I'm sure the idea of taking moments for relaxation throughout the day might sound a bit impossible. I mean, you barely have enough time to get dressed in the morning, much less have a moment of Zen. And yet, just like most things in life, it can be done — if you make the time.
When you really think about, there are plenty of moments throughout the week that can be used differently. For example, instead of hitting snooze 55,000 times, you could wake up the tiniest bit earlier, and have some chill time before work. Or, you could swap out your usual commuting routine (i.e., yelling at other drivers, checking emails on the subway), and instead do something totally meditative. See? There are plenty of opportunities for relaxation, despite your busy schedule.
And good thing, too, because stress can really do a number on your body. Too much of it can cause headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, and fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also increase anxiety, and totally ruin your mood. So yes — it's totally worth taking the time to increase your moments of relaxation throughout the day. Here are some ways to do just that.
1. Have A Moment Of Visualization
Stuck on the subway? Instead of feeling bored, or fretting about being late, take the time to do a little relaxing visualization. "Simply make yourself comfortable ... and then try to picture a peaceful scene: a future vacation, your favorite beach," said Meredith Melnick on HuffingtonPost.com. It'll be a much better use of your trip, and you'll feel relaxed in no time.
2. Put Your Phone Down
Most of us find it super difficult to walk down the street, or sit in a coffee shop, without looking at our phones. Whether it's checking emails, or getting wrapped up in an out-of-control group text, our phones really have a way of ruining our chances for relaxation. So try to get in the habit of walking without looking at your phone, or sitting down for lunch without checking email. After a while, you may even start to look forward to these phone-less moments.
3. Go Plant Shopping
If your day is turning out to be particularly stressful, take 30 minutes and treat yourself to some plant shopping. Plants not only look adorable on your desk, but they also purify the air and help reduce stress, according to Carolyn Gregoire on HuffingtonPost.com. Look for an aloe plant, some ivy, a snake plant, or little baby succulent. One look at the greenery, and you'll feel instantly relaxed.
4. Mindfully Eat A Snack
We all know by now that mindful snacking is a good idea, even though I'll be first to admit how difficult it is. (Donuts make me go blind with joy.) But you can still trust me I say — snacking is the perfect chance to have a moment of Zen. "Take your snack away from your computer and go sit someplace peaceful. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel," suggested Melnick. "Now you’ve turned your snack into a meditation."
5. Walk Whenever You Can
Most of us will do just about anything to avoid walking, even if the destination is five minutes away. And sure, sometimes it's totally worth hopping in the car, or jumping on the subway — maybe it's too hot, or it's raining. But if you can, try to walk whenever possible. Those ten peaceful minutes may just become your new favorite time of day.
6. Get Up Earlier
Even if you have the busiest schedule known to mankind, there is still a possibility for fitting in relaxation. All you have to do is get up the tiniest bit earlier. Try for ten minutes before your usual alarm, and take that time to chill out before the busy day begins.
7. Actually Make Dinner
Sometimes, a relaxing moment is all in how you look at it. For example, I often view making dinner as the absolute worst , while other people think chopping and stirring is just about the best thing in life. If you're more like me, try viewing dinner prep as a good thing. Slow down, enjoy cooking (the way you'd enjoy your snack), and watch this "chore" turn into something you actually enjoy.
8. Chew Some Gum
Chewing gum can help relieve anxiety, improve alertness, and reduce stress during rigorous multitasking sessions, according to Melnick. So chew away while you work. Or, even better, take a moment to kick back with some Bubblicious.
9. Read Instead Of Watching TV
Or, do whatever other (quiet) activity you choose, as long as it doesn't involve a blaring TV. If you're in the habit of flicking on the television, or firing up your laptop, then you probably aren't even aware of all the stress associated with the constant noise. Do yourself a favor, and be all about that silence.
10. Take A Nap
Naps are not usually on a busy person's calendar. And yet, sometimes they are totally necessary. Just 15 to 20 minutes can totally reset your system and reduce stress, according to WebMD. So pop home if you can, or retreat to an empty room, and allow thyself a quick snooze.
11. Take A Lunch Break
A recent study of 1,000 Americans showed that 28 percent of those polled never take a lunch break, while 39 percent only do so from their desks, according to Jada A. Graves and Katy Marquardt on Money.USNews.com. Is this you? First of all, I get it — desperate (busy) times call for desperate measures. But second, take your damn lunch break. Even just 30 minutes spent chilling in a cafe, or on a park bench, can do wonders for your relaxation levels.
Because, like it or not, relaxation truly is necessary to your health and sanity. So start making time for it, and fitting it into your schedule as often as possible. I promise, you'll be glad you did.
Images: Pexels (12)