By: Baylee Maust
If you were going to describe 2020 in one word, "relaxing" would probably not be on your list. Quarantining, staying healthy, and trying to maintain stress levels can be quite exhausting.
In the midst of all things stressful, it can be difficult to find effective relaxation exercises to incorporate into your daily life. If you're sick of being told to try a calming herbal tea, do deep breathing exercises, or get a massage, there are plenty of other cost-efficient stress relief strategies to benefit your wellbeing.
- Try Mindful Meditation
Meditating is an age-old relaxation technique to get your body and your mind in a more tranquil state. Not only is meditating a very effective stress-reducing activity, but it also can be practiced anywhere, at any time, without any equipment! Meditation has been known to alleviate anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and more.
There are plenty of different ways to meditate. If the winter weather has got you down, you can use a method of meditation called guided imagery by imagining yourself on a warm, sunny beach or any other environment that piques your interest! If you’re able to get yourself in a more soothing or relaxed state by just pausing to take a moment of reflection, congratulations! You’ve just successfully mediated.
2. Opt Into Healthier Options
Altering your diet is another way to improve mood and increase your energy throughout the day. Too many sweets and junk foods are filled with unhealthy additives and fats that can impact our productivity.
But before you read on assuming that eating healthy means a strict diet of salads and tasteless foods, think again. There are plenty of ways to incorporate fun and flavorful options into everyday meals that will satisfy your mind AND your tastebuds! A handful of your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables can be the small change to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
Read more about hydrating food options here.
3. Exercise Your Muscles with Yoga
Once you are a master at meditation, incorporate some simple stretches into your daily routine. This practice is commonly referred to as yoga, and experts report that this form of exercise can reduce your heart rate, back tension, arthritis, and stress levels.
There are hundreds of videos, online guides, and classes that can teach you a variety of simple yoga poses. Some poses like this Tree Pose, are as simple as standing on one foot and balancing on one leg to achieve ultimate focus and tranquility. Check out other beginners’ poses and their benefits on the guide posted by John Hopkins Medicine.
4. Find a New Hobby
Really want to lean into the “new year, new you” mantra? While we are all quarantining, many of our homes have doubled as an office or study place. Immersing yourself in a new hobby can give you something to look forward to at the end of the day and help to separate work from fun.
Some stress-relieving activities could be puzzles, baking, or growing your own garden. The possibilities are endless with this one; if you find an activity that helps you wind down after a stressful day and help you to stay present - stick with it because you have found the hobby for you!
5. Rest Well with a Good Night’s Sleep
Arguably the easiest activity of all to complete ideal relaxation is sleeping. Studies say that you should get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Missing out on critical hours of sleep could worsen stress and impact your immune system.
Ensuring that you get a long night's sleep will reduce weight gain, lower blood pressure, and improve your memory. But if work stress or Netflix keeps you awake at night, try turning off all electronics at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Reducing blue-light exposure from cell phones, computers, or television screens can boost your mood and productivity for an improved night’s sleep.
By practicing these stress management relaxation tips, you can increase your chances of reducing muscle tension, chronic stress, and anxiety. Breaking unhealthy habits and starting off the new year with a strong wellness routine will improve your physical and mental wellbeing.