Multitasking is bad for your health: 5 ways you can slow down

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  • Once deemed a skill to flaunt during job interviews, today’s version of multitasking can do more harm than good.

    We live in an exciting and dynamic time when it comes to social media and the digital revolution, but all of those modes of communication can do a number of things to our health. Research shows that as our brains move quickly from one topic to the next, it sends electrical signals through the body which induce stress. That stress has a significant impact on various functions throughout the body, as well as our interpersonal relationships.

    So how can you combat this nasty little habit? Take a step back from the Blackberry and utilise these 5 tips for slowing down:

    1. Savour mundane tasks.
    Moments that seem so mindless can really teach us so much. The next time you take on a chore like laundry or dishes, slow down and really try to experience whatever it is you’re doing. Smell the fresh fabrics as you fold your clothes, or lather up your hands with warm soapy water while you’re washing your dishes. Take note of how you feel in that moment and try to savour it as long as possible. By being mindful in the present moment, we create a sense of awareness of our surroundings. Our brains slow down and we have a moment to truly absorb what we’re doing rather than focusing on the next task to complete.

    2. Experience nature. Go outside and look up at the sky for a few moments, plant flowers, or take a long walk. Whatever it is that gets you outdoors and in touch with nature is a surefire way to ground you and get you connected to the present moment. And leave the Blackberry at home!

    3. Meditate. Meditation is an excellent way to get centered and experience life in the present moment. By quieting the mind, you’ll learn to push away the racing thoughts that can overwhelm us. And the great news is you can start small – even three minutes a day can make a difference.

    4. Create a ‘Blackout Period.’ If your phone or your email is constantly alerting to you to messages and calls, it’s time to turn it off. Try to ‘go dark’ for at least one hour per day, preferably right before bed time. This allows your brain a chance to slow down and detach from the chaos of responding to everyone who is begging for your time.

    5. Breathe deeply. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe deeply. Sit up straight and inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. A few deep breaths can do wonders for ‘rebooting’ your system and getting some much needed oxygen to the brain. You’ll feel refreshed and energised and ready to take on one task at a time.

    Looking for more career inspo? It’s not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire’s @ Work Live,

    in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April

    2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.

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