Ideas for Relaxation to Use Anywhere
April 2, 2021
April 2, 2021
Incorporating ideas for relaxation in your busy life is simple.
How many times have you heard someone say that they just want to chill out and relax? Why do we crave relaxation? Because, when we are relaxed we feel calm, well, mentally settled, and comfortable. Keep reading to find out how you can be relaxed in your daily life.
The Benefits of Relaxation
The benefits of relaxation go above and beyond just being comfortable. Moments of relaxation in our fast-paced world actually make us healthier humans.
Just to name a few, relaxation has physical and mental benefits for your whole being by:
- Lowering blood pressure & heart rate
- Decreasing anxiety
- Aiding digestion
- Brightening your mood
- Reducing aches and pains
- Improving concentration
- Enhancing sleep
- Reducing negative feelings (anger, frustration)
Let’s move on to find out how to apply ideas for relaxation to your life to get these benefits.
As a matter of fact, you do not have to become an athlete to reap the relaxation benefits of exercise. To begin with, simply moving your body in some way every day will get you in the groove of relaxation. Exercise can be low- or high-impact depending on what creates that feeling of relaxation for you.
Examples of aerobic and anaerobic exercise to reach a state of relaxation are:
- Walking – Preferably outside, but even around your house or up and down stairs works
- Biking – Preferably outside, but a stationary bike gets the job done, too
- Dancing – In your living room, while washing dishes, anywhere, just shake it!
- Yoga – All you need is a mat and an app with follow along guidance
- Tai chi – Google ‘tai chi for beginners’ and choose a video to follow
- Qigong – Google to find a video that calls to you
- Pilates – Start with a mat class or join a Pilates studio to use equipment
- Stretching – Check out theflexibilityguru.com, Hilery Hutchinson and her 10-minute stretching book
If attending a class in person is not your thing right now, have no fear. The web is exploding with fitness classes to fit anyone’s preference.
You can choose a previously recorded program to practice whenever you choose, or a live practice where you interact with instructors and participants in real time. Furthermore, being part of a community online or in person will encourage you to stay consistent in keeping this idea of relaxation in your daily life.
Tense and Release
Another technique to activate your muscles is progressive muscle relaxation. It’s a practice involving tensing muscle groups, and then releasing the tension by relaxing the muscles.
Here is how you can use the tense and release technique:
- Start from your toes, move to your calves, then your thighs, working your way up to your head. Don’t forget your face!
- By focusing on each muscle group individually, it is easier for you to target areas that may be more tense or sore than others.
- Tense for 5 seconds
- Relax for 30 seconds
While this idea for relaxation is easy, in order for any relaxation technique to work fully you must be MINDFUL.
What does being mindful have to do with relaxation?
Being mindful is a mental state of being consciously aware of what is happening in the present moment.
Mindfulness is created by focusing on, calmly acknowledging and accepting:
- How you are feeling
- What you are thinking
- Physical sensations of your body
Focusing on your breath is one way to create mindfulness, because you are paying attention to what is happening to your body as you breathe. This focus makes it easier to notice if you have shallow breathing, if you are holding your breath, or if your breathing is faster than normal.
Yes, breathe to relax your body. It’s that simple. Believe it or not, a lot of us do not breathe fully, especially when stress is present. If we are not mindful of our breathing we tend to hold our breath or take shallow breaths.
Options to release stress, relax muscles and cleanse your body with essential oxygen are:
- Focusing on taking slow, deep breaths for a few minutes, a few times per day. Be it in the car, washing dishes, folding laundry, raking leaves, etc.
- Using a square breathing technique where you inhale to the count of 4 (or whatever # works for you), hold for a count of 4, exhale to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, and repeat for a few minutes.
- Breathing from your diaphragm by placing your hand on your abdomen and taking slow, deep inhales focusing on your abdomen expanding followed by a longer exhale. This stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system to calm your body and reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Meditating while focusing only on your breath by being mindful of the oxygen entering your body and the carbon dioxide leaving your body. Closing your eyes can help keep the focus on your breath.
Transferring this mindful practice to other things in your life by focusing on one thing at a time will make it easier to be present in the moment instead of allowing your mind to be scattered.
Need a visual to be mindfully present?
Use your imagination. Yes, the game of pretend from when you were young.
Envision calm and serene images. Many people find it helpful to include nature in their visualizations.
Ideas to consider are:
- Sitting in a comfortable lounge chair on the beach with the sun shining and the temperature is perfect. Watch a wave swelling toward the shore as you inhale expanding your abdomen and every time you exhale imagine the wave breaking slowly across the shore.
- Gently swinging in a hammock on a fall day with the leaves floating down around you. With each sway of the hammock your body is sinking deeper into relaxation as you inhale and exhale.
- Hiking on a trail in the woods meandering between the trees, hearing the birds chirping, the squirrels chattering and the sun’s rays peeking through the leaves and branches.
- Choosing your favorite place surrounded by all the things that make you feel calm, happy, and whole. Wherever that may be, how do you feel when you are in your favorite place?
You can have a lot of fun with these ideas for relaxation because you can let your imagination run wild and transport yourself anywhere.
Relaxation made easy
There’s an app for that! Consider choosing from the plethora of apps for download, free and otherwise, that provide ideas for relaxation. They offer everything from listening to music or nature sounds to hearing a voice guiding you by story or through visualization and much more.
A few internet favorites are:
- 10% Happier
- Insight Timer
It is easy to see that these apps take the thinking out of the practice allowing you to just follow along.
Practicing these ideas for relaxation will:
- Keep your mental state balanced
- Keep you physically fit
- Improve your inclination to see the bright side
- Manage your fight-or-flight response in stressful situations
In short, the trick is to choose a relaxation technique that works for you, and not one that will add to your stress by trying to accomplish it in your busy day. Consequently, you may have to try a few to find the one that works easily.
If you enjoyed this article please check out other helpful articles by our coaches here:
Remember…small steps, big results.
Cathy grew up in NH surrounded by a large, loving family, where she learned generosity and hard work. She now models that for her two children. She was inspired to become a fitness coach when searching for ways to become more healthy herself after a life-threatening illness.