Warm or Cold: 5 Ways to Relax Year Round
Relaxation is important for your overall health. In fact, it is essential for all elements of well-being: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Learning to relax can help you rediscover your passions and zeal for life. Unfortunately, the demands of work, school and family can take a toll on your wellness. Stressful situations can lead to many different problems, from weight gain and illness to discontent and depression. Fortunately, there are ways to relax and reduce stress in every season, rain or shine. Here are five examples.
Accept Your Stressors
It’s an interesting concept, but accepting stress is the first step toward overcoming it. While some stress is helpful for motivation and balance, too much stress can harm you. Knowing the signs — from headaches and muscle tension to irritability and loss of focus — can alert you to stress before it gets worse. Once you recognize the signs and accept your stressors, you can make room in your life for relaxation. Have daily fun, like an after-work soak in the hot tub, and be sure to get adequate sleep. Until it comes naturally, you may have to schedule relaxation on your calendar.
Practice Deep Breathing
Relaxation techniques are simple exercises designed to reduce stress. Deep breathing is the easiest way to calm yourself, winter or summer. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, and hold each breath for five seconds. Repeat this breathing process ten times. As you exhale, visualize the tension leaving your body. Practice this technique any time, and anywhere for a relaxed feeling in short order.
Exercise Every Day
Regular exercise is a proven way to reduce or eliminate stress. Contrary to common belief, it actually energizes your tired body. When stress occurs, the benefits you receive from regular exercise can help you overcome it. Plan your exercise according to the weather or season. On warm, sunny days, take a hike in the woods, walk in the park, or swim laps in the pool. Hit the gym or your treadmill on cold, rainy days. Schedule exercise on your calendar until it becomes a habit.
Cuddle Your Pets
Except for when they chew your favorite pair of slippers, pets are very good stress-reducers. Many nursing homes use pet therapy to address stress and anxiety in their patients. You can do the same thing in your own home throughout the year. Cuddling your pets relaxes you and them. As you play with your pets, talk to them about your problems, they will not mind. In fact, your pets will love the extra attention, and you will feel so much better.
Try Massage Therapy
Massage is the ultimate relaxation therapy. Studies show that massage can decrease the level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Massage sets your body to a rest and recovery mode that lets you relax. Moreover, the effects can linger for hours afterward. Massage studios and spas offer various styles and techniques to jump-start the relaxation process. Improved relaxation promotes mental calmness, alertness, and creative thinking. It can even give you a better outlook on life.