You already know that incorporating relaxation into your day is important, but perhaps you’re unsure how to do it. On top of this uncertainty, every time you try to relax, you feel guilty or fear that you’ll become so lazy you’ll never get up again. Rest is part of life. Without proper rest we’d be dead a heck of a lot sooner. When you’re an athlete and you don’t rest the proper amount, you’re more prone to injury. Sitting on the sidelines of life is not fun.
My perspective on relaxation is based on my own struggles to truly enjoy my downtime, or to make rest and relaxation a priority. I have more success and joy in my life when I incorporate small amounts of rest and relaxation into each and everyday.
- Be deliberate with your time. Set aside time everyday where you don’t do anything but relax. Turn off all your gadgets. You will never have time to relax if you don’t make time for it. If you don’t take time to relax you run the risk of burning out. When you’re forced to rest it’s less enjoyable because you’re completely run down and sick or in copious amounts of pain. You can learn more about what to do with copious amounts of pain here.
- TRE® or gentle movement. Gentle movement is proven to decrease anxiety, improve mood and sleep. Furthermore, movement brings your attention from your thoughts (worry and stress) into your body (presence). Gentle movement stimulates the body and mind to act as one. When you walk or stretch, neurons are firing, muscles are twitching and the brain is activated. Pain and energy shift, and wa-la! you’re more grounded, centered and relaxed.
- Get outside. Ah, nature. Trees, land, dirt, sky, water, sand, stars, birds… some of the most accessible medicine we have. The smells, sounds, and colors of nature are natural analgesics. Attune your senses to nature and you’ll feel relaxed in less than 5 minutes. If you can’t get outside, bring nature to you. Smell a flower, essential oil or eat a vegetable.
- Breathe. This is simple. It’s easier than sensing into nature, moving your body and managing your time. Fact: you’re already breathing right now. Tune in for a moment, feel your belly expand on your inhale. Notice where you feel the air move in and out of your mouth or nostrils. Sit up tall. Fill up your lungs with air; empty them completely on each exhalation. Relax your jaw. Breathing is my number one relaxation tool. You don’t have to do anything, just turn your attention to your breath. Let your breathing work for you. Take 5 to 10 slow, deep breaths. Do this as often as you need.
Relaxation is accessible to you at any moment. All it comes down to is this, how do you want to live? You can live a life that is full of stress and anxiety, or you can learn how to relax and enjoy the ride. It’s up to you!