There’s something missing from today’s to-do list: relaxation.
A lot of us skip right over time spent relaxing because with everything we have going on, it would seem lazy to kick our feet up. However, relaxing is incredibly valuable when it comes to our health, both long and short term. Taking a breather can decrease our chances of coming down with a cold this week, while decreasing our chances of suffering high blood pressure or strokes later on.
Making friends with relaxation also helps us accomplish more during our active times. We’re less tense and overwhelmed, better able to focus on what’s right in front of us.
Not sure how to relax? Here are eight bright ideas to help you unwind.
- Write it all down.
You don’t have to journal every day, but the next time you have a lot on your mind, spell it out. Read over it once, and throw it away. Now, take 5-10 deep breaths. Believe it or not, you’re now moving beyond whatever is bogging you down.
On stressful days, we love a good stretch. But any kind of movement can help you relax. It can be dancing to your favorite songs, or running three miles. When you do this every day, you’re producing hormones that ease stress and make it easier to feel relaxed.
- Listen to some binaural beats.
Grab your headphones and spend 10 to 20 minutes listening to some binaural beats. Recently, we touched upon various types of brain waves, how they reflect our stress levels, and how we can change them. Binaural beats help us alter brain waves with low-frequency tones.
- Identify what you can’t control.
Go ahead and examine everything that’s bothering you right now. Write this down as well, if needed. Now pick out anything that you have no control over (someone else’s temper, bad weather, the economy) and purge it from today’s list of worries.
- Go to bed early.
Have you ever heard of “sleep debt”? Basically, any lost hours of sleep build up, creating a debt that your body must pay back in order to feel as rested as possible. That is to say, sleeping in once after a whole week of substandard sleep isn’t enough. Go to bed an hour early each night, start paying down that debt, and feel more relaxed every day.
- Take a bath.
There’s nothing like a hot bath to take the weight of the world off your shoulders. It’s effective when you’re tired or stressed out, but it also helps relieve pain, improve your immune system, and much more.
- Move through routine tasks more mindfully.
So, you’re convinced that you don’t have time to relax. What if you took a more relaxed approach to normal, everyday activities? For example, take your time folding laundry. Instead of taking 30 minutes to make dinner, spend a whole hour. Make the thing you must do a relaxing time, as opposed to rushing for results.
- Sit with your singing bowl.
You don’t have to have an intention when you use your singing bowl. If you’re not in the mood to meditate, make it sing for a few minutes anyway. This is why we recommend keeping your singing bowl in a safe, but highly visible area. Every time you walk by it, it should remind you to take a minute for your wellbeing - no matter what else is going on.