My last two blog posts explored exercising and eating well for emotional health. Now that we’ve covered eating and exercising, this blog will explore relaxing for emotional health.
Relaxation is your body’s way of rejuvenating. Relaxing allows time for your mind and body to repair. It has also been shown that relaxing improves your mood and improves brain function and memory.
I have found the importance of relaxation in my own life. I’ve discovered when I neglect finding time to relax, I do not perform as well in any area of my life. It’s not that I don’t like to relax, but in the midst of a chaotic schedule, I found it hard to find the time.
Here are some ways I’ve learned to incorporate relaxation into my daily schedule. If you try them, you may find they work for you as well.
1) Making time for downtime
If you want relax, sometimes you have to make time. You may want to wake up a few minutes earlier and give yourself time to enjoy that cup of coffee instead of running out the door with it in hand. You may also try to have “scheduled relaxation” – having designated times just to relax, even if only for a few minutes.
We schedule other important aspects of our lives – why not relaxation?
2) Free your mind
This idea was a hard one for me because I’m a thinker. I think ALL day long. I think about what I’ve done, what I didn’t do, what I need to do and how I’m going to do it.
Challenge yourself to have a least a few minutes every day to free your mind. I’ve found it easiest to incorporate this into my daily commute home before picking up my daughter. For 15 minutes I ride in silence. I don’t answer the phone or turn the radio on and use that time to decompress. I will often do breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques. This may not be the ideal time for you, so find what works for you.
3) Get away
We can all appreciate a nice getaway, and more often than not associate getting away with a vacation. What about when we can’t take a vacation? Getting away can be as simple as changing your surroundings, and if you are unable to do that, visualize being somewhere else.
If you find yourself having a stressful moment at work, take a walk outside. If you don’t have that luxury, escape to the bathroom – no one really ever questions that. If you find that you have to stay in your seat, close your eyes and find your happy place. Sometimes a little break is all we need to relax.
Find time to relax and take care of yourself. Chuang Tzu was quoted saying “the perfect man of old looked after himself first before looking to help others.”
I hope you all have enjoyed the posts about improving your emotional health. If we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?
Man relaxing photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 23 Jul 2012