The state of being free from tension and anxiety.
Synonyms: calm, tranquility, unwinding
For me, relaxation takes on several meanings; warm bubble baths, lying under blankets reading, or basking in the sun on a sandy beach. I also find peace and tranquility from a brisk nature walk, spinning, and yoga.
A few weekends ago, my boyfriend and I took a drive out to Letchworth State Park to soak in some fall foliage, local history and most importantly, to clear our minds.
Letchworth, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” spans over a whopping 13,350 acres with over 60 miles of hiking trails and breathtaking views. The Genesee River flows north to Lake Ontario, weaving through the bedrock-lined gorge and over three falls.
- Find what works for you. Like I said, sometimes its gentle yoga and other times I run my heart out to release built-up energy and clear my mind. It all just depends on the day and type of stressor. When you are experiencing mental or emotional stress, engage in activities you enjoy to occupy your mind. If you are cooking or on a run, there will be less room in the brain to worry or compile a mental to do list (guilty of this way too often). Oh and *bonus* if you choose to sweat it out - research suggests that regular exercise can positively impact mood and wellbeing. SCORE.
- Unplug. Ditch the phone, iPad, laptop, etc. for an allotted amount of time. Losing that connection for a few hours can be extremely liberating. (Of course, I don’t recommend "falling off the map" if you are hiking or are in an unfamiliar place. A phone is absolutely necessary in an emergency but be sure to keep it on silent and designate the time as email/text free.) It's your relaxation time, so go ahead and be selfish for a little!
- Be mindful in the moment. You don't have to visit state parks to enjoy the great outdoors. Even when you are jogging or walking around the block, soak in what the moment has to offer. Aim to be mindful of the breeze in your hair, the naturally vivid colors, and fresh air. If you choose to lie down in a quiet room, focus on your breathing. Imagine that with each breath you are clearing out negative and stressful thoughts and moving towards a peaceful mindset. Express gratitude for the positive aspects in your life instead of ruminating on the less-than-ideal ones.
- Make relaxation a priority. Know the relatively small investment in time will reward you in leaps and bounds when it comes to productivity, positivity, and overall fulfillment in life.
How do you relax? What do you do to clear your mind during times of stress?