Some days, you wake up late, you run into bad traffic, you don’t have time to eat breakfast, someone cuts you off, you’re late to work, your least-favorite coworker actually shows up, you miss a deadline, your computer breaks, the building explodes . . . some days are just bad days. If you’re having one of those days, take a deep breath. It’s National Relaxation Day. Just stop whatever you’re doing, and take some of these relaxation tips to use for tomorrow, which will hopefully be a better day.
Tips for relaxation:
Think of your favorite relaxation activity. No one knows you like you do. If you like biking, reading, fishing, walking, going to the spa, golfing, taking pictures, watching movies, swimming, cooking, or anything else. Do it. Take the time out of your life today to do the things that matter most to you. You deserve it.
Meditate. Before you skip this bullet point because you don’t believe in mediation,1 just try it. Meditation might even seem like it is something only a true yoga master could achieve, but you can do it. First, go to a quiet place, and set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes. Once you’ve found a place, sit down and close your eyes. Try to sit still, and take slow and deep breaths. If a thought or worry enters your mind, just imagine the thought leaving as fast as it came in. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and breath out for eight seconds. The first time you try this, you might not be able to breathe that slowly or focus. That’s okay. Meditation takes practice. You’ll work up to it.
Try yoga or another mind and body workout. If you really can’t hold still for 5 minutes, do a workout that uses your mind and your body. This could be yoga or pilates, or you could just do different agility exercises. You’ll find that exercising the mind and the body releases endorphins and helps you to relax.
Take time to laugh. Laughing calms down the stress response in your body. This is a good excuse to watch a rom-com or a stand-up comedian. Laughing is truly good for the mind and the soul.
Don’t add stress to your life that you don’t need. If watching scary movies stresses you out, don’t do it. If reading comments on Facebook angers you, stop it. If you have friends who aren’t really your friends, stop spending time with them. Try skipping the news channel today. Try taking a deep breath before you yell at your kids. Try skipping your weigh-in. While there are some things you can’t avoid, like your annoying boss or your grandma’s funeral or your annoying boss at your grandma’s funeral, there are things that you can control. Control them.
Let yourself wind down before bed like a wind-up toy that lost its wind. Turn off the TV, put away your phone, stop working, stop cleaning the house, and start getting ready for bed half an hour sooner than you usually do. Give yourself at least 30 minutes for your brain to stop spinning. Letting your brain have its own time to relax will help you fall asleep faster and will help you get a deeper, more refreshing sleep.
Listen to relaxing music. For me, relaxing music is the blues or jazz. Listening to Michael Bublé or Frank Sanatra at the end of the day helps me relax and helps me feel better. Listen to your favorite music. It’ll help.
Drink something warm. You know in the winter time when you sit by the fire with your hot chocolate in hand and read a good book? What’s stopping you from doing that when it’s not winter time? I guess the heat is. But drinking something warm without caffeine or alcohol, such as herbal tea or warm milk will help you relax.
Take a warm bath.2 For some people, taking a bath might sound gross because you’re just sitting there in your own dirt. If you’re really worried about how dirty you are, I think you have another problem. Take a shower to rinse off the grime, and then get in the bath. The best way to take a bath is to light some candles, pour in some bath salts, and put in a bath bomb. The aroma and the warm to hot water will calm you right down, relaxing your muscles with heat therapy and relaxing your mind with aromatherapy.
Write. You might say, “I’m not a writer; I can’t write.” But you can. Just take 15 minutes to write down your thoughts. Or try just writing down what happened to you today in your journal. Writing down your feelings is great self-therapy and can help you know how you can be a better person and make much-needed changes to your life.
Drink some water. Are you staying hydrated? Maybe you just need some water to relax. I know when I stay hydrated, I feel better, healthier, more relaxed, and in control of my life. Make sure you’re drinking enough water for your body.
Benefits of relaxation:
You should try these things on days other than National Relaxation day too because relaxing is good for your health.3 Relaxing slows your heart rate, reduces stress, lowers your blood pressure, slows your breath rate, reduces your need for oxygen, increases blood flow to major muscles, and reduces muscle tension. You should do it; relax.