Ah, zen… there you are.
The Lost Property Department at LNER is packed with wonderful things left behind on our trains, but we find some of our commuters are most careless with their Zen.
So weary worker, we’re on a mission to help you find that place of calm on your commute and send your mind skipping joyfully away from toil. And where better to start the journey than on a haven of positivity, inner peace and great service; a LNER carriage.
Not everyone will find their Zen in the same place. That’s why a little task-switching is an effective route to recharging; simply doing something you don’t usually do can help you unwind.
Sneak in some yoga
Yep, you heard us right. Sitting in a seat (even one of our sumptuous train seats) for a long time can lead to a numb bum. So try a little yoga to help prevent the travel tiredness and get your circulation going. We’re not suggesting you jump in the aisle and pull a downward dog or a cow face, but you can easily sneak in a stretch or two at your seat. These are our favourites:
Garudasana eagle pose for better circulation - wrap your arms around your body by placing your left arm under your right arm. Hold for five deep and meaningful breaths - in, then out. Swap your arms and repeat.
Neck stretches make sure they are synced with your breath – breath in to the left, breath out to the right.
Hands under armpits pose for a calm mind. Simply tuck your hands under armpits with thumbs pointing up, raise your shoulders, tuck your chin and breath. Hold the pose for 3-11 minutes and try to clear your mind of clutter.
Seated spinal twist – good riddance to stress. Move to the edge of your seat and place your right knee over the left knee. Place your left hand over the right knee and other onto the arm rest. Keep your spine long and take 10 deep breaths, then change the side.
Settle into your seat, and try this two-minute exercise (you can always increase the time as you develop into a relaxation ninja). Close your eyes. Put all your attention on your breathing - as the air comes in, follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs. Try counting ‘one’ in your head as you take your first deep breath, then ‘two’ as you breath out. Repeat this to the count of ten, then start again at one. Hey, this is working.
Write up the day
Writing down your thoughts, or recording the day’s accomplishments, is an effective way to unwind. You don’t have to share it with your fellow passengers, in fact we recommend you don’t. Nor do we recommend shouting out ‘go me’ or throwing mini-fist pumps.
Take the long view
There’s something about ogling a pleasant vista and doing nothing that recentres the brain and decompresses you. Most LNER trains have amazing views which come free with every journey.
Sit back and listen
Download some soothing sounds of wind, waves or warbling birds to calm your mind and help you relax as you travel. There are also plenty of meditative and sedative soundtracks available on YouTube or Spotify for free, like this soporific ditty. Put your headphones on, close your eyes and let your mind go to a happy place.
Wash your hands
It’s been a tough day, you’ve made decisions, some good, some you’re still wrestling with. Try this handy tip; wash your hands with soap and water. A university study found that the simple act of washing your hands symbolically cleanses you of the need to justify a decision. Strange, but true. You’ll find nice scented soap on our trains.
A call home has the power to whisk you in an instant to those things that really matter, like your family, friends, even the children; explaining to a four-year old why the toilet is not a top secret submarine base flexes those brain synapses that a yearly forecast or brain shower just can’t reach.
The newsagents at stations are a mecca of magazines covering everything possible interest you can think of – grab a glossy and while away some time. You may find a new hobby, or rekindle your love for an old one.
Fit in forty winks
Finally, here’s a genuine relaxant; turn off your work email and phone – you’ll find the switch somewhere near the top of the device. There, that was easy. Now treat yourself to a kip.
Napping is an awesome thing. It’s old-school, free and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages; improved memory, increased alertness and it works wonders on your mood. It’s also very difficult to spend money, go shopping or get into an argument when you’re napping. And you wake up closer to home than when you fell asleep. The disadvantages of a doze are… there aren’t any. You can’t lose with a snooze on a LNER train.