When you work from home, you can refocus your brain with the power of exercise, without even having to leave your house.
We all have those moments occasionally where we're lacking inspiration or motivation in our work. Whether it's a case of writer's block or just a mid-afternoon slump, when you're a limited company contractor or freelancer who works from home on your own, it can be more challenging to dig deep, refocus your mind and find your motivation.
Of course, being your own boss means you can decide when it's time to log off for the day, but if you have a deadline to meet, calling it a day isn't an option. Instead, you need to find a way to refocus your brain so you're left feeling more motivated, and exercise can be a big help.
Exercise can have many benefits for your mind, helping to improve your memory, lower stress and give you more energy, meaning just a short break from your work could significantly help to boost your motivation.
If you're lucky enough to live near a gym, swimming pool or a big open park, heading there for a workout would be a good option, but you can refocus your brain and unearth your motivation with exercise even without leaving your house. Here's how:
Practice some yoga
Yoga is great for both the body and the mind, and practicing a few poses is an ideal way to find some quiet time in the middle of a hectic day, centre yourself and give your body a good workout, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your work day.
This form of exercise focuses on stretches, as well as mindful breathing, making it arguably the most relaxing way to work out, but this doesn't necessarily mean it's any easier on your body.
If you're new to yoga, Google a few poses to get started, such as the Downward-Facing Dog and the Tree, and remember there are plenty of free YouTube videos available talking you through a full yoga workout.
Yoga poses require a great deal of strength and balance, and always make sure you warm up before stretching your muscles to avoid injury. When you work for yourself and there's no one to cover for you, you need to be extra careful.
Focus on intervals
High-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) is a type of exercise that's become increasingly popular in recent years and, again, YouTube means it's easy to take part in from home.
HIIT exercises are based around intense periods of cardio exercise, such as sprinting for, say, 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of walking, before repeating over a set period, followed by a longer break.
Not only is this type of exercise great for your body and physical fitness levels, but it also has benefits for your mind. To start with, the timings and repetitive nature of HIIT means your mind automatically has something else to focus on for a little while, which can help you to return to your workload with a fresh set of eyes afterwards.
What's more, a 2014 study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills showed that HIIT helped to improve participants' cognitive function, so it could also help to make your brain sharper over time.
Try soothing meditation
Meditation is another excellent form of exercise for refocusing your mind; in fact, that's what it's all about, so it's perfect if you're in need of this in the middle of your working day.
Whereas yoga also incorporates stretches, meditation is more about mindfulness and being aware of your breathing, which can be just what you need during a particularly stressful day.
There are lots of apps you can download on to your smartphone to walk you through meditation exercises. Next time you're checking your PayStream app, take a few moments to log in to a meditation app too. You'll soon be feeling much more relaxed and ready to face any challenges in your day.
Create your own circuit workout
Gym classes can be very motivating, but if you don't have the time to attend one and want to fit in your workout around your work at home instead, creating your own circuit incorporating cardio exercises and stretches can be good for your mind and body.
Sometimes, you just need to leave your assignments for a little while and put your creative skills to something else instead, like designing your own workout. This means you'll end up with an exercise routine you'll look forward to and enjoy, as well as being good for your physical fitness.
When you're finished exercising, you'll feel like you've achieved something in your day, and after a refreshing shower, you should be feeling much more motivated than you were earlier on, ready to tackle the rest of your day as a contractor.