This one's for the busy people! Have you taken the time to relax today? This week? This year?
I know, I know – you do not have time to relax! But it's really important that you make time, because stress not only steals your happiness and healthiness, but it can also destroy your relationships with the people you love.
It's easy to insert relaxation into your day, without having to change very much. Here's how.
Relax your mind
It's easy to relax through the day, even if you're sitting in front of your computer. Just close your eyes, pause, breathe, count to thirty, and gain perspective. If you're feeling stressed at that moment, ask yourself, “Is this worth sacrificing my current or future happiness over?” Problems have a wonderful way of being resolved, regardless of whether you get upset. Remember what you were getting stressed about a year ago? No, I can not remember either. The current situation will pass, and in a year, it will have been sorted and filed away.
Tell yourself, as you sit there in your bubble, “No one needs me for the next ten seconds. This is my time.” You can just observe those feelings of tension as they well up and pass. Body sensations always evaporate if you let them go. Smile.
Then you can get back to work, feeling refreshed.
You can take time through your day to move away from your computer, just for a minute or two, and give your mind a rest. People who smoke do this when they go out for a cigarette, but you do not have to smoke – in fact, please do not! You can stand outside in the sunshine for a minute, get some fresh air. Stop, breathe, be here now, and smile.
Some people set their alarm to do this on the hour, every hour. I'm not that disciplined, so I just go off and make myself a cup of tea when I feel like one. (It's quite often to be honest, because I love tea!). When I'm waiting for the kettle to boil, rather than allowing my inner dialogue to assault me with all the things it's worried about, I just stand there, watching my thoughts without being drawn into them, feet rooted on the floor, posture tall , breathing, being alive in the moment. It's the equivalent of taking the phone of my mind off the hook. It's very nourishing and refreshing.
If you'd like a small voice to guide you, here's a link to very beautiful one-minute meditations that you can download for free. You could put them on your mp3 player and listen whenever you pop out for a quick break. You'll return to your desk feeling much better! http://www.just-a-minute.org/resource_centre
Relax your body
Try yoga – or you could always hang upside down from a tree!
For longer relaxation sessions I would highly recommend taking part in a yoga class. If you really do not have time for a yoga class, try some gentle stretching at home. When I practice yoga, I feel like I'm fully living in my body, rather than just in my mind. You're not just a brain in a jar, and what you do with your body will affect your mood. It feels so good to have a stretch, and to open up my chest after hunching over my computer all day. Another benefit of yoga is that, because you get into poses where you need to concentrate on what you're doing, it stops the inner dialogue from its constant chatter, which is such a relief after all the heckling it does through the day!
I hope you will try to incorporate some of these relaxation techniques into your day. They will make your day much more fun, and you'll find that, even though you have not really changed much in your schedule, you'll have much more energy and zest!