Lately I have felt more on-the-go than usual. Maybe I just got used to the quarantine life and now that things are slowly picking up again, it’s hard to adjust. No matter the reason, it’s important to remember to take a beat for yourself. These busy lifestyles that we have normalized and conducive long term. It deteriorates your mental and physical health over time but if we can learn to practice having relaxing little moments, and more importantly accepting them when they come, we can keep up our busy lifestyle and feel happy about it.
These moments of relaxation aren’t going to come naturally most of the time. If you are a busy person, you’re probably not one to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. You might need to plan them out. If there are never enough hours in the day, make more time. How? Set the alarm a little earlier and literally give yourself more time. Just 30 minutes is not going to make or break your energy levels for that day.
There are couple good ways to make use of that time. One, to do something relaxing for 30 minutes. Do a facial mask. Paint your nails. Walk your dogs and smell the morning air! Whatever is your way of unwinding for a quick bit, do it!
Another way to use that time that you might even find more helpful is not adding a task. Don’t plan something to do with that time. Just take more time with your typical morning routine. Allow yourself to not be rushed or overwhelmed by your task. Having a less of a time constraint can make the whole day more relaxing.
Not a morning bird? That’s okay! There is still a way to make this time for you. Get ready for bed 20 minutes earlier to start a night time ritual. This is something I do because I already get up earlier than the average joe. Let’s be honest, a lot of us stay up late not because we are busy but because we get preoccupied with something, lots of times, a show on Netflix.
Relaxing doesn’t always mean lazy. Use the 20 minutes before bed to wash your face well, moisturize your body, maybe tidy up your bedroom or bathroom. Put on your favorite pajamas, brush your teeth and whatever else you may incorporate into your bedtime routine. Studies show people do find these tasks to be relaxing and even get to sleep faster. Going straight from TV or phone usage to sleep is difficult for our brains. They aren’t wired to go from peak activity to deep sleep. Make the time, even if it’s at night.
Maybe you need a more traditional of unwinding. Nothing wrong with that. Spa days are expensive but there is a less extravagant trick that seems to get the job done. The $5 bath bomb and a nice candle. It doesn’t take a $100 seaweed body wrap to relax – okay, maybe sometimes – but like I said, we are too busy, too broke or both. Next time you’re at the drug store, grab yourself a bath bomb or shower steaming bomb.
Our nose is a powerful tool for relaxing. Remembering the candle is important! For the most relaxing result, light the candle 20 minutes before hand in the bathroom to give it time to fill up the room with that scent. I do this with my morning shower some days and it’s a great way to relax within your normal routine. Setting aside time can be stressful so it’s crucial to find ways to incorporate relaxing moments with your daily activities.
This is another traditional way of relaxing. Meditating! It’s not as weird as movies make it look. All you’re trying to do is clear your head space and take in what’s around you. Yes you can find a comfy spot in the room, sit upright and close your eyes. You can stand in a room with your favorite music and your favorite scent burning. You can even go on a walk outside, no headphones just you and the sounds of nature. If you live in the city, maybe you do want headphones for a relaxing meditation track. The only wrong way to meditate is to not clear your head.
Find the trick that works for you. It might take a while. It did for me. Mind it playing music (specifically not TV, just music) while I do some sort of art with a candle burning. I can zone out and when I’m done I feel accomplished, relaxed, and more importantly I feel energized mentally. To be both relaxed physically and renourished in your head is a great feeling.
Similar to meditating, in that it helps clear your head, is unplugging. It’s just as it sounds. Don’t use the electronics around you. Something so simple, yet we don’t do it often enough. Don’t watch TV, don’t scroll social media or text people back. Take advantage of the things around you that might get less attention. Your sketch pad, you record player, your books. The bluelight winds up our brains. If we really want to learn to relax, we have to learn to do it without that.
Let’s talk about some unconventional ways of taking a moment for ourselves is having a pajama day. Not having to take the time to get ready can be this huge weight lift. You can still be productive around the house but knowing that you don’t have to leave and do something can be an effective way to give yourself some rest.
Maybe it’s not practical for you to take the whole day off, don’t knix this idea entirely. Pajama evening! Lots of us stay in our clothes until we know we are about to go to bed. Instead, the second you walk in the door from work or your kid’s afternoon activity, throw on those pajamas! It’s a relieving feeling to take off your bra and your jeans. To put on some comfy socks. Clothing always make a difference in our comfort level. Sometimes all you need to relax is to be comfy in what you have on.
Those are all things you can physically do. There are some mental activities to adapt that can bring daily relaxing to your life. This one is so simple yet so hard for a lot of us. Say no. Know when you have enough on your plate and say that you can’t do that. We can get so caught up in helping people out that we lose the whole day. Say no or saying ‘not right now’ just once can lighten the mental load on your day and physical. Some things really can wait a day.
This one is a great one and can change you from the inside out. Find the laughter in every day. When you feel overwhelmed, you are distracted and don’t find the normal laughter that you would normally get out of things. You forget how funny the show is that you have on in the background of you doing chores. Do you don’t catch your significant other’s joke. Be in the moment and remember you have a sense of humor. Laughing releases all sorts of chemical in the brain that make it easier for us to relax and of course, feel happy.
I’ve got one more way to adapt relaxing into your busy lifestyle but it’s probably the toughest. It’s an attitude change. Sometimes it really is all in your head. Just a bunch of built up anxiety you have from doing the same things everyday. Changing your attitude about things can breed a relaxing air around you. It’s not always saying “You GET to do this” type affirmations. It can be to stop and smell those roses we were talking about earlier. Enjoy the little moment with your pet when they are really happy to see you at the end of the day, or a calm moment with your kids. Appreciate the small daily allowances that happen all the time but you forget to notice. Even with a crazy busy schedule, these moments exist. Learn to find them and you’re going to see a huge difference in how you feel day to day.
If I’m being honest, I am still learning how to do this last one. It’s kind of one of those things you have to work on everyday, but even when I’m working on it, I can feel it making my days better.
Good luck on your journey to finding ways to lift the stress in your busy schedule. Stress is bad for everything. You don’t need me to tell you how it increases your chance of heart disease, bad for your mental health and bad for your relationships. In a world that has normalized the overloaded schedule, let’s normalize taking moments for ourselves.