Best Ways To Relax Naturally
Life is stressful and sometimes the stress can overwhelm you, but there are steps you can take to learn how to relax. Normal everyday activities like grocery shopping or traffic jams can make you tense. You might find it hard to unplug from digital devices and streaming services in a 24/7 world. Work deadlines, handling the kids or dealing with a difficult relationship can get you down.
The coronavirus pandemic, a chronic illness, or caring for an elderly relative might be a strain. “Stress is really how your body and brain respond to challenges, such as pressure at work, [handling] the pandemic, increasing family responsibility, other negative experiences that may impact and create stress,” says David Shurtleff, PhD, deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the concerns around stress.
When you feel overwhelmed or can’t handle a situation, your body might respond in a bad way. The so-called “fight or flight” response kicks in to get you ready to run, and that creates stress. “Experiencing short periods of stress is just fine, in fact, it's even healthy,” says Jonathan C. Smith, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University, founding director of the university’s Mindful Initiative, and a prolific author of books on relaxation practices. “Living a stress-free life is unhealthy and dangerous. We need a little bit of challenge to keep us alive,” Smith says.
But too much stress isn’t good for you. Some situations, like the isolation you may have faced during the pandemic, for example, can cause ongoing stress, which, in turn, can bring on health problems. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by something like a global pandemic, but it’s also important to find ways to relax, Shurtleff says. He practices yoga about three times a week and uses a treadmill daily to help keep worries under control.
Between commitments to work, family and friends, the round-the-clock demands on our time can feel relentless. In fact, American culture seems to prize being overbooked and exhausted to the point that it's become a status symbol to not practice self-care. No wonder “figure out how to relax and be happy” is often the last bullet point on our never-ending to-do lists.
In today's day and age, it's difficult to find the time to take care of ourselves. Self-care is a way to nourish our bodies and minds while helping us feel more relaxed and centred. It can be as simple as drinking more water, calling your mom or taking a few minutes for yourself each day.
Self-care is not about making yourself sicker or weaker; in fact, it often helps strengthen your immune system. No matter what kind of self-care you're looking for, there are ways you can incorporate it into your daily routine. Some alternatives include giving yourself a foot massage before bed, meditating for a few minutes before work or going on a walk with a friend after dinner.
Self-care is important for everyone, but it's especially critical for those of us who experience anxiety and depression. Self-care isn't just the practice of taking care of yourself; it's also a way to take care of your relationship with others. By spending more time with people, you love, you're less likely to get burned out—and, as a result, less likely to treat your loved ones poorly. And self-care lets you better meet the needs of other people—whether they're family members or friends–through tough times.
Here are some simple ways to be more mindful and intentional about your self-care:
- Make sleep a priority: Everyone deserves an adequate amount of sleep each night. We all have different schedules and priorities, so set aside time for yourself first thing in the morning (or before bedtime) without any distractions.
- Spend time outdoors: The fresh air can help calm your mind and ease tension in your body–even if it's just sitting outside on a bench reading a book or watching the birds fly by.
- Eat well: A healthy diet is not only good for your physical health but also contributes to mental health. When we eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein sources, our brains release serotonin which makes us feel happier and more positive about everything around us.
Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are two of the most common causes of dread, foggy thinking, and chronic fatigue. The good news is that there are a number of simple steps you can take to relieve these symptoms and help your mind relax into a state that's restful and alert.
Meditation may sound like it would be an impossible task, but with consistent practice, it becomes easier and easier. If you're not sold on the idea of sitting still for 20 minutes at a time, try meditating for just five minutes every day (the benefits will be more pronounced over time).
The best method is to sit in silence and focus your attention on your breath. Make sure you take some time out for yourself each day to recharge—whether that means taking a walk, going out for coffee with friends or enjoying some alone time with Netflix or Hulu. In order to stay balanced, try to consciously schedule exercise into your routine as well, so you don't feel guilty about all the hours spent watching TV or playing video games.
Stress and anxiety are two very different things, but they can be related. Both stress and anxiety can contribute to a feeling of “burnout,” which is when you feel like you're approaching your limit and don't want to take on any more challenges or responsibilities. The first step to getting rid of stress is understanding the difference between it and anxiety.
