Conscious breaks for
Rest & Relaxation

“If you don’t have much time, relax for 15 minutes. If you don’t have any time, relax for 1 hour.” Conscious breaks for rest and relaxation in the daily routine have a positive effect on wellbeing.

Rest and relaxation are every bit as much a part of life as activity and exertion – in fact, life is a permanent interplay between these poles. In all population groups and cultural eras, innate knowledge about the importance of rest and relaxation has resulted in the development of practices that rest the body and thus protect it from overload. Rest and relaxation are an inherent part of the Zeitgeist. In our society, which is characterised by a great deal of activity, this means that, for example, a performance-related approach (the pressure to perform) is associated with a lack of free time, and as a result, rest and relaxation are very much on the back burner. Given that both exertion and relaxation are part of life, both components need to be integrated into the daily routine. It is therefore worth making sure that the body can rest regularly and replenish its energy store during hectic everyday life. If you want to remain healthy and efficient in the long term, you should incorporate rest and relaxation into your day-to-day activities.

Rest and relaxation –
the health benefits

Regular relaxation demonstrably results in increased wellbeing and hence a better quality of life. If you regularly take the time to relax, you generally feel calmer and more even-tempered. You will perceive everyday problems and demands as less stressful, and you will be able to face conflicts much more calmly. Negative feelings such as anger and irritation are also experienced much less frequently by relaxed people. Rest and relaxation are important tools for dealing with stresses and strains.

Rest and relaxation
in the daily routine

How we rest and relax is highly individual and varies from person to person. The range of everyday relaxation types extends from sleep, the most natural opportunity to rest and relax, via movement, dance, music, taking a bath, reading, writing, painting, meeting friends, and singing, to learning new things.

Research shows that several short breaks provide a more effective rest than fewer, longer ones. Furthermore, active breaks for activities such as exercise, meeting friends or pursuing a hobby are more restorative than just lying on the couch, even though this is frequently our first choice when things are hectic. Therefore, you should take note of these two basic rules:

  • Shorter but more frequently
  • Active not passive

A relaxation break of only 20 minutes can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz (Health Promotion Switzerland) has put together 12 simple relaxation exercises that you can use anywhere, at any time.

12 simple relaxation exercises

You can also use any number of other relaxation techniques and methods to help yourself unwind in almost any situation. The best-researched, classic relaxation techniques are: autogenic training (AT), progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), conscious breathing, meditation, and yoga.

Autogenic training (AT)

Autogenic training (AT) is probably the best known, and the best researched, of the relaxation techniques. Autosuggestion, relaxation via the strength of your own thoughts, plays an important role in this self-relaxation method. As the term “training” implies, it is a process that needs to be practised regularly, and is best learnt by instruction from an expert. You can find more information on the website of the Fachverbande für Autogenes Training Schweiz.

Progressive muscle
relaxation(PMR)

Edmund Jacobson states that the principle of progressive muscle relaxation is simple: you deliberately tense specific muscle groups in order for a brief period, and then let them go abruptly. You then become actively conscious of the loosened muscles, which leads to an overall feeling of relaxation. At the same time, your pulse slows down, your breathing becomes calmer and your blood pressure falls. Unlike autogenic training, the progressive muscle relaxation technique is easy to learn, as it places fewer demands on the concentration.

Progressive muscle relaxation – Instructions as MP3 files

Do nothing.
But do it with all your heart.

Niklaus Brantschen

News on the subject

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    Tips and tricks

    Try inserting a 5-minute break after 60 minutes of work, to stock up on energy. Use these 5 minutes for you. Get yourself a new drink, or find a place where you can do a few exercises to keep your body in shape even while at work, and to release any tensions. At the beginning, set a reminder on your phone to help you stick to your breaks.

    A breathing exercise will leave you feeling relaxed relatively quickly. Take a deep breath, then exhale slowly. Repeat this at least 5 times and feel your heartbeat slowing down.

    Do you know how many park benches there are on your way to work? Find it out, and for one week, sit down for 5 minutes on a different bench every day.

    What’s available in Zug Canton

    • CityOasis: Meditative moments over mid-day

      Take a break” is the message from Zug City Church. From Monday to Friday, between 12 and 14:00, it provides a quiet space and the opportunity to take a break. You can just sit there and soak up the building’s radiance. Why not try another type of lunch break, with peace and quiet? Calming images, unobtrusive sounds and short texts create a contrast to the sometimes loud and hectic daily routine. Loungers, church pews and even a glass of water are all available free of charge for a bit of time out.

