A couple of days ago, I posted this celebration on Facebook,
“Learning to relax is an art. It’s all about knowing that you don’t have to do everything.”
A friend of mine that I have lots of respect for, commented,
“Great advice I’m sure. How to implement, not so sure!”
I love her honesty. Most of us don’t know how to relax.
We can all practice relaxation, even if for only 60 seconds at a time.
Here are 16 ways:
1. Take a deep breath. Inhale through your nose over four counts, hold it, then slowly exhale through your mouth over eight counts. You can work your way up to 10 or 12 at a time. This one is great because it can be done at any time. So the next time you’re nursing, waiting on hold, driving, making dinner or just checking your email, take 60 seconds to breathe.
2. Do downward facing dog. Sounds weird, but it’s what you see Fido doing and it’s good for humans too. Simply get on all fours and stick your bum in the air, straightening out your arms and legs into a great stretch. Remember to breathe and stay there for 5 or 10 seconds. I love to do this after I clean house – it feels great!
3. Sip your favorite drink. Pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee or lemonade and sit quietly as you slowly savor it. Notice the way it smells, tastes and feels in your mouth. For three sweet minutes, shut out the rest of the world and enjoy. This is a great ritual to have first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
4. Daydream. Before getting out of bed in the morning bring up an image of a place you always feel good in. It can be real or imagined. Ocean, mountains, forest, laying in a hammock or getting a massage, just hold it in your mind for a couple of minutes and remember you can return to that place later in the day.
5. Go for a walk. It’s been said that as little as ten minutes of physical activity releases endorphins. I used to take part of my thirty minute lunch break to walk around the parking lot. It did wonders for me and I felt ready to face the rest of the day.
6. Smile at yourself. The next time you go to the bathroom take a couple seconds to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Remember that no matter what is going on, it’s never as serious as it seems.
7. Take a hot bath or shower. Why not turn what we already have in our daily routine into a few minutes of relaxation? The key is to direct your thoughts from what you’re going to do next, to what you’re currently doing. Relish the hot water, the scent of your body wash and then give yourself a good scalp massage – it’s heavenly.
8. Tune in. While the kids are coloring, the water is coming to a boil or you’re waiting for the elevator, place your hand on your heart and feel it beating. Feel the life flowing through your veins and give thanks for a body as amazing as the one you have.
9. Read. Instead of turning on the TV or jumping on the computer, grab a good book and get lost in its pages. Feel too tired to read, have your love read to you, it is incredibly relaxing.
10. Put your feet up. It’s not just a cliche. Putting your feet above the heart, calms the body and mind. If you want to amp it up, lay on your bed or the floor, with your bum against the wall or headboard. Straighten your legs up the wall, place your palms up, close your eyes and rest for a couple minutes.
11. Sit down to eat. The next time you eat, sit down. Leave the day, the to-do list and all your worries behind you. Eat slowly, appreciating each bite of food and those you share the table with.
12. Drop your shoulders. Put your focus on your shoulders right now. Are they up to your ears? Relax them and let them drop a couple inches. Check in several times a day, your body will thank you.
13. Use essential oils. Get a bottle of lavender oil and inhale it a couple times a day. At night put it on your temples and stomach and enjoy a good night’s rest. While you’re at it, massage it on the kids too.
14. Give yourself a foot massage. Get a golf ball and roll it around under your feet for a cheap massage that requires no assistance.
15. Pet your four-legged friend. Pets are wonderful companions and it’s impossible to feel bad while petting them. After a long day, let Fido help center you before dinner.
16. Write what’s on your mind. Before heading to bed, write down your thoughts. Errands, questions, problems, good things about the day, get it all out and let your mind rest.
Hopefully this inspires you to relax a little today…
Hungry for More, Monique Alvarez
“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”