In today’s world, productivity is prized above all, including health. Everything is focused on how much you can get done in a day. It is no wonder we have high rates of hypertension, mental illness, and other stress-related diseases. Even when we take a vacation, sometimes we come back more stressed than we were when we left. Yet, we are so busy dashing hither and yon that there is no time to simply breathe–or so we tell ourselves. Here are ten ways to bring relaxation into your busy life.
10 Tips to Bring More Relaxation Into Your Busy Life
There are several breathing exercises you can do for relaxation. An excellent one is to breathe in while counting to four and then exhale for four counts. Another one is to sit with your eyes closed and simply be mindful of the breath, feeling it as it enters and exits your lungs. This breathing exercise can be done anywhere: at the workplace, stuck in traffic, or laying in bed before you fall asleep.
Listening to music is another great way to destress and enjoy relaxation during the day. Be sure the music you pick is soothing, though. Classical music is a good choice. It has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Lavender scent in particular is very soothing. Put a solution of lavender essential oil and water in a spray bottle and spritz it around for an instant refreshing scent. Other good essential oil scents include vanilla or mint. If you don’t want a spray, consider potpourri, an air freshener, or a candle.
4. Guided Imagery
Most of us have heard the phrase “go to your happy place.” This relaxation technique is how that is done. It’s based on the idea that the body and mind are connected to each other. By picturing yourself in calm, relaxing place, you yourself become more relaxed. It only takes a minute, but can leave you feeling relaxed and recharged.
Even a short walk can make a huge difference. Besides just getting you away from your workstation, exercise releases endorphins (the brain’s feel-good chemicals). Getting regular exercise has even greater benefits, like improving quality of sleep, not to mention prevention of dozens of diseases.
A good sense of humor goes a long way in life. It lightens the mood, which in itself reduces tension and helps create a more positive environment. Laughter is unique in that it simultaneously increases endorphins while decreasing the amount of stress hormones in the body. It’s relaxing both for you, and everyone around you gets the benefit of a good joke, too.
7. Take Things One at a Time
In today’s productivity-driven world, we are often forced to multitask, and as a result, our work quality can suffer. Multitasking can also be an overwhelming thing, so setting everything else aside and focusing on one task at a time can be a way to relax. It will also improve the quality of your work, as you’re giving each task your undivided attention.
8. Step Away
Take a break. Step away from the work. Physically and mentally leave the space, and when you return, you will be relaxed and refreshed. This works well in conjunction with other relaxation techniques, especially guided imagery and exercise, but even stepping away from the work long enough to do something like make a cup of coffee will be relaxing. You can even try helping others – giving is better that receiving! In any case you will return to the task at hand rejuvenated.
Sometimes; it’s the simple things that make the most difference. A cluttered desk or work space can be stressful by itself, so taking a few minutes to get everything organized will be well worth the time spent on it. Organize everything by priority; put the most important items on top, and work your way down the stack. You will have room to think and all the documents you need will be in their proper place.
10. Guided Relaxation
Guided Relaxation is different than Guided Imagery. In this relaxation technique, instead of imagining a specific place, you will be imagining relaxation itself. A common image is picturing muscles un-knotting and imagining stress leaving the body. By contrast, in guided imagery, you are building an image and trying to make it as real as possible. Guided relaxation exercises can be as short as two minutes or go much longer.
These ten ways to bring relaxation into your busy life are just suggestions. Each person is different, so you have to find the relaxation technique that works for you. It may be a combination of different relaxation techniques. There is no one right way. The important thing is to know that just because your life is busy, it is not too busy to have a moment to relax and destress.
Photo: Steve Webel