Downtime has become a precious commodity--almost a luxury item. How do we get back to a state of health where we’re getting all the rest we need? It’s not just parents that complain about getting too little sleep these days. It’s not fun to wake up at work and find that you have a waffle pattern on your face from the keyboard.
People are stressed about money and their health, over-stimulated, and either under or over-worked, and that can add up to a tired body and a tired mind. Here are some easy strategies for getting the rest and relaxation we need to thrive:
1. Have a staycation instead of a vacation.
Short vacations sound great, but often the reality is brief moments of relaxation, and many hours of effort. A staycation is a stay at home vacation where the focus is pure rest. Prep food beforehand, hide the bills, don’t answer the phone or the door, forget the to-do list, and get the rest you need.
2. Stretch away your aches and pains.
Pain drains away your energy. And we often take little pains for granted, until we just accept them as natural. Stretching for even 5 minutes in the morning and at night before bed can loosen tight muscles and tendons and help you relax and find new energy.
3. Get outside and into nature.
It’s amazing what a half an hour outside can do. A walk on a nature path is ideal, but even just sitting in a park and looking at the grass and trees can have a wonderfully calming effect.
4. Let your mind wander.
Even if your entire body is relaxed, you can still be thinking stressful thoughts. Try reading a National Geographic or a travel magazine and imagining yourself in a distant, exotic locale resting in a warm hammock or a soft bed.
5. If you can’t sleep at night after 20 minutes or so of trying, get up and do something else.
The stress of trying to fall asleep can keep you up. Reading a difficult non-fiction book can be a great way to find your sleep again.
The phrase “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” applies to learning to relax and recharge. Every little step you take towards finding your energy adds up, and before you know it, things will start feeling better, and you’ll find that long-lost smile again.
Staying awake at work tip:
When you feel sleepy in the afternoons, think 3 things: more water, deep breathing, and movement! Stepping outside and stretching for even 3 minutes, or taking a brief walk around the office can bring back your ability to concentrate.
100 Ways to Relax, Unwind and Loosen Up
14 Ways to Relax
National Sleep Foundation