One of the things I struggled with the most in my life is making time to relax. Part of me is constantly go go go, a very big part of me! When I take time to relax and get some stress relief I can not help but hear a voice in my head saying “You have lots of stuff to do! Stop being lazy!”
Honesty Alert: It actually can cause me a lot of anxiety to take a break and chill out.
I think a lot of it stems from being a workaholic for most of my life. Even at a young age, I had numerous jobs to keep me busy. I’m a pretty high strung goal-getter if you will.
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Being productive is something I thrive at and a way to help me find satisfaction. Nothing makes me happier than knocking off my to-do list every day.
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The Downside To Ignoring Your Body’s Need For Stress Relief
Unfortunately, I have also seen the downside of working too hard and not taking time to relax and get some stress relief. My health has suffered in the past from this go-getter attitude. You can read more about this here.
Top 10 Health Effects From Stress
- heart disease
- depression and anxiety
- gastrointestinal problems
- Alzheimers disease
- accelerated ageing
- premature death
There is a large array of other symptoms due to stress as well.
Motivation VS Overdoing It
Although it’s an absolutely amazing thing to be highly motivated we need to take time to rejuvenate and relieve stress through relaxation.
When we go to bed at night and our minds are racing with things we did not get done today or that need to be done tomorrow we do not get proper rest.
It does not matter how many hours of sleep you get you will wake up exhausted. You will wake up with stress and anxiety waiting to rear its ugly head.
If you find that you have a hard time relaxing and shutting your brain off, then believe me I totally get it!
It is essential for us to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to burnout!
So How Do You Relax When Your Brain Says No?
I want to share some relaxation techniques that I use that I think will help you too.
The first absolutely crucial step is to accept that it is okay for you to relax, that you deserve to relax, and that relaxation is part of a happy, full life
Relaxation does not make you lazy. In fact, it can and it will make you more productive!
Whether you need to write this down as your daily affirmation or set a timer to take a break and remember to relax this is key to allowing yourself the freedom to relax without guilt.
Now that you have given yourself permission to relax let’s take a look at some tactics that you can use every day to improve your relaxation skills.
10 Stress Relief Activities To Relax Your Mind, Body and Soul
These relaxation techniques are designed to help you relax throughout your busy day. Schedule them in until you feel confident that you have made them a part of your routine.
When you start to feel anxiety seeping in then come back to this list and choose one that you think will help you during that time.
Remember this takes time and practice and if it does not work right away that is okay!
Not every one of these stress relief ideas may work for you. When you discover which works best write those down.
Not every one of these relaxation techniques will work for every situation therefore be open to trying different ones for different stress and anxiety triggers.
1. Breathe Through Stress
I know, I know, I know this is like anxiety relief 101 but stay with me. The reason breathing techniques are so popular is because they actually work!
There are many ways you can practice breathing techniques to help you.
Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth while counting to four. Count to four when you breathe in through your nose, count to four to hold the breath in, then count to four to breathe out through your mouth.
This technique takes a few tries to get the hang of it but is an amazing relaxation technique that stops your mind from its constant hustle and bustle mode.
Picture a square in your mind, give it a nice tranquil colour in your mind’s eye or maybe your favourite colour. Get a clear picture of it in your mind. Now imagine each side is numbered one through four. I like to start at the top.
Side number one is taking a deep breath in imagining your lungs filling with revitalizing air, take notice of the full feeling. Hold for five seconds as you imagine in your mind that you are tracing your finger along the side as you count to five.
Side number two is holding your breath in imagining the fullness is one of tranquillity. Again, imagine tracing the side as you count to five.
Side number three is exhaling deeply concentrating on the feeling of your lungs emptying and cleansing themselves of any negative pressures. Once again draw your line along the side as you count.
The final side number four is to allow yourself 5 seconds of noticing the cleansed feeling, your lungs are empty and they are resting you are drawing the final line and thinking of nothing else.
Repeat your tracing of the sides 3-5 times until you feel your mind slow.
2. Physically Let Go Of Tension
Stress can make your body get tense and rigid. This can cause you sore movements and make it easier to injure yourself. It is important to listen to your body and notice the feeling of tension.
Lay down in a dark room somewhere comfortable and quiet. Tighten up all your muscles. Stating from your toes slowly start to relax each muscle from toes to arches of your feet up to your calves, thighs etc. until you reach the top of your head. You can do tis from head to toe as well. I actually find head to toe works better for me personally.
3. Get Physical
Sometimes a lack of physical activity can make us feel sludgy or have extra tension. When you are struggling to sleep and feeling anxious rather than laying there or sitting there it may be extremely beneficial to get up and move around.
Even getting up and going to the bathroom helps me overcome the restlessness I feel in my legs when laying in bed awake at night.
Try to get 20 minutes of physical activity in each day as a minimum to get long term benefits. P.S. Moving furniture counts haha.
4. Absorb Nature
Getting out into nature is good for your mind, body and soul. Never has stop and smell the roses been more important. Take notice of the beauty in the nature around you. Notice the little things. Dig your feet into the sand at the beach, smell the fresh air after the rain, feel the sun. shining down on you.
As a family, we love to go for walks before our girls’ bedtime. Not only does it help them wind down but it gives me the opportunity to relieve some stress.
My friend Kimberlie has some amazing ideas for walking in nature with your kiddos I love so much I wanted to share. Check out her post here.
Sometimes we can not physically get outdoors because it gets hella cold here in Saskatchewan so I bring nature indoors. I have a few succulents in my office and various areas of our home.
Even artificial succulents help bring the feeling indoors if your room is too dark and lacks natural light.
Keeping a window open to allow some fresh air in is another great way to allow nature in.
5. A Healthy Diet
You know that feeling you get when you eat a bag of chips and feel sluggish and kinda gross? Well that is our body saying “Hey, I need some goodness!”
