There is no doubt that we live in an extremely fast-paced, stressful world. If you aren’t juggling multiple demands on your attention, it’s safe to say that you’re in the minority.
Between family obligations, jobs that don’t seem to have fixed hours anymore, and attempts to still “have a life,” there doesn’t seem to be a single minute of the day that isn’t scheduled.
Where does it stop? When do you take a minute to relax? How will you find the time?
What you need are easy ways to relax that you can fit into your hectic daily routine. Quick tricks (because there isn’t much downtime to be had, it seems) that will give you a boost of energy and motivation to keep going down that crazy to-do list you have.
The more chaotic you feel on the inside, the more important that it is to pause and regroup. If you are anxious, stressed, or don’t feel well then your tasks are going to be a struggle. It’s okay to take five for yourself.
3 Easy Ways to Relax
- Eat something lovely. How I love the use of food to heal. There are so many delicious options for a mood booster that also helps to settle your mind. With a clear head and a better mood, you’re going to accomplish so much more with less tension.
Dark chocolate is incredible. The higher the cacao content, the better. I enjoy a 70% cacao dark chocolate (with sea salt or almonds) for a quick break. I buy a nice bar and split it into one ounce portions that I can take with me. Place a bit on your tongue, close your eyes, and let it melt slowly. Pay attention to the process, enjoy it, savor it from start to finish. It will stimulate your feel good hormones like serotonin and lower the levels of cortisol and adrenaline.
Honey with a bit of coconut oil is another favorite. I have a tiny travel container that I keep with me in a pinch. Mix a tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Place the blend on your tongue and allow it to melt slowly down your throat. It’s a sweet pick-me-up combined with natural anti-inflammatory compounds and raw brain food. Always choose organic and if you have a chance to spread this over an orange slice…I think you’ll love it.
Green tea is delicious and if you sip it in peace for just a few minutes, you’ll feel the difference. It contains all sorts of fantastic antioxidants for physical health and has been proven to soothe anger and calm mood. I like to take five minutes and enjoy a cup of tea in sunshine if it’s available or close my eyes and enjoy the warmth. Sweeten with a bit of honey, if desired.
- Still your mind completely. Nothing is going to function properly if you can’t think clearly. You need your brain in peak condition if you have to code a website, communicate with customers, operate heavy machinery, or simply remember how to get to the mechanic for service on your car.
Your brain is a fascinating example of form and function. It wants to keep all your plates spinning but you can’t run it day in and day out with no down time, no chance to process, and no relief from non-stop stress.
Take five minutes right now (even if you have to hide in the bathroom at your job) to give your brain a time out. Stop the world for five minutes. Nothing is going to fall apart. Your life will not spin out of control.
You can take those five minutes, practice an easy way to relax, give to yourself, and everything will be right where you left it. Gentle meditation where you slow things down, focus on your breathing, and visualize things that inspire peace and relaxation for you personally is going to do wonders for the rest of your day.
Find a comfortable spot with privacy (your car is a good choice). You can sit or stand. You can close your eyes or focus on an inanimate object. Relax your muscles (maybe stretch a bit). Take air deep into your lungs until your stomach expands. Create an image or a wish in your mind that makes you happy and settles you. For a handful of minutes, breathe. Just breathe and think positive thoughts. Repeat twice a day. This is especially helpful to a good night’s sleep.
There are many ways to bring meditation and deep breathing exercises into your daily life. I like to stand on my patio (I sit all day) to loosen my muscles and visualize a beautiful beach in total solitude. On sunny mornings, this is especially effective. I use the time to boost my levels of vitamin D, which improves mood and focus.
- Get out of the moment. Sometimes, when stress or emotions get too bad, you have got to disconnect before you pop. It’s okay to take a minute to figure out what you need. It’s okay not to be okay. There are many physical methods to pausing your day and relieving the build up.
Pressure points are a very helpful and easy way to relax. Massaging lotion into your hands is an outstanding method to relieve muscle tension you might not even know you have. Using a stress ball to release emotional tension can be helpful as well. Take off your shoes and roll the bottoms of your feet over a tennis ball. Press down with each pass and release in the opposite motion. This feels amazing if you’re on your feet all day.
Massage your temples with a drop of lavender essential oil (with a carrier like coconut oil if you have sensitive skin). Breathe deeply, close your eyes, and give yourself a minute. Tension headaches are the most common form of headache in the world. Consider a cold diffuser for your office or sleep space to keep that beneficial feeling going.
Take a walk and phone a friend or loved one you haven’t talked to in a while. Enjoy a short conversation about what’s happening with them. Taking the focus off your own stressful day and laughing with someone you care about is a wonderful way to lift both your spirits. When I worked in the corporate world, I used to walk two laps around our building every afternoon around three when my mind would begin to lag. I used the time to check in on my friend who worked an opposite schedule. It did wonders for the last two hours of my day.
There are the old standbys – easy ways to relax that still work as well as they always have. Listening to music you love, journaling, taking a nap, or enjoying a little extra time in the shower with the water hitting the back of your neck will help to revitalize you on days you feel lost or overwhelmed.
The important thing, what I missed for so many years, is to recognize when you need it. Listen to your body, pay attention to your mind, and know when you require a mental or physical break from the insanity.
You won’t regret it.