7 ways to be more relaxed - starting today

Spirit body and mind rocks on hands.

Spirit body and mind rocks on hands.

Is it challenging for you to really relax? Do you struggle with how to banish stress for long enough to recharge your energy and enthusiasm? If so, the following ideas should help you find your path to a more relaxed day, and ultimately to a more relaxed life.

Laugh – a lot.

If you don’t already know what makes you break out in laughter, now’s the time to find out! Is it funny movies, a comedian’s podcasts, videos of human pratfalls or entertaining animals? Whatever it is that makes you laugh, go for it! Laughter truly may be the best medicine, but it’s undoubtedly also one of the best, easiest and healthiest ways to immediately put you in a more relaxed state of mind.

Put yourself in time out.

Think of time-out as a mini-vacation, your own personal retreat, lasting for an hour or a day depending on how much time you can carve out. During that time, focus on engaging in activities that soothe and relax you. You might choose to read, take a walk in nature, listen to music, garden, journal, get a massage, take a warm bath, savor a glass of wine, or any other activity that asks nothing of you but to simply be present in the moment and enjoy the calm.

Start planning your vacation.

A survey  conducted by Project:TimeOff indicated that American workers left 662 million vacation days unused in 2016. Failing to take your vacation days not only means you’re missing out on one of the best ways to relax for an extended period of time, but also that you’re missing out on the benefit of anticipation, which studies show may be one of vacations’ biggest happiness boosts. Even if a luxury vacation isn’t in the budget this year, take a more inexpensive staycation and use every one of those days off to do something fun, entertaining and relaxing (no housework allowed!).

Step away from the screen.

That includes laptops, computers, TVs, tablets, cell phones and any other smart devices. Checking social media and the news on a constant basis is a distraction that tends to increase rather than decrease your stress levels. Try giving yourself a break from the intense visual and emotional stimulus that comes from constant connection to friends, family and information, and instead use that time to bring relaxing quiet and calm into your life.

Consider hitting your personal “pause” button.

There are many ways to simply step away from the intensity of your day-to-day life, but one of the most effective is any sort of relaxation technique that calms you in an otherwise overstressed life. What works best? That’s entirely up to you. You might start by reading a book about meditation, watching an online video on mindfulness, or enrolling in an inexpensive class, such as one of those offered by Colorado Free University . A long, soothing bath or quiet glass of wine might be your best pause. Or you might start by simply setting aside time at the beginning of each day to sit quietly and breathe deep, relaxing breaths, thinking about all the things in your life for which you’re grateful.

Say no, and say it often.

An inability to relax often comes from not having enough time in your life to get everything done that you’ve got on your plate. That’s where the magic of saying no comes in. By limiting your commitments, you’ll be able to carve out space for the activities that truly bring you or those you love joy. Translation: you can replace moments of stress with moments of relaxation.

Let go of needing to be perfect.

University of Houston research professor Dr. Brené Brown points out the psychological damage and ongoing stress created by your efforts to be the perfect partner, parent, friend, child and/or employee – all of which are unattainable, unrealistic and harmful goals. Instead, Dr.Brown suggests in her best-selling The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are  (Hazelden, 2010), that you should instead focus on appreciating yourself exactly as you are, imperfections and all. Key relaxation take-away: rather than jumping into that next item on your to-do list, let yourself relax and enjoy life instead. Find even more mindfulness advice in this Q&A.


Resources:

BOOK

Compassion Cards: Teachings for Awakening the Heart in Everyday Life

From beloved American Buddhist monk Pema Chödrön, these cards will fill your personal time-out with self-compassion and wisdom.

http://www.tatteredcover.com/book/9781611803648 

PODCAST

“Radio Headspace”

The perfect podcast for starting your day with calmness or re-starting an afternoon with a meditative moment.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radio-headspace/id823637079?mt=2 

Bright Health

August 7, 2017