Feeling stressed? So are we!
According to the American Psychological Association, the average adult currently ranks their stress at 5.4/10 (at this time last year, the average ranking was 4.9/10). The average parent also ranks their stress at 6.7/10.
With stress skyrocketing, it’s more important than ever that you learn how to relax.
This is often easier said than done, though.
Not sure how to destress? Listed below are some of the best strategies to try today.
Remember the Benefits
Sometimes, people fail to make time for relaxation because they underestimate how important it is.
The truth is, regular relaxation is essential to our health and well-being. Here are some of the top benefits you can experience when you make it a priority.
- Lower resting heart rate
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved digestion
- Balanced blood sugar levels
- Reduced stress hormone activity
- Increased blood flow to the muscles
- Reduced muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improved concentration
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced fatigue
- Reduced feelings of anger and frustration
When you learn how to manage your stress, you might also find that your confidence increases. This, in turn, helps you to handle problems in a calmer and more measured way.
Schedule Time to Rest
What’s the number one excuse for not prioritizing relaxation?
Lack of time. As we mentioned above, there are tons of physical and mental health benefits associated with regular relaxation. If you value your health, you can’t afford to not make time for relaxation.
Now, this isn’t to say that it’s easy to find time to rest.
This is especially true if you work full-time or are a busy parent (or both).
One way to fit it into your routine, though,
is to actually put rest on the schedule or write it into your planner like you would any other task or appointment. Pick a time, perhaps on the weekend or in the evening after the kids go to sleep, and schedule that as your relaxation time. Block it off, and let others in your life know that you won’t be available then.
Don’t wait until you’re already feeling burned out to try and schedule some time for relaxation. Instead of waiting until you’re about to collapse from stress, be proactive. Put relaxation time on your calendar early.
If you plan ahead when it comes to relaxing, you’ll be less likely to make excuses when the time comes to unwind. You’ll also be less prone to acting out of frustration in ways that you’ll regret later (snapping at a loved one, for example).
One of the best ways to relax is to practice mindfulness.
There are a lot of ways to become more mindful, including these:
Take Deep Breaths
Breathe down into your belly and think of pushing your stomach out, then exhale as slowly as possible.
Use an app, a guided meditation on YouTube, or just set a timer while you close your eyes and breathe.
Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Lie down and gradually tighten and then relax your muscles, starting from your toes and working your way up to the top of your head.
You can also experiment with mind-body practices. Yoga is a great option.
There’s also Tai Chi and Qi Gong to consider if you don’t love yoga.
Spending time in nature is another effective way to relax. Time outdoors has been linked to a reduction in anxiety and depression, as well as a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate.
Can’t get to the mountains or the beach? Don’t worry. You can still reap the benefits of nature by taking a walk to your local park, strolling around the block, or even sitting in your own backyard or on your balcony. Just exposing yourself to some fresh air will do wonders for your mind and body.
If possible, try to get outside without your phone or any other distractions. This will allow you to be present, experience the beauty of nature, and experience more stress-relieving benefits.
Use Acupressure Techniques
Getting a massage might not be in the cards for you right now.
You can still experience some tension relief, though, with the help of at-home acupressure.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but without any needles.
It can reduce anxiety, and you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on a massage.
Here’s an easy acupressure technique to try today:
Use your fingers and locate the two little divots at the points where your neck muscles and skull connect. Press down and hold for 15 seconds. You’ll feel relief almost instantly!
Aromatherapy uses specific scents, often from essential oils, to improve physical and psychological well-being. If you’re seeking relaxation, lavender is one of the most beneficial scents to use in your aromatherapy practice.
Lavender has been shown to help lower blood pressure, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
It can promote better sleep quality, too.
Want to experience the benefits of lavender? There are many ways.
You can add lavender essential oil to a diffuser or simply apply a drop to your wrist before bedtime to experience its relaxing benefits.
Warm Yourself Up
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of warm temperatures when it comes to relaxation.
Warmth helps to relieve tight muscles, especially in your neck or back.
It can help you to feel calmer and promote better sleep, too.
To experience the relaxing effects of warmth, try soaking in a warm bath, pulling on some slippers, or cuddling up with a cozy blanket. You can also place a wrap on the back of your neck or a warm Eye Mask
over your eyes.
Time to Relax and Unwind
At first, figuring out how to relax, especially at this point in time, can seem like an impossible task.
As you can see, though, there are plenty of strategies you can implement to restore your peace and feel more at ease. Give these tips a try today and start putting yourself first!