5 Midday Rituals That Will Keep You Super Focused and Productive

Sira M.

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Years ago, while I was still working in Italy, I passed out during an important meeting. The company CEO was there, and that was probably the most embarrassing moment of my whole career.

At that time, I used to skip lunch and spent my free time working on some important tasks. I wanted to be the most productive employee in the department and impress my manager. It had become an obsession. I thought that by doing that I would progress quickly up the company ranks.

However, it turned out to be just the opposite. The day I fainted was only the beginning of a severe burn-out. I felt exhausted, experienced insomnia and anxiety, and struggled to focus at work.

After a few weeks, I caught the flu, and it was so bad that I had to stay home for two weeks. I was desperate. However, that forced break was exactly what I needed, although I didn’t realize it at the time.

You see, it’s easy to let our daily responsibilities take over and to become totally stressed out. And it’s easy to prioritize our career over our well-being, especially when we’re young and inexperienced.

However, burn-out is real, it’s always just around the corner. And you experience it when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Queue: Midday Routines

Nowadays, people are obsessed with morning routines to help them start their day full of energy and with a clear mind. Also, many people have nighttime routines to shut off their brain before going to bed. And it’s not a bad thing.

However, most people ignore the most important thing, which is something different, something often very underrated.

As Benjamin Hardy, PhD mentions in one of his articles in Thrive Global, the most successful people in the world purposefully carve out time in their schedules for recharging and resetting.

You see, you can start your day full of energy, and you can have the healthiest nighttime routine in the world. However, if you don’t take frequent small breaks — and most importantly a real break in the middle of the day — you might find it particularly hard to be truly productive throughout the day and minimize stress.

And, you can still feel permanently exhausted. Not only that, the risk of burn-out increases when you don’t make your physical and mental health your top priorities.

After my burn-out, I made my midday break my number-one priority. There are some midday routines I find particularly useful to prevent severe stress taking over again. They are beneficial to helping me unplug, recharge, and feel refreshed before going back to work in the afternoon, and to be productive every day without affecting my overall wellbeing.

1. Listening to Theta Binaural Beats

Theta binaural beats can help us enter a meditative state. Listening to theta-infused music encourages our brain to produce fewer high-frequency waves and more lower-frequency theta waves; this helps us calm down and reduces anxiety.

I find listening to theta-wave music is one of the best ways to unplug and relax in the middle of the day, as it genuinely helps me take a real break from my daily routine. For me, it definitely helps prevent stress.

How I put this into practice:

I usually sit in a comfortable position or lay down, put my headphones on, completely relax my body, and listen to theta waves music for five to ten minutes. After doing it I feel completely relaxed and recharged. You can also try other ways to do it, like taking a walk outdoors or working out for example. Find what works for you.

2. Walking Meditation

Meditation changed my life. Anytime someone struggles with stress or anxiety I recommend it and explain its many benefits. Most of the time, the reaction I get is something along these lines: “I don’t have the patience to sit still and focus on the present moment. I just can’t.”

If you are anything like that, I totally understand how you feel. Sometimes, when I meditate I struggle to focus too. It’s completely normal. Meditating seems easy, but it’s not. Sitting without moving, focusing only on the present moment, and on your breath without your mind wandering can be really difficult.

A good way to make meditation less intimidating is doing it while you are walking.

Walking meditation helps you switch off totally, establish a deeper connection between your mind and body, and strengthens your mind’s ability to focus.

How I put this into practice:

What I do is simply taking a walk outdoors, listening to good meditation music, being aware of the present moment, breathing deeply, and focusing on my footsteps. Sometimes I combine it with listening to theta binaural beats.

After doing it, I feel as good as after practicing seated meditation. And after practicing it for a long time — almost five years now — I noticed I don’t struggle with anxiety and insomnia anymore.

3. Gratitude Journaling

“Gratitude is the antidote to average.”— Robin Sharma

There is so much to be grateful for, and gratitude journaling is one of the best things you can do to unplug and to get back in touch with your positive energy at the same time.

According to Robin Sharma, some of the most important reasons to journal are that it organizes your thinking, it allows you to repeat and relive your favourite moments, and it helps you process and release negative emotions.

Gratitude journaling is even more powerful as it helps you focus on positive experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

After years practicing it, I have noticed something important; by making the effort to recognize and focus on the positive aspects of your life, you train yourself to control your thoughts and emotions and to subsequently concentrate on only the good ones. It’s very powerful.

How I put this into practice:

Every day I write down on paper three moments of my past I feel grateful for, the names of three people I am happy to have in my life, and three things I have right now for which I feel extremely grateful. It usually takes me five minutes, and it simply makes me feel great.

4. Calling a Loved One

Three years ago I left Rome, my hometown, and relocated to another country. So I always use my lunch break to stay in touch with my loved ones.

I have the habit of calling my best friends and my mother regularly since we live in different countries. It’s a great way of taking care of my relationships with them, and it usually boosts my mood as well.

If I feel stressed or anxious, calling my mother has a calming effect. Speaking with her over the phone doesn’t solve my problems, obviously. However, whenever I talk to her I simply feel better. Hearing her voice makes me feel calmer and more relaxed.

Staying in contact with our loved ones consistently is essential for our mental well-being. Doing it during the midday break is a healthy habit to get into, as it helps us detach from our daily working routine for a while, and reinforces a positive mood and state of mind.

Also, according to a Harvard Health article, strong and positive relationships can improve health and increase longevity. Not to mention, a lack of good social connections is associated with depression and cognitive decline, and with increased mortality.

You see, you can implement the best and healthiest habits in the world, but if you don’t consistently stay in contact with your loved ones, it can very likely harm your overall health and mental wellbeing.

How I put this into practice:

Lately, I have made calling my loved ones a priority. Making a phone call every day at lunchtime is now one of my daily habits, even if I stay on the phone for just three minutes.

5. Listen to Audiobooks

I don’t know about you, but I find audiobooks one of the best inventions of the last few decades.

The greatest benefit of audiobooks is undoubtedly their ease of use. You can listen to whatever you want, even while completing repetitive tasks. Not only that, but it also helps you ‘get out of your mind’, while also resting your eyes — which is important, especially if you are continuously in front of a computer or TV screen during your day.

Also, audiobooks stimulate the brain similarly to how reading does. For example, in a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the UC Berkeley scanned the brains of nine participants while they read and listened to a series of stories. After looking at the brain scans, the researchers saw that the stories stimulated the same cognitive and emotional areas, regardless of the medium.

How I put this into practice:

I often listen to audiobooks for ten to fifteen minutes during my lunch break, while sitting in a comfortable position, with my eyes closed.

While listening to audiobooks you can do virtually anything. You can take a walk, sit comfortably on a sofa, lay on your bed, work out, or cook. You name it.

Final Thoughts

All these small habits are easy to build and will benefit both your mental wellness and productivity if you include them in your daily routine. Depending on your needs and the time you have to rest, you can include all of them in your midday routine or just some of them.

The important thing is that you make sure you always take a real break and have a healthy set of midday rituals to unplug and recharge.

Do it and watch your life improve.

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Writer | Coach | Proud Amazonian | https://www.linkedin.com/in/sirams/

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