They may seem similar in terms of what they do to your body, but there are key differences that distinguish them. Stress will make you feel nervous, jittery, unable to focus and more tired than usual. Anxiety, on the other hand, can manifest as physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, increased heart rate, chest pain or fainting spells.
If you think that stress or anxiety might be impacting your life negatively or if you just want some tools for managing these emotions better, then start by learning how to calm yourself down with breathing exercises. When you're feeling stressed out or anxious, it's important that you practice deep-breathing techniques because they help oxygenate your blood cells and prevent muscle tension from building up. There are a variety of ways that deep breathing exercises can help relieve stress, including reducing blood pressure and relieving muscle tension.
The Power Of A Good Night's Sleep
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important steps to feeling refreshed and having an energy boost the next day. A lack of sleep can lead to many health problems and other negative consequences. The first thing you should do is block out as much noise as possible.
The closer you are to your bed, the better your sleep will be. Keep your bedroom door closed and close all windows, blinds, and curtains to keep distractions at bay. Turn off any lights that emit blue light, which can hamper your circadian rhythms. Finally, have a relaxing pre-bedtime ritual like a bath or massage that you know helps you fall asleep quickly.
The first step on the path to relaxation is giving your body the sleep it needs. The average adult needs eight hours a night of sleep, but it's impossible to achieve that if you wake up every morning feeling tired and foggy-headed. When you don't get enough sleep, your brain isn't able to function optimally, which can cause you to feel anxious and stressed.
But, getting enough shut-eye doesn't just make your brain clearer; it also helps maintain healthy levels of hormones like cortisol and serotonin. What's more, studies have shown that people who do not regularly get enough sleep are more likely to have heart disease or stroke. So, hitting the hay at least 8 hours a day is critical for both your health and happiness.
Try Some Deep Breathing Exercises
Breathing deeply will help you to relax and let go of any tension. To start, try these three exercises to consciously apply deep breathing in your daily life:
- Inhale for 5 seconds. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. Exhale for 5 seconds.
- Breathe in through your nose for five seconds, hold for ten seconds, and breathe out through your mouth for five seconds
- Take a deep breath into the bottom of your lungs, then exhale slowly from the top down. Repeat this process eight times in total.
Deep breathing is a proven way to reduce stress by calming the body and lowering heart rate and blood pressure levels, as well as increasing oxygen levels throughout the body and brain. If you're feeling particularly anxious or irritable, these techniques can help you calm down before bedtime so that you don't wake up feeling like a walking zombie the next day with only a few hours of sleep under your belt.
Meditation Can Help Find Peace
Meditation is a wonderful way to escape from anxiety and stress. It can also help you sleep better or have more energy, depending on what kind of meditation you do. Try sitting in silence for 20 minutes, focusing on your breathing and nothing else, with the goal of clearing your mind. This can really help to de-stress and calm your overactive mind.
Swing by a local yoga studio for an hour or two, or find a less formal self-care method at home. There are many different ways to do yoga that are easy to fit into any schedule, so it's never too late to start practicing mindfulness and meditation. A quick YouTube search will show you dozens of options on just how to start meditating today.
If all else fails, try a short nap—but make sure it's during the day. Studies have shown that napping during the day is actually healthier than sleeping at night because it reduces cortisol levels in people which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, depression and all sorts of other health problems. So don't be afraid to take a rest when you need one—you can always get back up again after taking care of yourself.
Positive Thinking Is The Key To Happiness
The power of positive thinking is a tried-and-true method to help destress. By focusing on your goals, you're able to take control of your day and ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. This can also help you cope with stress and fatigue by helping you refocus on the things that are important in your life.
Remembering all the things you have to be grateful for can also be a helpful tool for relaxation. Practicing gratitude doesn't just feel good—it's scientifically proven to make your body happier, more energetic, and more compassionate.
