How long will I feel so relaxed? I wondered as I rinsed the sand off my sunkissed skin.
There’s just something about beach; the salt air, the crashing waves, the seagull’s cry, and the ocean breeze all colliding together in a magnificent force that calms me like nothing else.
The tension in my tight shoulders melts under the warm sun.
My mind slows to match the relaxed rhythm of the waves lapping the shore.
I find myself wishing I could stay forever.
But, once the sun sets, the ocean becomes a reflection in my rear view mirror as I return to my everyday life. Within two days of being immersed in real life, the stress I’d hoped to leave behind creeps back into my shoulders and back, reminding me to find other ways to relax and enjoy life.
5 Highly Effective Ways to Reduce Stress and Overwhelm
Connecting every breath with each movement not only relieves stress and relaxes muscles, but also calms your mind. Just a few poses go a long way. My favorite restorative poses are child’s pose, corpse pose, legs up the wall, reclined bound eagle, and forward fold. If you’re new to yoga, you can learn the poses from Yoga With Adriene’s Foundations of Yoga playlist. (This is how I started.)
There’s something about getting everything out on paper that offers comfort and clarity I can’t find anywhere else. It’s become my spiritual lifeline; the rock I hide behind as God passes by, always leaving me more whole for having been in His presence. No fancy journals required.
I can’t get over how relaxed I feel when I take a break from the internet. The internet isn’t bad in and of itself, but when scrolling my Instagram feed or excessively checking email takes the place of quality time with Matt or curling up with a good book, it’s time to break this mindless habit. It’s only when I unplug that I enter that quiet place where my eyes can see, my ears can hear and my heart can receive…the breeding ground for living with and on purpose.
Research shows that clutter causes stress. Organizing a few key spaces in your home and implementing a couple of simple routines, creates a more relaxing home environment where everyone feels safe and secure. Those feelings shouldn’t be underestimated: They allow us to bloom where we are planted.
Take a break
All work and no play makes mommy a very dull girl. In other words, your light (your spirit, the thing that makes you you) starts to burn out. Instead, schedule relaxation into your day just like you would an errand or your kid’s soccer game. Some ideas include:
- Spending time with friends, even if it’s just a playdate with the kids. Having regular Chickfila playdates saved my sanity when my daughter was little. There’s just something about joining together with other moms that lifts your mood and makes you feel human.
- Sipping a warm drink. Drinking something warm has a way of melting stress and helping you calm down.
- Rocking on the front porch. The melodic rhythm of rocking back and forth has a way of stopping time and lulling you to rest. It’s even better on a Summer night against the backdrop of a starry sky and crickets singing. (This is a close second to being on the beach for me.)
- Reading a book. Healthy escapism can be just what you need to cast your cares and recharge.
- Listening to a podcast for encouragement and inspiration. You might enjoy Minimal-ish, The Next Right Thing, or The Mindful Movement
- Turning on some music. Music has a way of turning around any situation.
If all this sounds great, but you’re wondering how in the world you’re supposed to find the time to relax, here are some helpful tips.
How to Find Time to Relax
- Incorporate breaks around your needs. What time of the day do you need a boost? When is someone available to watch the kids?
- Leave some wiggle room in your schedule. Life happens. Instead of letting it create stress, have some unscheduled time built into your day. This unscheduled time is also known as margin or white space. Allowing for it takes the stress out of the unexpected.
- Be okay with not getting everything done. You’ll find a way to make room for yourself as it becomes a priority, even if you have to move your to-dos to the next day. Giving yourself permission to move on is very freeing.
Learning how to relax is a great solution for tuning out the noise and chaos of the world and making room for what matters most.
See you in class,