We all need to relax! But how? There are so many suggestions and advice that the idea of relaxing can become stressful. What to do?
Can you relax? Is it easy or difficult, or does it depend and vary a lot?
Mindfulness, meditation, yoga etc – it can feel like a daunting task and another time consuming chore. You can be forgiven for not wanting to go anywhere near it.
But relaxation is important for our concentration, creativity and productivity. It helps enhance our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, helps reduce our blood pressure and stress hormones in the blood. Being able to relax is also important to help manage anxiety and depression and situations when we might get overwhelmed and lack perspective for good decision making.
Allow me to share 5 ways to help you relax.
Step 1: Relax your attitude towards relaxing
Before you do anything else, remember that relaxation requires an attitude and belief.
To relax, like any other form of self care, is not selfish. Don’t feel guilty or bad about doing it.
You cannot keep going without recharging. All too often do we praise those who appear to be able to keep going. Remember, the higher the endurance threshold the deeper the fall, when breakdown or burnout happen.
Remember: Give yourself permission to do what you need to do to relax.
Step 2. Relax anytime and anywhere
As with many things, half the job is to realise what is happening. And so it is no different with needing to relax. We need to know when we need it.
That may sound pretty obvious and simplistic. But often we don’t realise that a situation which is about to unfold, may cause us immense stress and exhaustion (like exams, interviews, illness, grief, family gatherings and events etc). In such cases, it is helpful to be prepared and to realise we need extra relaxation fuel.
Equally, it is helpful to check in with ourselves, how we feel and whether we may need to reprioritise chores and tasks.
Remember: Be prepared and understand your relaxation needs.
Step 3. Relax with a guided visualisation
You might have heard of it. There are examples online and therapist can do it with you, ie ‘guide you’. But guided visualisation is also something you can do alone. You can guide yourself in your mind to a relaxing place where you can rehearse and prepare for a specific situation or do nothing at all.
You can do this lying or sitting down – anywhere, as long as you are not distracted.
I have recorded a podcast episode in my series Soul Cravings which is all about guided visualisation and it includes an example where I guide you.
Listen, download and keep the podcast episode here
Remember: Try a guided visualisation.
4. Relax with reading and writing
Whatever genre/s you like, reading and writing can help you relax. You may not need to do a lot of it, and neither do you need to do it all of the time. The key is to do what you enjoy.
Reading can take us into another world, and writing can help us express what may otherwise remain trapped deep inside of us, and in turn can make us feel trapped.
Neither reading nor writing need to be complicated. I have put together a collection of favourite quotes and poems which may give you a taste for what is possible.
Or listen, download and keep the podcast episode here
Remember: Express yourself.
5. Relax with mindfulness, chanting and affirmations
These might sound like the latest buzz words, and you may feel this is not something for you. If so, why not make up your own mind by having a go, first. I have put together a short introduction to each.
Mindfulness is an attitude, way of looking at life and yourself that you can very easily get into the habit of. It can help you relax, focus, simplify complex situations, reduce a sense of being overwhelmed and out of control. It can strengthen you from within and you can do it anytime and anywhere.
Chanting and affirmations are equally simple and fit into any lifestyle. You have probably done some of it already without realising it – like that silent prayer or loud exclamation, the words of courage we keep repeating in moments of fear.
Having even just brief moments of focus when we connect with some words of meaning that help us ground, calm and strengthen from within can be a surprisingly wonderful way to relax and feel more positive.
Remember: Have daily moments of mindful reflection and reassuring words.
There are many more ways to relax, including walking, sports, music, cooking, praying, sleeping, socialising to name just a few.
What you choose can also change over time. We can grow out of one thing and grow into another thing. That’s ok, too.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
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