My Dad has a great expression. He says, “If you want to go a bit faster slow down!” It’s so true if we keep pushing ourselves to the point of burnout, we won’t be effective and tired minds and bodies are not productive.
Building relaxation time into your life will help you to keep your stress levels down and look after your overall well-being. Too much work and not enough time out for yourself can result in physical and mental health problems. Winding down and relaxing is essential if you want to invest in achieving better balance and living a happier and healthier life.
Here are some of the key benefits of relaxation
• Lowers your blood pressure
• Slows your breathing rate
• Slows your heart rate down
• Reduces activity of stress hormones
• Increases blood flow to major muscles
• Reduces muscle tension and chronic pain
• Improves concentration and mood
• Maintains normal blood sugar levels
• Improves your digestion
• Boosts your energy levels
• Supports your mental health
• Helps you to be present and appreciate the moment
Here are some ways that you can build relaxation into your day…
1. Prioritise time for relaxation
Setting aside time for yourself within your busy schedule is all about self-care and establishing healthy boundaries. Making your own personal well-being your biggest priority has nothing to do with being selfish and no one needs to feel guilty about this. It is the most responsible approach to living a healthy and productive life.
When you plan your day, it is important to allocate time for relaxation and put this on your to-do list. Getting outside at lunchtime for a relaxing stroll or even just taking a few minutes to do some stretching and breathing exercises can make all the difference. If you don’t set the time aside however, you may not get around to doing it, so it pays to be organised and disciplined about this.
2. Make a habit of switching off technology
It is becoming increasingly obvious that our world is developing an unhealthy attachment to technology and mobile devices. Being able to switch off from technology will help you to relax quite significantly.
Various studies into neurological and emotional well-being highlight the need to take breaks. Scanning social media is not a break for your brain because your mind will think it is still working. When you relax you really need to switch off and avoid directing your thoughts toward any task at all. Downtime is healthy for the mind and body.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while, including you!
3. And breath…
Breathing has to be the easiest form of relaxation and when you focus on breathing it can really help you to calm down if you are feeling stressed. There are many simple breathing exercises that are very easy and require no equipment and can be done anywhere.
Here is just one example:
• Sit with your back straight and imagine a piece of string attached to the top of your head pulling you up.
• Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
• Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
• Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of four.
• Hold your breath for a count of four.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, slowly, to a count of eight.
• This is one breath. Now repeat.
4. Listen to soothing music
Music is also a great way of helping you to relax, relieve stress and ease any anxieties you may have. It can also help you to function better mentally and physically. Music is regularly used for meditation and as an aid for sleep disorders. Some studies have suggested that slow, gentle, soothing music can also improve learning, creativity and memory.
5. Reduce stress with laughter
Having a good laugh can decrease stress hormones and also increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter has so many benefits and can be such a great tonic, as well as helping you to relax. Even in challenging times it helps to seek out the funny side of situations.
Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain, as well as having a very positive effect on your emotional well-being.
This blog is based on my latest bite sized book on relaxation
For more information, you can find out about it here with lots of other wellbeing resources …