"Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body." -- Norman Vincent Peale
Take a day off from your daily routine, put your feet up and relax because it’s Relaxation Day!
The origins of this holiday are unknown, though it is thought that the holiday began as National Slacker Day in Britain.
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, most people often forget to slow down and take some time for themselves. Not taking time to relax can create stress and other stress-related health issues like high blood pressure and heart problems.
So on this day, do things that help you relax and de-stress. Kick back, enjoy a cold beverage in your backyard, read a book while curled up with a hot cup of tea, sleep most of the day, or take a warm bath and spend the day in your pajamas watching TV.
Stress Management: Relaxing Your Mind and Body
Recognize stress. Obviously, some stress is good for us — it adds interest, excitement and motivation to life, in the right balance. It is when the level of stress in your life causes you to put up with things that are harmful or distress you constantly, that you risk your well- being.
Set aside time to relax. Once you have accepted that there are negative stressors impacting your life, it's important to make room for rest and relaxation amid those busy things you're doing.
- To relax means to calm the mind, the body, or both.
- Relaxing can quiet your mind and make you feel peaceful and calm. Your body also reacts when you relax. For example, your muscles will be less tense and more flexible.
- There are different ways to relax. You may want to try one or more of the following relaxation tips to see what works best for you.
Relaxing the mind
When you’re stressed or feeling anxious, your breathing speeds up, and becomes shallow, reducing how much oxygen reaches your organs. Learning breathing techniques will help to prevent symptoms of anxiety.
Slow down your breathing and actively concentrating on your breath is a good way to calm yourself.
Breathing exercises are one way to relax, which can help ease stress, anxiety and sleep problems.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, hold for a moment, then exhale through your mouth. Do this about five times. Feel more relaxed?
- Do belly breathing: Place your hands on your stomach and inhale, try to push your hands away; then exhale making your hands go towards your spine. Repeat this until you feel calmer.
- Inhale deeply, count to five, holding your breath for five seconds, exhale slowly, counting to five. Do this ten times to relax your muscles and nerves. As you breathe out, visualize the stress and tension leaving your body through your breath.
- Soak in a warm bath. Putting Epsom salts in your bath helps to relax and ease tight muscles.
- Listen to soothing music. This will reduce your heart rate.
- Read a good book. Let the author ‘take you away’.
- Practice mindful meditation. The goal of mindful meditation is to focus your attention on things that are happening in the present moment. For example, be aware of your body. Are you breathing fast, slow, deep, or shallow? Do you hear noises, such as traffic, or are you in silence? The idea is just to note what is happening without trying to judge it or change it.
- Write. Some people feel more relaxed after they write about their feelings. One way is to keep a journal.
- Use guided imagery. With guided imagery, you imagine yourself in a certain setting that helps you feel calm and relaxed. You can use audiotapes, scripts, or a teacher to guide you through the process.
- Smile and Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. Rent, buy or go to a funny movie. This is guaranteed to help. Smiling and laughing releases endorphins, which reduces stress, helps you to relax and reminds you that life is more than just work. Even if it feels strange at first, make it a point to smile more often.
- Make healthy dietary choices. Eating well can help your body feel balanced and healthy, making you less susceptible to spikes in blood sugar and feelings of anxiety.
Relaxing the body
- Take a yoga class or you can get books and videos to practice at home.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation. This process involves tensing and relaxing each muscle group. Progressive muscle relaxation can reduce anxiety and muscle tension. If you have trouble falling asleep, this method may also help with your sleep problems. When you relax your muscles, your body gets the signal that it is okay to fall asleep.
- Take a walk or do some other cardiovascular activity. Making time to do things you enjoy will help you relax.
- Get a massage. Pamper your self! You deserve it!
- Have a warm drink that doesn’t have alcohol or caffeine, such as herbal tea or warm milk before bedtime.
It is important to recognize that relaxation is a choice that you make, and a skill that you develop. You choose to chill out, and then you work at it. It’s just like building muscles.
National Relaxation Day is an excuse for you to relax. It could be the beginning of a commitment to yourself as a way to reduce the stress in your life.
And, ‘just do it’, Every Day!