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5 Ways to Relax and Unwind for National Relaxation Day

National Relaxation Day is coming up on August 15th and we are celebrating this holiday by taking a step back from the fast-paced world we live in to relax and unwind. Although some stress can be helpful in pushing you to do your best in day-to-day activities, too much stress can be harmful to your mental and physical wellbeing. Below are five ways to decompress and take care of yourself on National Relaxation Day:

1. Create an at-home relaxation retreat.

With so many daily stressors, it’s important to have a space to go to at home where you can unwind and relax. Make this space fit your personality by adding your favorite items. Some items that are great for relaxation are books, coloring materials, incense, flowers, plants and more. Add extra comfort to your nook by incorporating a lounge chair or other relaxing furniture options, like these here. Make the furniture pop with a cool Moroccan rug or comfy throw pillows!

2. Go on a nature walk.

When you get outside and step away from busy urban areas or crowded streets, you allow your mind time to relax and recharge. Spending time outdoors has many positive effects on your mental health and is a great stress reliever. Recent studies found that these benefits can last for seven hours after you have experienced nature’s stress-relieving benefits, allowing you to feel happier, longer. If you find yourself spending too much time at your desk, make it a point to get out for lunch and take a walk and clear your mind with the positive distractions of nature.

3. Spend time with close friends or family who make you laugh.

More laughter in your life means less stress. Laughter triggers a release of endorphins, which have proved to create a positive state of mind and boosts optimism, self-confidence, and feelings of self-worth. Combine laughter with time spent with the people closest to you and you will feel less stressed in no time. Hosting at home activities like a DIY paint party is a fun and easy way to bond with friends and family and a great way to relax and focus in on the present to release stress.

4. Meditate or stretch.

There are many mental and physical benefits of yoga and meditation. It’s a simple stress reliever, even for beginners. Guided meditation apps make it simple to unwind and relax wherever you are with on-the-go meditation tutorials and also allow you to connect with the present world around you no matter how busy life gets.

5. Get a massage.

Massage therapy is a relaxing and stress-reducing option worth exploring when you are in need of some “me-time”. Not only can massage therapy help with muscle relaxation, but it also helps to relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and boost energy levels. So if you are looking for a relaxing activity to do on National Relaxation Day, splurge with a nice massage at your local spa!

A Yoga Technique to Increase Relaxation and Reduce Anxiety

Certified Yoga Therapist Raquel Jex Forsgren shares a short yoga and breathing technique to help you reduce anxiety and increase relaxation. You can refer back to these practices in stressful situations to help control your mind and breath.

You can check out more of Raquel’s videos on her YouTube channel, Yoga With Raquel.


Transcript:

Raquel Forsgren:

So what I’ll ask all of you to do, even those of you that are on‑‑joining us with Andrew‑‑and Dr. Subbiah, you can do it as well‑‑I’d like all of you to feel really comfortable, just to sit in your chair or if you’re watching this in your bed lying on your back, just wherever you are I want you to just simply close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing that.  And immediately feel the surface of whatever it is that’s supporting you, the chair, the bed, see if you can sink into it, even 5 percent more than you were initially.

Wherever your hands are, feel the bottoms of your hands, maybe the bottoms of your feet, your toes, your heels.  Just feel the body itself.  Now notice your breathing and don’t judge it, just notice what it’s doing, if it’s nice and slow and fluid as you inhale and exhale or shorter little breaths or sticky or clunky in any way.  Don’t analyze it.  Don’t go into any thinking other than just noticing.

Begin to expand your muscles in your ribs as you take your next inhale.  Just think about expanding your ribs out just a little bit more, taking two more nice, slow inhales and exhales.  And I want you to bring to mind one thing you’re really grateful for today.  One thing.  The next before we move on, bring to mind a goal, an intention.  It could be how you want to feel for the rest of the day, emotionally or physically.  How do you want to feel or what do you need?  Beautiful.

Softly begin to open your eyes and bring your hands right in front of your heart with your palms placed together.  We’re going to do just a few movements of our arms so that you can see what it’s like to connect movement, your body and mind and breath together, and also thinking about lung cancer just something that helps expand the lungs and just activate all of those muscles themselves that need to be nourished.

So as you inhale just open your arms like an (? cast) or goal post.  And you’ll need to adjust this.  If you have had surgery along the central plate, take it nice and easy, just open, inhaling.  As you exhale bring your arms together, touching your palms together, elbows and forearms.  Inhale, open the arms again.  Exhale, closing the arms together.  Just take two more only moving with your own breath.  And closing.  One more time just like that, beautifully opening and relaxing.  And releasing the palms back down on your hands.

Close your eyes one more time.  I want you to notice if anything has changed within your body, your mind or your emotions, and there’s nothing wrong if nothing’s shifted.  I just want you to notice.  And softly blink open your eyes again because I want to show you and have you go through with me one of the best anxiety reducing breathing techniques that can be done.  It’s published in the literature.

It’s called alternate nostril breathing.  You can do this while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office for results, if you starting to feel panicky or anxious, when you’re inside an MRI machine or a CT scan, when you are just waking up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts and you can’t seem to shut them off.  So you’ll take two fingers, sometimes it’s the outer fingers but sometimes with arthritis in older hands it’s a little tougher, so I like to use two fingers, you’re going to bring them up to your nose, and you’ll be closing off one nostril at a time.  And I want you to breathe normally and naturally, okay.  So this isn’t anything forced.

Close off the right nostril first, and just delicately push it.  You don’t have to push it clear into your nose.  Just delicately push it.  Exhale all the way out the left side of the nostril.  Then inhale through the left nostril, exhale out the right nostril.  Inhale through the right nostril, exhale out the right nostril.  We’re going to do three more of these.  Inhale through the left, exhale out the right.  Inhale through the right and exhale a little longer out the left.  One last time.  Inhale through the left and exhale longer out the right side.

Bring your hands back down to your lap and close your eyes again.  Take a nice normal, natural breath.  And I want you to notice what’s different in your breathing, if anything.  Just notice it.  Notice your heart beating.  Come back to that intention or that goal you set for yourself.  And softly blink open your eyes with a smile.  I’m expecting all of you watching to be smiling even though I can’t see you.  And Namaste.