The American Psychological Association released its Stress in America report last year, and the findings were less than promising, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing significant stress in our nation. Uncertainty and trauma, family stress, financial stress, and more all affect us in ways that could be damaging our overall health.
Still, many of us remain hopeful and committed to doing better, and it stands to reason that we could all use a bit more relaxation time in our lives. Here are our top ways to find more relaxation in your life.
Cut down on the alcohol
People commonly attribute grabbing a drink after a hard day as a good way to wind down and decompress. Alcohol works as a central nervous system depressant. Those warm, fuzzy feelings and boost in mood are due to its sedative effects. While it feels good in the moment, this is a temporary solution that has the potential for long-term issues.
Because alcohol alters the serotonin levels in your brain, feelings of anxiety and depression can start to emerge once your blood alcohol content starts to dip.
There are multiple ways to moderate your drinking, from non-alcoholic beverage collections to drinking a full glass of water between drinks. We’ve even created a Sober Survival Box that focuses on Better Sleep, Better Exercise, Better Relaxation, and Better Celebration that will keep you moving without the stress.
Yes, everyone talks about meditation. We’ve even written about our favorite mindfulness meditation books. But, the reality is that meditation has continuously been seen as one of the best practices to reduce stress.
When you meditate, you’re clearing your mind from the overwhelming thoughts that bombard us daily. You’re able to focus on what’s happening at the moment, prevent overreaction, and increase your patience.
You don’t have to meditate for hours each day to reap the benefits. Trying breathing exercises for even five minutes a day has been shown to reduce stress.
Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. This lack of intention can wreak havoc on your stress levels. We’re emotionally driven creatures, meaning we often react with how we’re feeling rather than rationally. When we don’t plan things intentionally – in this case, relaxation – we tend to make decisions that sometimes aren’t the best for us.
The first step to take is to figure out what it is that makes you relax. A bath, a book, lighting candles, or deep breathing are all options. If watching trashy reality TV truly relaxes you, be intentional with when you schedule your binge. Otherwise, you may end up feeling even more guilty and less productive, which is entirely counterintuitive to relaxation!
We live busy, big, beautiful lives that help us thrive when we give ourselves the appropriate care. Don’t forget to take time out for yourself to practice better relaxation.