When we make time to relax blood flow increases to our brain and heart giving us more energy. It helps our mind become clearer and calmer which increases positive thoughts, improved concentration, memory building and better decision making.
Relaxation comes in many different forms for many different people. Finding the right relaxation techniques will help you slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and relieve tension. Ultimately leaving you feeling happier.
Of course we always love practicing yoga or meditation to relax. But we hope that yoga and meditation are already a regular part of your life, so we're sharing other ways to find a sense of being calm and whole.
With August 15th being National Relaxation Day in Canada we polled our team members and have listed some conventional and not-so-conventional ways to rest and relax below.
Cassandra loves to doodle. This could be colouring in a colouring books or as simple as drawing lines on a blank piece of paper... or even on the top of your bills as you sit on hold waiting to speak to a representative about why the bills keep increasing!
For real though. Doodling is a great way to go with the flow. Touch your pencil to paper and allow some creativity to flow through your body as your pencil almost moves on its own. Let go and feel the flow.
Playing an Instrument
Whether you're good at playing an instrument or even if you don't have one, making music can alter your vibration. Maybe your voice if your instrument or you're a really good whistler? Perhaps you play the piano or ukulele or clarinet or even the spoons. You can make music on just about anything. Grab a wooden spoon, some bowls, pots and pans and go to town. March the beat of your own drum and feel how that beat uplifts your spirits.
Jenny enjoys spending time in the kitchen, cooking her favourite recipes. Oh the joy of cooking with fresh ingredients! Washing, cutting, prepping, mixing and smelling the food are all ways to keep you focused and present. When you're in the present moment, doing something you love - your body's automatic reaction is to relax.
Sarah loves to lay on the grass or dock or sand and watch the clouds go by. It's such a good reminder to let go of control. And a great exercise to free your imagination as you make shapes and pictures within the clouds. Allow them to change and be okay with the transitions.
Write a Letter
Our whole team loves getting mail that isn't an ad or bills. But you know what feels just as good as receiving??? Giving! Grab a pen and paper (or maybe a postcard) and write a quick little note to someone special in your life. It could be someone who lives close that you see often or someone that lives on the other side of the world that you wish you could hug. No matter who is the recipient, take a few moments to tell write down a funny joke or story that reminds you of them. Then place a stamp on it and walk yourself to a mailbox to drop it in.
Do it right away and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment like you've crossed a task off your to-do list. Plus - you'll get the added mind-shift of going for a walk (moving your body) outside (getting fresh air) which always helps to relax your being.
Take a Drive in the Country
Shelley's favourite things to do to clear her mind and relax. If you live in or near Hamilton, Campbellville Road is a lovely little drive with beautiful country homes, lots of tress and rolling hills. This road has great rollers that give you a little stomach drop if you go over them fast (while still being safe, of course).
If you don't drive or own a car, maybe ride your bike along the waterfront or on a trail. Or take a bus ride in a direction you don't normally travel. Seeing things from a different perspective can shift your mindset from super stressed to super chill.
We all had a good laugh thinking about explaining how laughing helps you relax. But for real - try it right now. Take a big, over exaggerated belly laugh and chances are that "fake" laugh will lead to authentic laughter. Laughter Yoga - it's a thing because it works.
The physical act of laughing actually calms your body. Research shows that laughter can reduce stress hormones and increases health-enhancing hormones. Laughing improves your mood, too. As kids, we reportedly laugh 400 times a day—but the average adult only gets about 15 LOLs in a day. So act like a kid and laugh at everything you can.
Spend Time Near Water
Michelle loves paddle boarding and SUP Yoga. Our friend, Helena loves hanging out at the beach. Water is soothing. It's been proven that just seeing or hearing water can produce neurochemicals that promote wellness by increasing blood flow to the heart & brain which induces relaxation.
Yingqi enjoys gardening as her relaxation tool. Getting your hands in the dirt is so soothing and grounding as it connects you to the earth. Gardening has a positive impact on stress and your mood because it reduces cortisol levels, which is a chemical the body produces in response to stress. So get your hands dirty and feel good about it!
Ogle Over Animals
Who doesn't love watching a good cat video or petting a fluffly dog on your walk? Studies show that looking at cute images of puppies or kittens actually helps to increase concentration. And as we know, when we're focused on one thing it triggers our relaxation response. So give a cat all the pets. Give a dog all the belly rubs or watch some fish as they happily swim around their tank and you're sure to feel a little more at ease.
Have you ever heard of Goat Yoga? Or Cat Yoga? People love practicing yoga with animals around because it offers extra relaxation & happiness.
If you don't have time for any of these exercises, you can take comfort in knowing that just reading this blog post has given you a sense of relaxation.
Enjoy & be well,
xo Shelley xo