We all need to make the time in our everyday lives to chill a little, but it’s easy to forget this when our to do-list is overwhelming.
If we know how to relax and make an effort to actually do so when we need to, it can be a great coping strategy to help when we’re stressed out. If we develop mechanisms and routines to relax, we’re more likely to bounce back from tough times, and without a doubt – feel happier, calmer, and more peaceful.
There are times when it can be really difficult to unwind. It seems kind of ironic to get stressed out about not being able to chill out to reduce stress, but it can be frustrating. It might help if you have space away from your kids and other people in which to relax. Make it warm, cozy, and fragrant. Make it your cocoon; a place to reset yourself.
How can you expect to really relax if you’re weighed down by anger and resentment? It’s simple. You can’t. It’s time to forgive. Forgive yourself, and forgive others. You’re not condoning bad behavior when you forgive others, you’re simply giving yourself permission to let go and move on. After all, it’s all about perception – recognizing we each have our own is key. It’s a tough step, but a very mandatory one.
We often externalize our love and give it to others easily; we do it on a daily basis. What about self-love? When was the last time you actually loved yourself? Take the time to be kind to yourself and acknowledge your inner child, love her and let her know daily that she is worth loving.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
While there are great merits to a “to-do” list, be kind to yourself and recognize the things you’ve accomplished. At the end of the day, make a list of the productive things you’ve done that day. Did you nurture a relationship? Help a stranger? Complete a project?
No matter how small, these are all things we should try to acknowledge and pat ourselves on the back for.
You don’t need to be crafty to create something. Whether it’s baking a batch of cupcakes, planting an herb garden, or knitting a scarf – creating allows us to feel mindful and productive. This is even more meaningful if you’ve created it for someone else. Hand-making a surprise for someone else not only makes them feel special, but it makes us feel special too. Perhaps we’ve forgotten that the gift is often times in the giving.
Just as it’s beneficial to keep track of what we’ve done, it’s also good to notice what we have. Keep a journal by your bed, and note the things that you feel lucky to have. Everything from how your clean sheets make you feel, to a good friends generosity, it’s worth noting.
Instagram and Facebook have many benefits, but does it really make you feel better to expose yourself to everyone’s online versions of themselves 24/7? Most often people only report on their success, and so it can be hard when you’re comparing your entire life to everyone’s highlight reel. Take the time to break away from all the white noise of social media, especially before bedtime.
What people say about exercise and endorphins is true; getting active increases feelings of happiness. This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym. Rather, find a form of physical activity that works for you. Dance like no one is watching, enjoy a Saturday morning walk, or go on a bike ride. The key is to just change your state.
SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are incredibly good for you. They protect your needs and honor your worth. Never hesitate to set healthy boundaries. A tip to help you recognize when a boundary needs to be set is to ALWAYS listen to your intuition. If an interaction leaves you feeling weird, perhaps a line has been crossed. Take that as a sign that you might need to set a boundary.
ACTUALLY TASTE YOUR FOOD
Try to have at least one meal a day where you can take 15 minutes to enjoy it. Taste it, eat slowly, and give yourself time to chew. So often our mealtimes become part of our multitasking life. We’re always working, feeding the kids, thinking about tomorrow’s schedule. We may as well be eating sawdust if we don’t take the time now and again to enjoy one of life’s pleasures.
Image courtesy of Melinda Brady.
Mel Brady, 54, is a senior Australian based product and interiors stylist with over 30 years experience in the advertising industry. A few years ago, her silver hair led her to take a confident stand in front of the camera to show that embracing age naturally is more liberating than trying to hold back the years.