      CityOasis Zug
    • “Bänkli” for sitting and lingering

      When did you last sit down on a park bench? Were you alone, or with someone? Across Switzerland there are “Bänkli”, benches, to sit on and linger, have a chat, daydream or snuggle up to someone. Bänkli are well suited for pausing briefly during a hectic day, in order to enjoy the view, breathe deeply and create a moment of relaxation in the daily routine.

      Find Bänkli
    • Immerse yourself in nature

      There are a great many leisure activities in the open air in Zug Canton, with a diverse landscape to explore. Immerse yourself in the canton’s natural diversity and discover new things in your surroundings.

      Choller Nature Reserve
      Experience Eigenried Moor
      Zug, Naturally – Leisure activities in the open air
    • Freizeitparadies Zug – interaktive Freizeit-Karte

      Der Kanton Zug bietet viele spannende Möglichkeiten, um die Freizeit zu geniessen und sich in der Natur des schönen Zugerlands zu erholen, zu entspannen und Neues zu entdecken. Mit der interaktiven Freizeit-Karte findest du diverse Ausflugsziele in deiner Region. Bei der Suche nach der für dich passenden Aktivität kannst du nach deinen persönlichen Präferenzen Filter setzten und kommst so ganz schnell und unkompliziert zu deinem Ziel. 

      Interaktive Freizeit-Karte
    • Let your gaze wander into the distance

      Take a break, enjoy the view, and do something good for your health at the same time. Sounds good, doesn’t it? In Zug Canton there are different places that will tempt you to gaze into the distance, switch off and indulge yourself with a moment of rest and relaxation.

      Guggi observation deck – a view of the city of Zug
      Raten-Gottschalkenberg
      Zugerberg
    • Parks and green spaces

      Zug Canton has many inviting parks and green spaces, where you can linger for a while, walk or play games. They provide the opportunity to take a short break on your way to or from work, or when you’re out shopping, as well as being there for your free time.

      Park-hopping – a walking tour of the city of Zug
      The Zug Rose Garden
      SHI Homeopathy Garden in Zug
      Parks and squares in the municipality of Cham
    • Outdoor exercise and sports map

      Do you like exercising outdoors and/or doing sports in the open air? Then you will love our map showing all sports facilities such as fitness trails, mini-marathon routes, forest trails, street workouts – the list goes on! The map will show you what you can find in the canton, and where. Enjoy!

      Map: sport and exercise in the open air (Pdf)
    • The OberwilZug forest fitness trail

      The OberwilZug forest fitness trail can be enjoyed in two ways: as a sporting trail for speed, training and getting the circulation moving, or as an experience trail for slowing down, art, wonder and reflection. The opening is planned for the spring/summer of 2020!

      ForestParcours - Movement & Art
    • Our forest. Astonishingly diverse

      Swiss forests have many important tasks and provide a fantastic space for rest and relaxation. Why not enjoy a moment of relaxation in the woods and experience the diversity of the forest and its inhabitants? The Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU) has a new “Forest Diversity” campaign that will take you on a voyage of discovery through the forests in Zug Canton. Set off on your own or with someone else, with several friends or the whole family into the forest near you and learn some new things! In Zug Canton, you will find Forest Diversity Trails in the municipalities of Cham (Städtlerwald), Steinhausen (Steihuserwald), Oberägeri (St. Jost) and Menzingen (Mänzigerholz). You can find more information on the BAFU website.

      Forest diversity: Our forest, Astonishingly diverse
    • Wandering through the city of Zug

      Have you ever consciously taken a tour through Zug? Instead of just going from A to B, and from one appointment to the next, you could deliberately go on a wander through Zug to relax during an active break. Whether alone, with another person, in a group or with your family, there is sure to be something new to discover.

      City tours
    • Watching animals

      How many different species of birds are there in the aviaries on Zug’s Landsgemeindeplatz? Don’t you know? So why don't you drop by the aviary, or the Hirschgarten deer park, and take 10 minutes to watch the birds or the animals?

      The aviaries on Landsgemeindeplatz in Zug
      Hirschgarten at Schützenhaus Zug
      The swift colony in the Powder Tower
    • Reading books

      Read to rest and relax, whether on the couch at home, on a bench in the park, or on the train or bus when out and about. When reading, you can dive into a story and detach from your daily routine for a moment. Zug Canton has many different opportunities for borrowing or exchanging books.

      Zug libraries
      Library with free books
      Open book cupboards
    • Art and culture

      Zug Canton has a great deal of art and culture, with many different options for your free time.

