Take 5: Relaxation
With our unique situation adding extra stress to work life, Liggy Webb underscores the importance of relaxation.
With everything that is going on in the world right now there is a great deal of heightened stress and anxiety. Building relaxation time into our lives will help us to keep our stress levels down and look after our overall wellbeing.
Too much work and not enough time out for yourself can result in physical and mental health problems. Winding down and relaxing is essential if we want to invest in achieving better balance and live a happier, healthier and more positive and productive life.
Here are five ways that to build relaxation into your day...
Prioritise time for relaxation
Setting aside time for yourself within your busy schedule is all about self-care and establishing healthy boundaries. Making personal wellbeing your biggest priority has nothing to do with being selfish and no one needs to feel guilty about this. It is the most responsible approach to living a healthy and productive life.
When you plan your day, it is important to allocate time for relaxation and actually put this on your to-do list. Getting outside at lunchtime for a relaxing stroll or even just taking a few minutes to do some stretching and breathing exercises can make all the difference.
Making personal wellbeing your biggest priority has nothing to do with being selfish and no one needs to feel guilty about this.
If you don’t set the time aside however, you may not get around to doing it, so it pays to be committed and disciplined about this.
Make a habit of switching off technology
With everything that is going on at the moment it is tempting to keep checking the news to see what is going on however this can lead to increased agitation and anxiety.
Various studies into neurological and emotional wellbeing highlight the need to take breaks. Scanning social media is not a break for your brain because your mind will think it is still working. When you relax you really need to switch off and avoid directing your thoughts toward any task at all.
Downtime is so healthy for the mind and body.
Breathing has to be the easiest form of relaxation and when you focus on breathing it can really help you to calm down if you are feeling stressed. There are many simple breathing exercises that are very easy and require no equipment and can be done anywhere.
Here is just one example:
- Sit with your back straight and imagine a piece of string attached to the top of your head pulling you up.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, slowly, to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now repeat up to six times.
Listen to soothing music
Music is a great way to help you relax, relieve stress and ease any anxieties you may have. It can also help you to function better mentally and physically. Music is regularly used for meditation and as an aid for sleep disorders.
Some studies have suggested that slow, gentle, soothing music can also improve learning, creativity and memory. I absolutely love pianist and composer Alexis Ffrench and especially the track 'Blue Bird'. It’ is simply magical and so relaxing.
Reduce stress with laughter
Having a good laugh can decrease stress hormones and also increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter has so many benefits and can be such a great tonic, as well as helping you to relax. Even in challenging times it helps to seek out the funny side of situations.
Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing and can even temporarily relieve pain, as well as having a very positive effect on your emotional wellbeing.
About the author
Liggy Webb is a resilience and wellbeing expert and the founder of the Learning Architect. You can buy copies of Liggy's new book here.
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