Do you know how to relax?
Have to forgotten how to relax and get some rest? How many times have you hear ‘just relax’, ‘calm down’ or ‘take a deep breath’? There are times when this is just not possible, when life is throwing everything at us and we need the storm to pass.
Even when you know all the right things to do, sometimes you just need a reminder. I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for you. There’s do doubt we have periods of busy times that we just need to put our head down and work through and then there are times where being busy just becomes a habit. I am definitely guilty of taking on too much. So the advice below is the advice I will also be taking and implementing myself.
We’re living lives that are so switched on all the time, we have access to any movie or TV show we want to watch, whenever we want to watch it. We live in a household where most people have a phone, computer, tablet, kindle, we can get the answer to any question in less that 10 seconds. We go to do something and end up scrolling, checking the weather, news, message one or two friends and forget what we were supposed to be doing. Even for those of us who try our best to create boundaries, have social media free days or even weekends still feel the stress that this causes in our lives.
It’s not just the internet, it’s work stress, money problems, clutter, relationships, illness, diet, we live in a world where we are constantly on ‘high alert’.
Businesses and employers have started to realise that it’s not smart to work hard, longer hours and offering more flexible working to try and create the ever elusive work life balance.
When we become stressed our body moves into ‘fight/ flight’ the we become fatigued, our body enters survival mode, our breath is quicker and shallower, blood is diverted to arms and legs, moving away from digestive system. Tension build in neck and shoulder, the brain focuses on negative memories.
Just as being busy becomes a habit, we need to make relaxation become a habit. I believe we can learn a lot from our parents, grandparents, old wives tales and ancient methods of healing. We don’t really have a Sunday as a day of rest, but it’s also not just about pockets of relaxation but learning how to live life in a much calmer way. That’s the challenge.
How to relax - strategies for daily life
Identify stressors in your life and ways you can start acting on them and making small changes. Are you taking on stress from those around you? Is it your stress to deal with?
What activities make you feel good to help you deal with stressed in your life? This can be as simple as going for a walk, having a bath to painting, drawing, meeting up with friends more often.
Sometimes it’s the simple things, are you sleeping enough, eating the right food, moving your body in a way that’s right for you at this time in your life? This might not mean a hardcore gym session or a run but a walk, some gentle yoga or swimming. When you’re taking care of these areas f your life the rest is much easier to cope with
Be aware of your posture - relax your shoulders, your jaw, and become aware of your breathing. These are areas of tension I see all, the time. Once you become aware of them, you can start to make small changes.
Do you take a break?
Do you switch off from your work, phone, email, housework, cooking, childcare, whatever your responsibilities are, you must take some time off. Easy for me to say that as I don’t have children, but there must be a time in the day where you can at least get 5 minutes of doing absolutely nothing! That doesn’t include sleeping . . . sleep is essential for us to function but we also need periods of rest throughout the day.
You need to learn what works for you, clearly I’m an advocate for yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, having a massage. These techniques are over 5,000 years old, there is much more research being documented to support this but the best way to truly find out if it works for you is to try it, feel it, experience it.
Throughout your day start by becoming aware of your breathing, notice the movement of your breath in your chest, abdomen, notice your surroundings things you can see, colours textures, sounds you can hear, things you can feel - your feet on the ground, your clothes against your skin.
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