When life gets extremely busy, finding time to unwind and relax is usually last on our list of priorities. However, finding ways to fit relaxation into your schedule is important, as it can help keep not only our physical health in check, but our mental health as well. Allowing yourself time to practice self-care or even just do something you enjoy can help instill balance in your life and even improve your performance in the other areas you're working on.
"A busy schedule translates into stress on your mind, body, and soul," says stress expert Dr. Pete Sulack over email. "Even though most of us equate being stressed and busy with success, the truth is that chronic stress will eventually lead to premature aging of your cells, a dumbing down of your mind, and a significant increase in the risk for modern diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, hormonal disruptions, and diabetes. Finding time to relax is an important and effective counterbalance to the stresses of everyday modern life."
No matter how jam-packed your schedule is, there's always a way to give yourself a much needed moment to yourself. If you feel like you're too busy for any leisure activity, consider these 11 ways to fit relaxation into you schedule, even if you're super busy.
1. Record How You Spend Your Time
The first step to giving yourself more relaxation time is to figure out where you can make room in your schedule. "Evaluate your schedule to figure out what’s wasting your time or energy," says health coach Jill Ginsberg over email. "There are lots of “'time thieves” in our lives,' including the internet, television, and draining people. Replace those time thieves with healthy alternatives that help you feel your best, such as exercise, cooking, self care, or more sleep."
2. Outsource Activities
Sometimes we can't do everything ourselves, and there are times when we need to put someone else on a task to give ourselves that free time. "Redistributing some of your work will free up your time and allow you to focus some of that extra time on maintaining your health and relaxing," says Ginsberg. "Delegate the stuff you hate doing or are terrible at doing and focus on what you do best."
3. Say No
"Don’t take on more than you can handle," says Ginsberg. "Say yes to the opportunities that are in line with your vision. But say 'no thanks' to the tasks, projects, and drama that people can deal with themselves or that aren’t in line with your priorities and goals. Saying yes to everything only creates more stress."
4. Focus On Your Breath
If you don't have time for a full-on spa day, you can take a few minutes any where you are just to focus on your breath. "This exercise can be done at your desk or even in a tense meeting," says meditation teacher and massage therapist Kathleen Lisson over email. "Take a slow deep inhale through your nose, then exhale through your nose. Count to two, then inhale again. Pausing in between breaths brings relaxation."
5. Take An Electronic Time Out
You're not truly relaxing if you're browsing through social media or checking emails. Set aside time where you aren't engaging in screen time of any sort. "If that means retreating to the bathroom to get some quiet, or walking around the perimeter of your workplace, or just giving yourself a 'time-out,' you will see benefits," says Sulack over email.
6. Have A Good Laugh
Whether you spend a few minutes watching a funny YouTube video, chatting with friends, or thinking of a funny memory, allow yourself a good laugh. Laughter can help reduce stress, sooth tension, stimulate your organs, relieve pain, and even improve your immune system, according to Mayo Clinic.
7. Embrace Nap Time
"Setting aside 20 to 30 minutes for an adult nap provides significant health benefits, including improved performance, alertness and energy, while avoiding a groggy period after the rest," says Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, chief medical officer of Well & Being over email. "Find a quiet spot to settle in, get comfortable and use an eye mask to keep bright lights at bay during your nap. Remember to set an alarm on your phone for 20 to 30 minutes so you don’t oversleep. You will wake up refreshed, revitalized, and ready to take on the world."
8. Meditate In The Morning
Set your alarm 20 minutes early and fit in some early morning meditation before the chaos of your day starts. "By meditating first thing in the morning, your mind has still yet to hit overdrive so you can breathe deeply and clear your head more easily," says Lynne Goldberg, certified meditation coach and co-founder of the OMG. I Can Meditate! app, over email.
9. Enjoy Your Shower
Everyone has to shower, so instead of making it a chore, make it a sacred time for yourself. Use your time to be mindful of how your mind and body feel, and even consider utilizing some aromatherapy for even more relaxation.
10. Create Systems That Free Up Your Time
Don't waste your time repeating the same tasks that can be done on their own. "Put your life on autopilot by automating things like bill paying, depositing your checks using your phone, create recurring orders for your household items, and setting up your computer to do weekly backups," says life coach Amanda Sowadski over email.
11. Make An Appointment — With Yourself
Learn to schedule in "you-time" as if it was just as important as a meeting with your boss. "If you write personal time on your schedule the same way you do appointments with others, you'll be more likely to actually do it," says Tina B. Tessina, PhD over email. "Join a class or group that meets regularly for a relaxing activity such as yoga, dancing or tai chi, or schedule a regular massage, manicure or facial, so you'll have a guaranteed place to relax."
Sometimes it takes time to make relaxation a habit, but you'll feel better, and even more productive, if you allow yourself that much needed down time.
Images: Pixabay (12)