A little stress sometimes helps me stay motivated, but I try very hard at having a good work-home balance in my life. I know too many people who have spent years of late nights at the office and now have deteriorated health because of that stress. The importance of relaxation should never be underestimated.
For me, 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 have 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 personally am able to keep a better balance between stress and relaxation. I am much 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.
If you want to feel well, feel more energetic, work well, deal with situations calmly, sleep better, and enjoy better relationships with others, it is very important to put priority on relaxation time.
The importance of relaxation cannot be overemphasized.
5 Health Benefits of Relaxation
- Relaxation protects the heart.
- Relaxation boosts the memory.
- Relaxation lowers stroke risk.
- Relaxation keeps you from depression.
- Relaxation helps in making better decisions.
I understand that carving out time for relaxation can be a bit… well, stressful. So to get you started, here are few ideas you might incorporate into your life to promote relaxation. These relaxation techniques will get you started on your path to a more relaxed life.
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Budget-Friendly Items to Promote Relaxation
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Don’t worry, be happy.
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.
Set it and forget it (sort of).
Daily stress can occur from an overall feeling that your life is not going in the direction you hoped for.
Set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. If you have big goals, deconstruct them into chunks that are achievable.
Goal setting creates a structure that allows you to visualize your success and you’ll be better able to relax knowing you have a plan. Be sure to celebrate each step in your journey.
Learn to say this one word!
Are you over-committed and running from place to place trying to make everyone happy? Sometimes it’s time to just 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.
Exercise the body.
Exercise regulates the heart. It sets the blood pulse into the perfect cardiac rhythm. Exercise is also a great way to lift your spirits and get into a better mood. It 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.
Little secret about me…. I lost much of my “baby fat” after having my two children by dancing in the living room with my kids. I’d hold my little baby and the toddler would have just as much fun jumping and dancing. It was a great stress-buster for me, and we all had fun!
Start exercising today. Start with an early morning walk, play tennis, 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.
Exercise the mind.
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 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.
Take it up a notch and enjoy a cup of tea and play some soft music while reading. Maximize your self-care time because it’s precious and you deserve it!
In addition to reducing your stress, here’s a little bonus you’ll get by working puzzles. My mother-in-law is nearly 90 years old and she has always done crossword puzzles and plays Scrabble. She is sharp as a tack, and in nearly 30 years I have only beat her once in Scrabble!
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.
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.
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On Your Mark, Get Set, 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.
Stress affects us all. Try to incorporate some or all of the relaxation techniques discussed above to reduce the stress in your life. It’s important to remember that relaxation will help you de-stress and be better equipped to be your best, happy self. Please leave a comment sharing your favorite ways to relax.
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