Listen to your body and try to eat a healthy diet the majority of the time. I understand that life is busy and sometimes the unhealthy options are just easier. Trust me I totally get it!
I actually wrote a cookbook filled with my favourite quick and easy recipes for busy families. You can check it out here.
When our bodies are lacking certain nutrients it can result in anxiety and insomnia. Be sure that you are getting enough of each food group.
6. Drink Adequate Amounts Of Water
This is something that is crazy important, that is why they teach us about drinking enough water in elelmentary school. It is beneficial to your muscles, your skin, your lings an dall your other oragans.
Without enough water, our body becomes dehydrated which can cause muscle pain, increases the risk of bladder infection and can cause delirium in some cases. The list is much longer as you can imagine since water is so essential.
Headaches are actually a very common symptom for people, next time you feel a headache start, try drinking a few glasses of water.
So how do you ensure you drink enough water throughout the day?
This can be tricky and most people are actually surprised about how much water we are supposed to drink per day.
For years I believed it was 64 ounces to only find out that was terribly low! I found this awesome calculator at Slender Kitchen that tells you how much water you need to drink based on your weight and amount of exercise daily.
Alright, now we know how much water we need so let’s get it into our day. It does not necessarily all need to be consumed as just plain water. You can dress it up a bit to make it more appealing if you need it. I love using Mio to get my kids to drink more water.
I like to have a water bottle on my nightstand every night. I drink two large glasses before bed every night and drink one large glass when I wake up. In reality my glass actually holds 2 cups of water, so boom, I’m on a roll already.
I’m a coffee drinker, probably too much coffee sigh, so I’m cutting back but coffee does have a lot of water in it, just saying haha.
Don’t forget you get water from certain foods you eat too, like watermelon, cucumbers etc.
7. Declutter & Organize
When our homes are cluttered and and messy it can lead to anxiety and making it impossible to relax and enjoy the moment. It does not necessarily mean your home per se, it could be your office, it could be your email!
There is clutter everywhere. As a society, there is always the next best thing coming out and before you know it you have all things and you keep all the things and it gets so overwhelming you have no idea where to start.
The key to this is to start small. If you need to start by working on one single drawer then you start by working on one single drawer. The more you build this habit the easier it will become.
We actually have done a few of these challenges in our Facebook group and they are by far my favourite challenges. Having someone to be accountable with helps you stay on task and get the job done.
The feeling of purging and the beauty of the new spacious area you just completed is so empowering.
One small thing you can do every day is to make your bed. It is proven that by making your bed every morning you are setting yourself up for a more productive day! How easy is that?
8. Eliminating Worries
We all have worries and they can consume us. They are usually the trigger to our anxiety and make it impossible for us to relax.
Sadly our minds can really get away from us and blow our worries completely out of proportion.
Finding perspective in your fear is essential. We sometimes allow our minds to tell us this will destroy us and ruin our life.
If you were to sit down and truly visualize what the absolute worse that could happen is and what you would do if it happened then you are able to see whether you are borrowing trouble where this is non or not.
This is something I discuss a lot about here on the blog. Check out these posts for some great tips to eliminate fears and worries:
- Stop worrying about what other people think
- Do you struggle with mom imposter syndrome?
- Stop worrying about these 4 things
- Is fear & anxiety consuming you?
9. Journal Your Feelings!
Set a timer for 5 minutes, grab your favourite journal and let it all out. For 5 minutes let yourself just get it on paper and release it from your mind. 5 minutes not a minute more.
For the next 10 minutes write about it in a way that is something you can control by means of healthy venting.
Check out 37 Gratitude affirmations for your gratitude journal!
One of the things I like to do before bed is to imaginarily take all my troubles and worries and put them into an imaginary jar, seal the lid up good and tight and forget about them.
With a bit of practice, this can really help your brain to stop racing on those sleepless tossing and turning nights.
If negative thinking is getting the best of you check out this post here with tips to stop negative thinking.
I also offer a Complimentary Empowering Self-Awareness course that helps build your growth mindset, eliminate negative thinking, build your confidence and become more aware of how your thinking affects you. You can find the full course with video training and worksheets right here!
10. Utilize Your Minds Eye
Many of us are visual learners, some more than others. We learn and we value things we can see more than things we can not. It is something we have to really work towards in order to gain in belief.
Using this thinking it makes sense to realize that if you reinvent the vision in your mind and get a full visualization in your mind’s eye it is much more likely to seem real and a better chance at becoming real.
DID YOU KNOW?
Interesting tidbit of information here: Did you know that people who lose weight and gain it back often do so because they never changed the image of themselves they created in their minds. Without changing that image their subconscious mind may actually sabotage their great efforts to lose weight and become healthier.
Visualization is incredibly powerful therefore picture yourself calmer when you feel like you can not relax. Really get into the vision of the things you are imagining in your mind’s eye. Add in other senses like smell, feeling, and sound.
Relaxation Methods For Stress Relief
Being calm and relaxed about life is key to reducing stress, getting more done, and being generally healthier.
In fact, People who take time to relax and practice stress relief tend to get more done than those who try to burn the candle at both ends!
If you want to be more productive I seriously recommend you re-evaluate your stress relief and relaxation techniques to make sure you are giving yourself enough care and attention.
I hope you find these tips incredibly helpful to your stress, anxiety and fears that are making it difficult to relax.
Remember it is not lazy to relax! So relax without guilt! Schedule it in and enjoy it.
Check out our self-care post for some great self-loving ideas to incorporate into your stress relief routine.
Which of these is your favourite? Did I miss any you love to use? I would love to know! Drop a comment below!
Take Care & Chat Soon;
Living A Boss Life
Love Your Guts! Take care & Chat soon,