      Kunsthaus Zug
      Cultural links for Zug Canton
      Zug Kultur events
    • The Zugerberg Sculpture Trail

      Active rest breaks are more effective than passive ones. As an alternative to your usual walk, why not take the 4.5 km Sculpture Trail up the Zugerberg, with a total of 19 carved wooden figures?

      The Zugerberg Sculpture Trail
    • Bodenpfad - Steinhauserwald

      Eleven information and experience points have been installed on the 2.5 km circular trail in Steinhauserwald, to illustrate the interrelationship between soil, people and the environment. The Bodenpfad (“Soil Trail”) is suitable for both some time out with friends or family and for a walk on your own or as a pair. The secluded Waldsee lake is also an ideal place to rest and relax.

      Bodenpfad soil trail – Steinhauserwald
    • Raten Sensory Path

      Human beings and all their senses are just awesome! Test your senses at eight interactive stations on Raten Sensory Path. As well as fascinating sensory impressions, you will learn about our native animals and what they can do. Cross the suspension bridge, or explore the harmonious tone variations with cowbells – on Raten Sensory Path you will experience many things, and all of them with your senses! Perfect for a relaxing, restorative daytrip – alone, with someone else or with the whole family.

      Raten Sensory Path (Pdf)
    • For children – the Zugiblubbi Experience Trail

      The Zugiblubbi Experience Trail on the Zugerberg is 4.5 km long, takes approximately one-and-a-half to two hours to complete and is suitable for prams and wheelchairs. There are puzzles to solve at different play posts. What’s more, Zug Canton has many playgrounds that are suitable for an active break for all the family.

      The Zugiblubbi Experience Trail
      Playgrounds in Zug Canton
      Zug Playgrounds Guide
    • Höllgrotten Baar

      The stalactite caves in Lorzentobel, near Baar, are a daytrip destination for individuals, families, groups and school trips. On a tour through the stalactite caves, you will discover new things as you switch off and escape your routine.

      Höllgrotten Baar
    • Zug’s museums

      Would you like to indulge in time out from your daily grind, relax and learn something new, all at the same time? Then it’s worth visiting one of Zug Canton’s museums.

      Overview of Zug’s museums
    • Be creative

      Being creative, trying something new, working with your hands, and maybe even creating a work of art, can also be a form of rest and relaxation. The Loreto in Zug offers different courses and opportunities to express yourself in one of their workshops. Carpentry, welding, pottery, even filming, all are possible, as are many other things! Be inspired. In our sometimes somewhat “cerebral” world, working with your hands can be very restful and relaxing.

      Loreto – workshops
      Loreto – courses
    • Rest and relaxation opportunities 60+

      Pro Senectute Zug has various rest and relaxation opportunities for people over the age of 60. They range from hikes along rivers or beside lakes, through singing, knitting and crochet, to relaxation in the open air.

      Options from Pro Senectute Zug
    • Patching and mending, quietly and calmly

      If an important household appliance breaks down, calm and relaxation are rarely top of the priority list. But why not? Instead of getting annoyed, take some deep breaths and either try your hand at it yourself, using the repair guide, and learn something new when you patch it up, or simply go to a Repair Café and have a coffee while professionals repair the faulty device for you.

      Repair guide
      Repair Café
    • Wellness

      Rest and relaxation as the counterpoint to activity and exertion. Both are possible in the Ägeribad pools. First you can take some vigorous exercise in the sports pool, then relax in the sauna or steam bath, directly in the wellness zone.

      Ägeribad Pools
    • Take a boat trip on the Canton’s lakes

      For a boat trip on one of the lakes in Zug Canton, you will need a little more time than 10 minutes between two appointments. However, a boat is a very good place to relax. With a view of the water, the wind in your hair and maybe even the sun on your face, you can carve a moment out of your daily life, whether alone or in company, and enjoy it.

      Ägerisee boat trips
      Zugersee boat trips
    • Autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation – courses

      Are you interested in autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation, and would you like to learn these relaxation techniques with an expert instructor? Then you can find information on these websites that will lead you to a suitable course.

      Overview of the different organisations offering courses
      Autogenic training for groups in Zug Catholic churches (for advanced students)
    • Help and advice

      Are you still stressed, despite actively trying to relax and snatch moments of rest? Then get some help! You are not alone! You will find different services and contacts under the Help and advice heading.

      Help and advice
    • References
      Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz (2010).
      Entspannung - 10 Grundsätze zur Gesund-heitsförderung durch Entspannung. Bern: Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz.
      Rodriguez de la Vega, L., Toscano, W. N. (Hrsg). (2018).
      Handbook of leisure, physi-cal activity, sports, recreation and quality of life. Cham: Springer Nature.
      www.feel-ok.ch