Relaxation. Is that more of an idea or something that can actually be accomplished?
Sometimes you just need some help to “level out”.
Especially when you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, mental health, anger, grief, & even doing physical labor.
But even I admit that sometimes relaxation techniques seem like a bit of a joke.
After I’ve been home all day with the kids plus dealing with everything else that life throws my way.
The absolute last thing that I want to do is sit & breathe.
Although, I’ve learned the hard way that relaxation techniques are a must in life.
Negative Effects Of Stress
Let’s take a moment & talk about what happens when you let stress get the best of you.
Which is pretty much what happened to me.
Some of them you may recognize instantly. While some symptoms you may not have realized we’re an indication of anything.
These symptoms can be both physical & emotional.
- Low energy
- Racing mind
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Feeling overwhelmed, agitated, sad
- Stomach issues
- Skin & hair problems
- Aches & pains
Positive Effects Of Relaxing
On the flip side of that, there are some positives to relaxation techniques.
And yes getting rid of stress & calming down are the main 2 but they aren’t the only positives.
- Increase blood flow
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased muscle pain
- Improved digestion
- Better sleep
- Improved mood
- Clearer focus
- Improve your immune system
These are just a few of the good things that start happening when you begin to relax.
Most of these can be done at home but sometimes you need to relax when you’re not at home. So there’s some at work/in public relaxation ideas thrown in too.
Remember, these are just specific techniques that you can do to relax outside of the normal self care activities that will also help you to relax & detox.
Meditation has been around for centuries.
It’s the practice of shutting out the world for a short time & focusing on just breathing.
If you’ve never tried meditation before & want to give it a go, check out this beginner’s guide.
While meditation is about sitting down & exercise is the complete opposite.
It seems a bit like an oxymoron that you have to get your heart rate up with exercise in order to relax.
But it works.
Without getting too technical, exercise essentially produces endorphins (hormones) which helps your mood, lessens pain, & kicks stress’ butt.
Adding just 10-15 minutes of physical activity a day can help you drastically relieve stress.
And, don’t run out to buy a gym membership. A 10 minute brisk walk, swimming a few laps, riding a bike, even dancing are all exercises that you can do at home.
Yoga is the happy median between meditation & exercise.
You get to relax your mind while stretching out your body.
If you haven’t tried it before, it’s a must.
It can take some getting used to but once you get into the groove you’ll be shocked by how good you feel.
Whenever you hear the word “relaxation” the mind instantly goes to the spa or to a massage.
And yes, they are very relaxing. But if paying for a massage stresses you & your budget then you can forgo one.
Ask your partner to give you a massage or simply use a massage chair.
Make sure to focus on the areas surrounding your pain spot. For instance, if your upper back is hurting, it’s generally tension from your shoulders that’s causing it.
Music therapy is a fancy way of saying listen to music to calm down.
One of the tasks that I had from a therapist when I first lost my mother was to experiment on the different types of music as I slept.
I was blown away by the results. And still, remember it to this day.
Initially, I thought that I would sleep just fine if I played whatever was on the radio. But the songs that played sparked negative emotions in me which led to horrible sleep.
So, I kept experimenting & discovered that instrumentals work best for me when I sleep.
But music isn’t just for when you sleep. Use it when you drive, cook, clean, shower, whenever you need it most.
Related: Using Music To Cope With Grief
Art therapy is an amazing way to relax.
Their initial design is to help you to relax while allowing the brain to process emotions & thoughts that you may not even realize you are currently dealing with.
Discover more with expressive art therapy with this course.
You would be surprised at what a simple hug can do.
When a person touches another person like in the form of a hug, the body releases serotonin.
Which is a natural hormone that makes you more relaxed.
There are a variety of different ways to use breathing as a way to calm down.
I’m going to cover 3 of the most common ones. Meditation is at the top of the list but we covered that above.
Belly breathing can be done while sitting or lying down.
Place one hand on your stomach & the other on your chest.
Breathe in deeply through your nose & out through your mouth.
Focus on how your belly goes in as the breath goes out & back in
Repeat this 3-5 times.
Close your eyes & take deep breaths.
As the air goes in picture a calming image. As the air goes out picture the stress & tension leaving your body.
This method focuses on controlling your breathing for a small amount of time.
Breath in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8 seconds.
Make sure you’re sitting or laying down when doing this technique as you may feel light headed the first few times.
Supplies That Help You Relax
Just like you accessorize your clothes, sometimes you need to accessorize your relaxation. (I think that makes more sense in my head, but you get it).
There are some extra supplies that are good to keep on hand to help you to relax.
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy. Scents such as lemon, lavender, bergamont, & chamomile as often used.
The smell of the oils trigger positive responses in the brain & body leading you to a more relaxed state.
There are a several diferent ways to use these oils in order to help you relax.
Option A: Infuse them in a diffuser.
Option B: Rub them onto your skin. Be careful to make sure the oils are safe for your skin. Some essential oils need to be diluted in coconut oil before being applied.
If you’re having trouble shutting your mind down & keeping your eyes closed, then a sleep mask is a must.
Even if you’re not utilizing music therapy, you can still use music to help you relax. Lightly play music in the background while doing your relaxation activity.
Usually, music that is more mellow in sounds has a more soothing tone. But if you find that it doesn’t it’s ok to experiment with different types of music to find what’s works best for you.
Classical, rock, jazz, gospel, the list goes on.
Personally, I relax best to Christmas music. I’m not sure why but it works!
It’s important to remember that there is no set amount of time that you need to relax each day. Use these techniques when you’re feeling stressed or use them to unwind at the end of the day.
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