Did you know the art of Relaxation is like a muscle – meaning, you need to use it to keep it in shape! Here are some tips that may help:
- Try keeping a journal. Use this time to unclutter your mind of things bothering you. Give yourself permission to let go of worries over which you have no control. Perhaps you may also want to include something you are grateful for each day.
- Make it a priority to address your nutrition, exercise, and sleep needs daily.
- Spend 5 to 30 minutes a day “off the grid” (no phone, computer, or TV) to define and defend your personal boundaries of space and time.
- Admit that no one can be perfect or productive all hours of everyday. Stop trying.
- Go outside everyday – for lunch, a phone call, a walk, a quick break, or mindful meditation.
- Spend more time with people and things that make you laugh – or find a way to laugh more at yourself and the world.
Perhaps the best relaxation is being just here – completely – right now. It is key to a sense of calm and balance for many. To do this:
- Notice to your immediate surroundings instead of your thoughts or feelings. Notice sights, sounds, smells, and breezes and ‘connect’ with your surroundings.
- Sit quietly without distractions for five minutes, and focus on your breath. When thoughts pop into your mind just acknowledge them and let them go. Draw your attention back to the here and now of your breath.
- Release the tension in your jaw. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. The pace should be slow but something that feels good to you. The exhale should stretch out longer than the inhale – smoothly exhale nearly all the air.
- Notice changes in how you are feeling and a slowing heart rate.
- Visualize a relaxing environment. Allow yourself positive, reassuring, and calm messages.
- When you are ready to calmly reenter the world, focus on what you need to do and gently go back into the flow of your day.
This five-minute relaxation is available whenever you are. It is also cumulative and works best with routine practice. Mostly importantly, do what works for you. Some people find vigorous exercise helpful to unwind. Others may relax best on a couch while watching TV.
If you still feel you never can relax, seek help. A medical professional could find the reasons why you’re having a hard time relaxing and offer solutions to help.
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