A little stress can sometimes help you stay motivated. However, stress is known to lead to deteriorated health so the importance of relaxation to combat stress should never be underestimated. Even if practiced just 10-20 minutes per day, there are relaxation techniques that can help you keep stress under control.
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One of the most stressful times in my life was when I was a stay-at-home mom with two young children. Although I wouldn’t change it for the world, that was hands-down the most difficult job of my life. It came with much joy, yet was undeniably stressful. Relaxation time was minimal, but oh so needed.
As a midlife woman, my stressors morphed to paying for our children’s college education, preparing financially for early retirement, and caring for elderly parents.
However, it seems that in midlife I’m personally able to keep a better balance between stress and relaxation. I’m better positioned to put priority on self-care, and relaxation is certainly a big part of my personal preference for a self-care routine.
Nobody is immune to stress, so it’s important to know how to keep it under control. Stress has been linked to a lot of health implications – most notably heart problems and dementia.
The good news is that relaxation is the antidote.
The importance of relaxation cannot be overemphasized. According to Mayo Clinic, health benefits of relaxation include lowering of blood pressure, reduced muscle tension and chronic pain, improved sleep quality, and the list goes on.
You deserve some self-care time to use these relax techniques to release the day’s stress – even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
6 Relaxation Techniques
I understand that carving out time for relaxation can be a bit… well, stressful. Start adding relaxation techniques to your daily life slowly so you don’t end up stressing about fitting in relaxation activities!
Here are few ideas for healthy ways to relax. Pick one or two relaxation techniques to get started on your path to a more relaxed life.
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1 – Choose Your Thoughts Wisely
This life is short, and worry doesn’t accomplish anything. Have you ever noticed that worry just brings on more worry?
Of course we all worry to some degree, but worry really is a useless spend of time. Worry doesn’t change an outcome, it just causes stress and sucks the joy right out of life.
Choose your thoughts wisely. Ease off your worry slowly. When you become aware that you’re worrying, force yourself to start thinking about something else. Anything! Thinking about the weather, what’s for dinner, or dream about where you’d like to go on your next vacation.
It’ll take some time to change your habit of thinking, but I’ve done it and so can you.
Focus on fun and enjoy your life! Fun feels a whole lot better than stress.
Read my post on 5 Simple Daily Tips for Positive Thinking to help you become a more positive thinker rather than a worrier.
2 – Spend time in nature.
A stroll through a park or forest area, or sitting by a lake are a few examples of how nature is a real stress buster. Nature provides amazing mental health benefits.
According to the University of Minnesota,
“Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing.”
My personal experience is that nature does promote a more relaxed mood. After even a short walk with my dogs along a quiet, tree-lined road, my mind is quieted and mood is lifted.
3 – Learn to say this one word!
Are you over-committed and running from place to place trying to make everyone happy?
Sometimes you just need to STOP and give yourself the “peace of mind” time you deserve. Self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary. If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot fully be there for anyone else in your life.
NO is a powerful word. Learn to say NO a lot so you can say YES to what matters. YES to life, YES to health, and YES to happiness!
Read Self Care: How to Fill Your Own Cup First for more ideas on how you can fit some “me-time” into your busy life.
4 – Move your body.
I know, you’re tired and exercise is the last thing you feel like doing. I get it and struggle with this myself.
Often times getting started is the biggest hurdle. Even as much as getting in your exercise clothes can motivate you to keep going.
Moving your body is a great way to relax and get into a better mood. A brisk walk works wonders to help me forget about my stress.
Here’s a little experiment for you to try: dance to one fun song and see how you feel when the song ends. Sure, you might be a little winded, but take special note of how you feel emotionally. I’m willing to bet your stress level went down during that dance.
Years ago, I’d dance in the living room with my kids. I’d hold my little baby and my toddler would have just as much fun jumping and dancing. It was a great stress-buster for me, and we all had fun!
Start moving your body today by taking a peaceful walk or learn yoga using free yoga videos on youtube. Another easy idea is to use an exercise band to strengthen your arms.
Do anything to get yourself moving, and you will feel lighter and less stressed.
5 – Exercise your mind.
By exercising your mind, I mean to get involved in a quiet activity where you can forget about everything else. Scrapbooking used to by my escape, and it felt therapeutic.
Read. Read anything! Read fictions, thrillers and add some non-fiction books. (Check out Amazon books for great deals.)
Research shows that when your mind concentrates on reading, you are distracted from your stressors. Tension in your muscles and heart relax as your focus is on the literature.
Puzzles are another good way to exercise your mind. Put your mind to work and you’ll relax and forget about your troubles!
Think coloring is just for kids? Think again! There are lots of adult coloring books available and coloring is a great way to exercise your mind. I absolutely love coloring, although I prefer markers. Coloring is very therapeutic as it helps me escape my stress and my whole body relaxes.
↓ Click image to view these adult coloring books available on Amazon ↓
Start a hobby. Scrapbooking worked great for me. My daughter recently started making wooden ornaments using a wood burner. Bonus, she makes money while enjoying her hobby that helps her relax! Here are 35 hobby ideas you can learn for free.
Take it up a notch and enjoy a cup of tea and play some soft music while doing these activities. Maximize your self-care time because it’s precious and you deserve it!
6 – Practice this simple deep relaxation technique.
Deep relaxation comes in different names such as meditation, mindful breathing, and Yoga Nidra. Meditation is becoming more mainstream because the immense benefits are becoming better known.
Research suggests that people who deal with anxiety, depression, and pain may find meditation especially beneficial.
The process is simple and you can practice deep relaxation in the office or at home. The emphasis of the relaxation technique is focused on purposeful, calm, slow breathing.
To practice deep relaxation, follow these steps:
- Choose a room where you won’t be disturbed for at least 15 minutes.
- Sit on a comfortable chair or lie on a mat or blanket.
- Play soothing music in the background. if you choose.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes.
- Focus on your breathing. Feel it as the air enters your abdomen and as it leaves.
- Stop when the timer sounds.
- Meditation: What It Is | Why You Should Do It | How To Get Started
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On Your Mark, Get Set, Relax!
Stress affects us all. Intentionally adding some or all of these relaxation techniques will help you de-stress and be better equipped to be your best, happy self.
Keeping in mind you don’t want to stuff so many of these techniques into your daily schedule that it becomes stressful, the more regularly you practice these relaxation techniques, the greater the benefit. What’s your favorite way to relax?
Do you or someone you know need a little push to learn to relax?
- Take a peek at these Budget-Friendly Self-Care Gift Ideas.
- Get lots of ideas from my Pinterest board that’s all about self-care.
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