You Need a Mini-Break! Five Ways to Achieve Healthy Relaxation

A woman in meditation

Being tense and anxious can make you worried, uneasy, irritable, exhausted and even susceptible to illness, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal ailments, and depression. All convincing reasons to find ways to fit healthy relaxation into your routine!

So, We Must Learn to Relax

Clearly, relaxation is good for you. The benefits of lessening tension and anxiety are enormous. It makes you think more clearly, work more efficiently, handle stress better, and live as a nicer, happier and healthier person. Of course, a two-week vacation with no responsibilities and no calls from the office would be great. But be serious, that in itself would be stressful. What would be happening back at the office?!?

A better idea is finding ways to relax, to rejuvenate both mind and body, with small amounts of time.

Five Ways to Take a “Mini-Vacation” with Minimal Time

1. Meditation and yoga. Meditation and yoga allow you to control your mind and your thoughts, especially when you can’t control the other things happening in life. It is a healthy way to relax your mind and body by lowering the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol.

Meditation can be easy to incorporate into your daily routine if you begin with breathing meditations, where you sit quietly and focus on your breath. Start with as little as two or three minutes a day. Or, if your mind tends to wander, try guided meditations where you are “talked” through the meditation.

Daily yoga may be more difficult to incorporate, so make it a weekly goal. If you can’t make it to a class, use an app such as Pocket Yoga. And if you only have five or 10 minutes, do a short series of sun salutations with focused breathing. You can search YouTube to learn sun salutations.

2. Music. Music has a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, affecting our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Slow and quiet classical music is proven to provide these benefits, but find what works best for you. Listen during free time, your commute, or at the office.

3. Nature. Being in your office, constantly focusing on work, can make you mentally exhausted. Luckily, nature will give your brain a break from everyday overstimulation. Go for a walk in the park, take a hike on the weekend, share a kayak with a loved one on a quiet lake, have a picnic dinner date rather than going to a restaurant.

4. Hobbies. Focusing energy on an enjoyable activity relaxes and rejuvenates the mind. Depending on your choice of activity, it can provide quiet peacefulness or much-needed social interaction. Whether it be painting, playing guitar, bird-watching, or shooting hoops with friends, schedule it into your monthly calendar and keep the appointment with yourself.

5. Massage and other bodywork. Hands-on treatments for de-stressing are some of the oldest forms of relaxation and wellness. These techniques, which include massage, acupuncture, and reiki, increase circulation and move stagnant energy out of the body to release toxins and create calm in the muscles and mind. Find a practitioner in your area and schedule a monthly appointment, treat it like an important meeting (with yourself). For quick relaxation, a chair massage at a nearby salon can do wonders.

Taking time to relax and focus on yourself — even for a moment — make you feel rejuvenated. Then you’ll be ready to face whatever challenge comes your way.
Photo ©iStockPhoto

Jamie J. Spannhake

Jamie Spannhake is a lawyer, mediator and certified health coach, and the author of "<The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos." She is a partner at Berlandi Nussbaum & Reitzas LLP and writes and speaks on issues of interest to lawyers, including time and stress management, health and wellness, work-life balance, and effective legal writing. Learn more at www.JamieSpannhake.com and follow her on Twitter @IdealYear.

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