Summer gets busy. Between social gatherings, kids' summer camps, travel and work it’s hard to find time to fully unwind. Social media and daily news distractions can lead to feelings of stress. All of the hustle and bustle of each day, on top of any major life events, can truly take a toll on your mental health.
IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH
Mental health is defined by the WHO as a state of well-being in which people understand their abilities, solve everyday life problems, work well, and make a significant contribution to the lives of their communities.
Anxiety can override any feelings of calmness, especially if you have as few as a couple of minutes each day to slow down. Stress can create health problems you may not be aware of. From an increase in blood pressure to the inability to sleep at night, finding a way to release daily stress as often as possible is important to your physical and mental health.
Last Sunday, August 15, was National Relaxation Day, and we compiled a list of ways to completely let go of stress.
You can relax with loved ones or alone, whatever works best for you! If you are usually around people all day long, whether it’s at work or home with kids, maybe you should consider carving out some alone time.
On the contrary, if you spend most of your days solo, you may consider making time for friends and family. Human connection is crucial for well-being.
Not everyone can afford to spend the day at a spa or take off to a beachside resort, but there are ways to relax at home that can be just as effective. Just remember to have fun with it!
HERE ARE SIX WAYS TO COMPLETELY UNWIND
1. START YOUR DAY WITH PLENTY OF TIME
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed can affect your entire day. To start your day relaxed, set yourself up for success the night before. Prepare for anything you might have to do the night before, so you can wake up with a clear mind.
Take it one step further and start your relaxation day the night before by drinking a calming tea or taking a CBD tincture to ensure you will wake up refreshed. CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp plants that aids in relief and recovery from discomfort and stress.
2. GIVE MEDITATION A TRY
Meditation is a practice that focuses on mindfulness using breathing techniques to reach a calm, relaxed state. If you are new to meditation, it’s not too late to start. There are plenty of online classes and tips available.
You can take as little as five to ten minutes to practice. Preferably, find a quiet place where you can slow down and focus on breathing.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways for humans to feel mentally clear and less stressed. Find a few minutes to completely shut off all distractions, i.e.: social media or television, and simply listen to the hum of your body. Meditation is known to promote feelings of calmness and can reduce stress.
3. EXERCISE! (AT YOUR OWN PACE)
Exercise is definitely a form of relaxation, especially if you already work out regularly. You may not feel complete until you do your daily movement. Whether it is jogging, yoga, or weight lifting, make sure you find the time to get your fitness in.
If you are not used to daily exercise, you may not think of it as a relaxation tactic. In this case, try some light movement like a walk around the block or an easy stroll through nature. Nature is healing, so outdoor activity is always recommended!
There is growing evidence that physically active people are at a reduced risk of having feelings of stress or anxiety. Stress is natural, and can creep into your day suddenly, so finding the time to exercise is essential to well-being. Turn on some fun music and get moving!
4. TRY AROMATHERAPY AND A CALMING ACTIVITY
Believe it or not, lighting a candle or turning on an essential oil diffuser can change your entire mood. If you’ve ever been to a spa, you know that smell of pure relaxation. Scents of lavender, hibiscus, or peppermint can immediately calm you down.
Aromatherapy is based on the idea that essential oils and other aromatic substances can create physical and psychological well-being. Essential oil diffusers have become super popular over the past few years, however, you can find aromatherapy candles that give off the same effect.
CALMING ACTIVITIES FOR RELAXATION
While the aromas are filling the room, try opening a good book for pure enjoyment. It will certainly give you a sense of peace to dive into someone else’s world for a little while. Reading may seem more like work to some, but having the time to fully pay attention to a story is a true luxury. Believe it or not, exercising your brain will actually leave your body feeling more relaxed.
If you're not a big reader, throw on a classical music record or a calming sounds app. Classical music has been known to calm the nervous system and decrease levels of stress. There are plenty of apps nowadays that feature sounds and music specifically for stress relief. Music is a great way to unwind.
Take a bath and soothe your muscles. You may not always notice when your muscles are tight or your body is tense. Stress causes the muscles in your body to tighten and can leave you feeling achy. Soaking in hot water loosens them up and calms the nervous system. Take it a step further and finish with a CBD topical cream for a cool, calm feeling that nourishes your body.
5. TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA
Here's the big one. Give yourself a break from the chaotic world of social media. Studies show that, though human interaction can relieve feelings of stress, social media can also create a lot of pressure to create the stereotype that others want to see and also being as popular as others. These expectations can leave us feeling stressed or down.
This goes hand in hand with meditation, as finding the time to turn the brain off and focus on mindfulness works wonders for mental clarity and stress relief.
6. STEP UP YOUR SELF-CARE GAME
This might seem obvious. Relaxation days are typically synonymous with self-care. However, it never hurts to be reminded that caring for yourself matters!
It can be hard to find time to do something nice for your mind, body, and soul with the busy day today. Maybe you’ve seen a greens smoothie you’ve been wanting to try or have been meaning to sign up for a beginner's yoga class. We’re here to encourage you to go for it!
Overall, if you can find the time to do at least one of these relaxation tips, your mental and physical health will benefit. However, finding the time to fit everything in can be a tough task, so don't be too hard on yourself. Take the tips you’ve learned today and apply them to what you like to do. Your physical and your mental health are important, so treat them that way!
All the best,