’re not only building your body up, you’re helping your brain.
In fact, a research study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that exercising primarily helps your brain ignore distractions. The discipline to complete workouts transfers over to more discipline when it comes to focusing on your work.
4. Establish boundaries
Whether it’s carving out time to work on your dream or time for exercise, it’s imperative to communicate to the people closest to you when you’re trying to concentrate on tasks.
This could be telling your partner that you’re going to read for an hour or that you need an hour to go for a run. If you’re in an office, putting on headphones could be a solution.
Lastly, for people who depend on you, get them on the same page as you by sharing a calendar with them so they know your daily times for concentration.
Everyone is entitled to a time out and chances are, you’ve probably earned it. Just remember that returning to real life is difficult and takes time. Be patient work and hard on building your routines back up again. You’ll get there again!