Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Has someone ever told you to “just relax” when you are in the middle of a stressful situation, and you thought to yourself, “Well, that’s easy for you to say!”
Many of us spend our days just running from moment to moment. We are busy, have demands coming from several different areas of life, and simply do not feel like there is time to stop and smell the roses. We wonder if we can get the rose scent in a to-go package.
I know, I have been there. I am a mother of three to children under five years of age, a wife, and an entrepreneur. With Covid-19 around and children are at home, 24 hours does not seem enough.
However, with a focused effort, we can take the time to slow down. And, yes I know it is not as easy as it sounds.
Know that there are great benefits to relaxing including helping us to manage our stress levels. It is a known fact that stress puts us at risk of developing mental health conditions. Stress can also exacerbate underlying conditions and for those reasons, I thought it very important to share ways we can relax especially now living in this pandemic.
Here are some ways I have relaxed.
When you anxious our breathing tends to be shallow and rapid. One of the simplest ways to relax is to take some deep diaphragmatic breaths, also called belly breathing.
Here’s how to practice deep breathing:
· Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor or lie down. Place one hand on your stomach, and the other hand over your heart.
· Inhale slowly through your nose until you feel your stomach rise
· Hold your breath for a count to three
· Exhale slowly, feeling your stomach fall.
Spend time in nature to help you relax
Do you have those days when everything seems to be going in the opposite direction? It’s maybe time to take a walk, head to the beach, a park, as a matter of fact, any safe place outside. Getting outdoors allows us to connect to the physical beauty of our world: the oceans, flowers, trees, wildlife, and the earth and tune into our senses, which can help alleviate negative emotions. Observing a sunset or sunrise allows us to take the focus off our challenges or admiring the rainbow after the showers of and the sun comes out in its glory, what magnificence.
Most people know they feel relaxed and good when they are outside, but not everyone knows there is scientific evidence about nature’s healing. Dr. Eeva Karjalainen, of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, highlighted that blood pressure and heart rate are lowered by being in nature; so is the production of stress hormones such as cortisol. Being in a natural setting also reduces muscle tension.
Massage and other soothing activities
Lying on a padded massage table, you can feel your stress melt away even before your therapist enters the room. The dim lights, calming aromatherapy scent, and soothing music all encourage relaxation. The gentle pressure of massage stimulates the body’s circulation and helps us to relax and rest.
Practicing these relaxation techniques and others not mentioned here can have many benefits, including:
· Slowing heart rate
· Lowering blood pressure
· Slowing your breathing rate
· Improving digestion
· Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
· Reducing the activity of stress hormones
· Increasing blood flow to major muscles
· Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
· Improving concentration and mood
· Improving sleep quality
· Lowering fatigue
· Reducing anger and frustration
· Boosting confidence to handle problems
To get the most benefit, use relaxation techniques along with other positive coping methods, such as thinking positively, finding humor, problem-solving, managing time, exercising, getting enough sleep, and reaching out to supportive family and friends.
We are a sisterhood and I am here if you need additional support.