Hectic lifestyles are often the cause of illnesses, heart-attacks and marital problems. People who rush out of bed before the sun rises and go back to bed well after dark can feel run-down. Stress can cause a lack of concentration, higher heart rates and even hair loss and ulcers. The good news is that as soon as these people slow down and relax, things usually start to get better. Concentration will improve. Heart rates will lower and energy will come back. How can you step up your daily relaxation routine? Here are 9 ways to help you relax more:
Start your day with relaxing stretches.
When you wake up, don’t jump out of bed and into the melee. Instead, stretch your body to get the circulation flowing. You’ve been asleep for hours. Muscles need time to warm up before moving into the day. Start by stretching your arms out to your sides, up over your head, and back down. Next arch your back and stretch your spine gently. Push toes downward, lengthening the leg muscles. Pull your toes back towards you, stretching the back of the calves. You may find involuntary stretches happening as you do this. Your body will help wake up on its own.
Yoga is a great stress reliever – especially during the day.
You don’t have to go through the full Yoga flow to get relaxing benefits from it. Stand up behind your desk. Do a smooth downward dog and a couple of back bends to keep your body from holding tension in as you work. It doesn’t take much room to stand and do a warrior pose or a tree pose. These Yoga moves promote blood flow and release endorphins that make you feel energized.
Aromatherapy is a new trend with old roots.
Lavender has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and a peaceful feeling. Lavender essential oil can be rubbed directly on wrists for whiffs of air that relax your mind during the day. Another choice is to put a few drops in an oil-diffusing necklace and wear it. An essential oil diffuser will put a continuous stream of soothing fragrance into the air in your office or cubicle.
Use a heated pad or towel around your neck.
Shut your eyes and focus on totally relaxing the neck, shoulders and head. You may want to put your head on your desk or let it rest against a wall. After about 10 minutes, use a tennis ball placed between your shoulders and the wall to gently massage the shoulders and neck.
Get some fresh air.
A quick walk outdoors at lunch or break time can really make a difference in your daily relaxation routine. Fresh air and sunshine will renew energy levels. Sunlight has been proven to reduce depression. Exercise releases endorphins which elevate mood levels. You will feel stress lessening as you walk through a park or even a parking lot.
Take a deep breath – then take several more.
Deep, slow and rhythmic breathing has been shown to slow down heart rates, lower blood pressure and calm anxiety. This technique is also something that can be done anywhere and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Music soothes the savage beast…and it’s great for relaxation.
Compile a playlist of soothing, soft music and/or nature sounds. Soft flutes, rain on roof, ocean waves lapping against a shoreline – all of these will help you to release tension. Use these at work breaks or at night as you relax and get ready for bed.
Pet your pet.
Studies show that petting a cat or dog causes the body to release oxytocin, the stress-lowering hormone. Play with your dog or just stroke your cat while sitting in your chair and your hormone levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) will drop.
Practice gratitude to relax.
Being aware of your blessings will help you to focus on the positive things in your life. Negative thoughts that bring anxiety and tension will have less room in your mind and life.