August 15th is National Relaxation Day!
Relaxing can be a foreign concept for many modern Americans. In fact, in this social media driven world, the need to prove ourselves through pictures of what and how we are “doing” even the simplest things (cooking, cleaning, decorating, child care, getting dressed, etc.) can often make “being busy” a badge of honor. But the idea we need to be constantly busy, on the go, and productive can take a real toll on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
STOP! RIGHT NOW! Slow down….breath…
Before you read anymore do this: Take a long inhale. Take a long exhale. Inhale again. Exhale again. One more Inhale. One more exhale.
Ahh…now don’t you feel better?
Relaxation has a number of health benefits including slowing/regulating heart rate and breath rate, stabilizing/lowering blood pressure, improving digestion, maintaining blood sugar, reducing cortisol and other stress-related hormones that lead to weight gain and other health risks, improving blood circulation, relieving chronic pain, improving sleep quality, reducing fatigue, reducing stress, and increasing cognitive function. What’s not to love about relaxing?!
National Relaxation Day is a day all about finding ways to wind down and take a break from our hectic lives. Finding ways to rest both your body and mind are all that are required to observe this national “holiday,” which was founded in 1985 when a fourth-grader, named Sean Moeller, suggested to the Des Moine Register that on this day, people should try not to do anything of real value.
Obviously, we don’t all have a 4th grader’s luxury of working at nothing all day but, at least for today, try to take a few moments here and there to remember the value of nothing. And if you are going to post on social media – try to actually be relaxed in in your photo and use #NationalRelaxationDay to spread the word.
Here are just a few ways you might observe this unofficial holiday:
- – Breath Deep, either on your own or in a meditation class
- – Curl up on a couch or lawn chair or a blanket on the lawn with a book or just look up at the sky and feel the breeze on your face.
- – Take a “mental health” day from work
- – Go for a leisurely walk by yourself or with a friend (the four-legged variety counts)
- – Try NOT to use your smart phone for anything for a full 30 – 60 minutes (we know, this might stress you out even more, so just see what happens)
- – Book a massage
- – Find time to listen to music without doing something else at the same time (we suggest Bachman–Turner Overdrive’s, Taking Care of Business)
- – Watch your favorite show
- – Find ways to
- – Journal or draw or color
- – Take your work break outside and find a place to sit and enjoy
- – Cuddle with some animals…or a good-looking friend