One easy way to find peace and relaxation is by adopting a positive mindset. Start by refraining from negative thoughts—you can't think negative thoughts and be happy at the same time. Instead, focus on positive thoughts that will help you feel more relaxed. For example, if you're feeling anxious about work, try telling yourself that everything will be okay and that there's nothing to worry about. Or if you're feeling restless during meditation, try thinking of something pleasant instead.
If you have a hard time getting into a positive frame of mind in the morning, try incorporating some mindful awareness exercises into your routine. Spend just 10 minutes before bedtime or when you first wake up taking slow deep breaths in through your nose and slowly exhaling out through your mouth. This exercise will help calm both your mind and body for an easier transition to sleep.
If you're looking for a quick, easy way to relax and destress, turn up your favorite tunes. Music is proven to have an immediate impact on our emotions, which is why it's a great tool for making us feel better. If you're feeling anxious, down in the dumps, or just plain bored with your current playlist, switch up your playlist with one that makes you happy. Research by the American Psychological Association showed that listening to happy music can increase positive emotions like joy, gratitude and hope by 20 percent.
Additionally, music has been shown to help lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as relieve pain from physical exertion. So put on some tunes and find solace in them—you deserve it. Music is great for the brain because it induces a state of calm.
Listening to music can reduce stress, increase focus, and make you feel more relaxed. In fact, the research found that listening to music when you're stressed can actually help reverse the effects of stress. The best way to get started is by making a playlist of your favourite relaxing tunes. Then, set your plan for nap time or bedtime: Start with about 10 minutes of music before you drift off.
There is something about a massage that can instantly make you feel relaxed. It's easy to see why, the way it causes blood to flow, stimulates the nervous system and releases cortisol (a stress hormone). Massage therapy has been proven to lower blood pressure and improve mood. Plus, it can relieve chronic pain by stimulating nerve endings in your skin.
To reap the benefits of a massage, you have to find someone who can do it well. A licensed massage therapist will know how to use the right amount of pressure and pay attention to your body's needs. But if you're looking for some DIY relaxation time, try a deep tissue massage with your own hands or grab some foam rollers before bed.
Soak In A Warm Bath
There are lots of ways to make a relaxing bath, like adding in Epsom salts, lavender oil, or rosemary and eucalyptus steam. But one of the easiest and most effective ways to relax your mind and body is to just soak in a warm bath. To start off, fill the rest of the tub with really hot water because it can help you relax from the tension your muscles feel as they open up. Next, add in essential oils that might help you unwind; lavender is commonly used for stress relief and sleep-inducing effects while peppermint is renowned for its ability to cleanse your lungs. Finally, add in some bubbles and enjoy.
How To Make Your Own Relaxing Activities
A few simple lifestyle changes can help you find a little peace and quiet.
- Take a walk outside in nature. If possible, take it at sunset or sunrise. It's easy to be distracted by your phone or computer when you're in the middle of a walk.
- Stretch and do deep breathing exercises. This is an easy way to relax your body, mind and spirit without even thinking about it!
- Listen to some music. Whether you have your own personal playlist or prefer to buy new tracks on iTunes, this is the best way to de-stress without even trying. (But avoid violent lyrics of course!)
- Watch some TV if that's what makes you feel most at peace. There are plenty of shows out there with themes that help put things into perspective for us, like Documentaries and Crime Shows.
Just because you're doing work doesn't mean you have to be unhappy. As long as you're taking the time to relax and care for yourself, your productivity will increase and you'll have more peace in your life. In order to live a happy and healthy life, it is important to take the time for yourself. Self-care helps us maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is essential to living a long and healthy life.
I trust you enjoyed this article on the Best Ways To Relax Naturally. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
>>>Please click here to read my all-inclusive article about Lessons That Will Teach You All About Stress<<<
>>>Are you interested in Natural Healing And Stress Relief through Herbs? Please click here for my #1 Recommendation<<<
Your Opinion Is Important To Me
Thoughts? Ideas? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me your questions, experience, and remarks about this article on the Best Ways To Relax Naturally, in the comments section below. You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@Close-To-Nature.org.
This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate and other affiliate programs. Please read my full affiliate disclosure.