Are you desperate for a little break, a pause in the frantic pace of your day? National Relaxation Day is August 15th, and we’ve got 5 surefire ways to get you back on track and help you feel better about facing the rest of the day.
Let’s face it; we all stretch ourselves to the limit more than we probably should. Whether you’re working too hard on a side gig, or you’re pushing your CrossFit limits after an already long day of work. Sometimes a quick relaxation sesh is exactly what’s in order.
Try these proven techniques, and you’ll feel better in just minutes.
1. Take a Walk Outside
Have you noticed that even a short walk outside can refresh and reinvigorate you? There are a lot of reasons why time spent outside is good for your mental health. If you live in an area where it’s possible, turn your walk into a nature walk to make the most of your time.
One of the biggest benefits of being outside is that you’re soaking up vitamin D from the sun. In fact, short walks are a great way to get vitamin D because it doesn’t take much time to absorb all the sunshine you need. Less time also means you’ll be reducing your risk of sun damage.
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that’s a hormone, which promotes calcium absorption and activates genes that regulate the immune system and release dopamine and serotonin. This gives you a healthy boost of happy.
Why add in the element of nature? A Harvard Health article cites research that suggests mood disorders can be lifted by spending more time outside in nature. This is a burgeoning new field of study called ecotherapy, and it’s rapidly gaining ground for its natural healing approach.
2. Try a Breathing Exercise
Deep breathing is one of the easiest and best ways to lower your stress levels. When you breathe deeply, your body sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. That message goes back out to the body, and your heart rate slows, and your blood pressure begins to drop.
Taking a couple of deep breaths can help in any situation, but why not get more bang out of your breath? Learn to do a few different breathing exercises that will help you find an even deeper level of relaxation and comfort. It’s like a mini-vacay you can do every day.
The University of Michigan’s Medicine Department has some great tips on breathing exercises. One of the easiest ones they recommend is called “belly breathing.”
♦ Sit or lie in a comfortable position
♦ Put one hand on your belly, just below your ribs
♦ Put the other hand on your chest
♦ Take a deep breath in through your nose and let your belly push out. Your chest should not move
♦ Breath out through pursed lips, almost like you were whistling. Feel the belly hand go in and use it to push all the air out
♦ Take 3-10 breaths in this manner
3. Take a Supplement
While you can’t really take a chill pill, you could try ZenWell, and boost your health while inducing relaxation. This supplement features your favorite Ashwagandha, or Indian Ginseng. The plant has proven therapeutic benefits like helping reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and even to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It’s a staple in Ayurveda.
ZenWell also features Suntheanine. This is a lesser-known extract that’s designed to mimic the amino acid L-theanine found in tea. Suntheanine stimulates brain activity that is associated with a relaxed and awake state. This makes it a great way to relax, but not to the point where you feel sleepy or groggy.
4. Savor a Smart Snack
You are what you eat, and a healthy snack can be your key to relaxation. The trick is to know what benefits your food and beverages give you, and take full advantage of them.
Skip the soda, that’s so 1990 anyway. Try an herbal tea instead. Green tea has that chemical L-theanine, which has been proven to relieve stress and also dispel anger. Add mango to your snack, and you’re pulling in the compound linalool, which is a proven stress warrior.
Feeling in the mood for something a little more indulgent? Dark chocolate could be your solution. Chocolate is loaded with health benefits, if eaten in moderation, of course. But let’s focus on what matters right now, your mood. Dark chocolate stimulates endorphins, which give you feelings of pleasure and calmness. It also contains serotonin, which elevates your mood.
5. Stretch, Exercise, or Dance
Whatever you choose to do, get moving! You know you feel better when you’re out playing with your friends, riding your fixie, or SUPing with your pup. Whatever activity you love has its own special way of making you happy.
Exercise is a fantastic way to boost your mood and feel more alert. While you already know it’s good for you physically, it’s also a way to mentally improve your life. An article in HelpGuide details all of the ways exercise can support mental health. While that may have you itching to get out and exercise, you need a stress reliever right now.
That’s where stretching, doing a little dance, a quick jog, any small physical activity comes into play. Any activity that gets you moving increases your blood flow, which brings more oxygen to your brain and muscles, giving them a quick refresh. It’s like nourishing your body with blood.
No matter where you are, there is a way to relax. Grab a healthy snack or a chocolate square, sip some tea, take a supplement, stretch, or try your deep breathing exercises.
If your need for a de-stressing break is bigger, then try going for a walk and spending time in nature or dancing to your favorite song,
There are some great ways that you can work relaxation into your everyday life without having to take significant time from those tasks you simply must do. This will give you the power and the energy to keep going. It will also supply the mood boost you need to stay positive about the path you’re on.
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