Happy Relaxation Day!

In today’s fast-paced society of busy work and personal schedules, the stressful hustle and bustle seemingly consumes us every day of the year. It’s difficult to find time to wind down, and many people don’t have money to take a vacation. A weekend trip doesn’t quite cut it, either, since it takes an average of two days to settle into a routine and clear one’s mind. Even Sundays are no longer days of rest and relaxation.

But everyone not only deserves to pause and take a break once in a while – your mind and body need it. Too much stress can negatively affect one’s mental and physical health. For those of us overworked and over-scheduled Americans, it might take a holiday like National Relaxation Day to remind us to stop our hectic lifestyle at least for a day. Taking a week away may deliver longer-lasting results, but most experts also suggest creating minor moments of “me time” during the day to decompress. Just 30 minutes of relaxation in a quiet, peaceful environment can do wonders.

If you have to work today, at least schedule some time to relax in a quiet place at a time when your stress level is typically high and your energy level is low. If you don’t have access to a quiet room, then put on your headphones and listen to soothing music on your iPod. You can also plan your own Relaxation Day for later in the week. Pick a day to kick back and either do absolutely nothing, or to partake in a favorite leisure activity. Be careful, though – if golf is your favorite hobby, yet it can cause you stress, then do something else instead!

The goal of Relaxation Day is to relax and escape from your everyday routine. Avoiding stressful activities and eliminating distractions is the rule. Don’t turn on the television, and don’t listen to the talk radio station. Let the answering machine screen your incoming phone calls. Turn off the cell phone and computer, and set aside your electronic gadgets. Below are some ideas, in honor of National Relaxation Day, which will hopefully help you cope with your stress so that you will be better able to relax.

  • Sleep in.
  • Go fishing.
  • Lounge around in a hammock.
  • Play your favorite soothing music. (Click here for relaxing classical music. Research shows that listening to 30 minutes of classical music may produce calming effects equivalent to taking 10 mg of Valium.)
  • Listen to a recording of waves, wind, or birds. Click here for 8 hours of relaxing nature sounds.
  • Go for a swim.
  • Go for a nature walk. (Stop and smell the flowers, listen to a bird’s call, sit under a tree.)
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Try aromatherapy. (Light a scented candle or add a subtle fragrance to a room, such as lavender, which has been found to have a calming and relaxing effect.)
  • Spend the day at the beach.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Eat your favorite comfort foods.
  • Work on your favorite hobby or pastime (sewing, stamp collecting, etc.).
  • Do a little gardening (no heavy duty yard work, though).
  • Work out. (Believe it or not, exercise is a great stress reliever!)
  • Have a picnic in the park.
  • Play games with the kids.
  • Read a book.
  • Read the Bible, pray and meditate.

My favorite relaxation video is “Earthdance” by David Fortney (it’s in 7 parts):

What’s your favorite method to help you relax when feeling stressed? No matter what you choose to do, just remember to take it easy and enjoy National Relaxation Day!

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