Rest and relaxation are two words that we should probably be using quite a bit more of in our vocabulary. Why? Well, relaxing is crucial for our mental and physical well-being.
When we relax, our bodies can recharge and reset, which in turn helps us to feel calmer, less stressed, and more able to take on whatever life throws our way.
Our lives are always moving at a million miles an hour, and it can be hard to find the time (or energy) to just stop and relax. But it's so important that we do! Because the rest we tend to get is probably nowhere near the rest we truly need.
So if you're looking for some simple ways to relax and reset in your daily life, here are a few ideas to give a try:
For your mind
1. Limit your exposure to news and social media – We're constantly being bombarded with negative news stories and images, which can be extremely detrimental to our mental health. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious after reading the news or scrolling through social media, take a break from it for a while.
2. Take some time for yourself each day – Even if it's just 10 minutes. During this mindful time, do something that you enjoy or that makes you feel good. This could be reading, listening to relaxing music, journaling, spending time in nature, meditating, practicing yoga or stretching, or anything else that helps you to feel relaxed and at ease.
For example, listening to music can be a powerful tool to put you in an elevated mood or help you focus, so choose whatever type of music puts you in a good headspace.
3. Take a break from caffeine – If you're someone who relies on coffee or energy drinks to get through the day, try scaling back and see how it affects your stress levels. Instead, you can opt for a soothing cup of herbal tea or some water with lemon.
4. Ditch the alarm clock – If you can, wake up naturally without an alarm clock. This will help your body to feel rested and more relaxed. You can practice conditioning your body to wake up naturally by leaving the blinds open, allowing the sun to wake you up, or by going to bed earlier.
If you need to use an alarm clock, try a gentle one that slowly wakes you up with soft music or nature sounds. So rather than jumping out of bed to a blaring alarm, allow yourself to slow down and ease out of bed.
For your body
5. Cool off – Taking a cold shower or simply splashing cold water on your face can help to reset your body and mind. Not only is it energizing, but the shock of cold water can help to clear your head and leave you feeling refreshed.
6. Exercise – Yes, exercise may not sound like the most relaxing thing in the world, but it can help to reduce stress and improve your overall mood. Plus, it doesn't have to be anything too strenuous – a simple walk around the block will do the trick!
7. Stretch or do some simple yoga poses – This is something that can be done anywhere and doesn't require any special equipment. Just a few minutes of stretching or doing some gentle yoga can help to ease muscle tension and make you feel more relaxed. During a busy workday, sometimes all we need is a quick break to stand up and enjoy a nice big stretch.
8. Massage your extremities – If you're feeling tense, give yourself a hand or foot massage. Rotate and flex your wrists and ankles for a minute or two, or massage your temples and scalp with your fingers. This can help to increase circulation and relieve any built-up tension.
9. Take a sun bath – Vitamin D is crucial for our health, yet many of us don't get enough of it. So soak up some sun when you can! Spend at least 10 minutes outside each day, and try to get your skin exposed to the sunlight. If it's too cold to go outside, sit near a window where the sun is shining in. This is a great time to also drop into your gratitude and incorporate this practice as part of your morning routine.
10. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water – When we're dehydrated or not getting enough nutrients, our bodies can feel run down and stressed. So make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
For your spirit
11. Breathe in the fresh outdoor air – Spend time outside in the fresh air, and take in the sights and sounds of nature. This can help to center and ground you and make you feel more connected to the world around you.
12. Try visualization, meditation, or deep breathing exercises – These practices are great for clearing your mind and helping you to relax. Visualize a peaceful scene, such as a tranquil meadow or a quiet beach. Or, try meditating for 5-10 minutes each day, focusing on your breath and letting all other thoughts drift away.
*And if you're new to these practices, consider a guided meditation where you simply listen to someone else's voice lead you through the process.
13. Listen to noise – Between white, pink, and brown noise, there are all sorts of calming sounds that can help you to relax and feel calmer. Varying in sounds of rainfall, ocean waves, and waterfalls, these noises can help to mask unwanted or intrusive noise, quieting your mind and calming your spirit.
*And especially if you have trouble winding down at night, try putting on some noise in the background as you drift off to sleep, as there are many apps you can use for this purpose.
14. Create your own quiet room - Quiet time can sometimes be hard to find. But if you can, create a space in your home where you can go to relax and unwind for even just a few minutes. This could be a corner of your bedroom, a spot in your living room, or even just a cozy chair with a blanket thrown over it. Wherever it is, make sure it's a place where you can feel comfortable and relaxed, free from outside distractions.
15. Connect with your spirituality – If you have a spiritual practice, such as praying, attending church, or meditating, make time for it in your busy schedule. Connecting with something bigger than ourselves can help to give us a sense of peace and calm. Plus, it's something that can be practiced at any time or place.
16. Spread kindness – Helping others has been shown to improve our own mental and emotional health. Simply being able to take your mind off of your problems, even for a little while, can help you to relax and feel better. So next time you're feeling down, try doing something nice for someone else – it just might make you feel better, too!
17. Laugh – Laughter is the best medicine! Not only does it feel good, but it can also help to reduce stress and improve your overall sense of well-being. So make time for some fun and laughter in your life – watch a funny movie, read a hilarious book, or spend time with friends who make you laugh.
Rest is so important for our overall health and well-being. And while it's not always possible to eliminate stress from our lives, these simple tips can help to reduce its impact and make it more manageable. So by taking some time each day to relax and reset, you'll be on your way to a calmer, happier life.
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