Whether it’s getting kids up and off to school, heading off for another day at work or getting home to cook the family dinner… weekdays can be manic! No wonder we need weekends to recover. But fitting some ‘zen time’ in your week to relax, unwind and refresh can only take a few minutes of your day.
Here’s six simple relaxation methods for the time strapped:
1. Breathe Deeply
It sounds cliche, but deep breathing really helps! Breathing helps you feel calm by reducing your level of stress hormones. When you feel overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep cleansing breaths. Focus on the way the breath feels as it flows through the nostrils and back out again, or on how the chest feels as it expands to accommodate your lungs as they fill with air. To relax throughout the day, place small colorful stickers in random places, such as the bathroom mirror or the car dashboard, as a reminder to stop and take a deep breath.
2. Use Your Hands
One tip for using your hands is to sculpt with play dough – squeezing, mashing, and creating with play dough nurtures your inner child. You could also use similar substances, such as silly putty and kinetic sand. Letting loose on this type of hands-on task momentarily diverts your attention from stressful situations, allowing you to feel refreshed when you return to work.
3. Start a Journal
If you only have a few minutes each evening to unwind, start journaling. Write down a favorite memory with your child and every time your kid says something adorable, write it down. The next time you need a pick-me-up, go to your journal and relive these memories. Remembering the good moments will restore those nurturing feelings and ease your anxiety right on the spot.
4. Meditate Mindfully
You don’t have to join a yoga studio to get your “om” on as you can make meditation portable and quick. Download a few different meditations on your phone that you can listen to on your commute, at the office or at home whenever you need a boost or a break. Simply by focusing on the positive, encouraging messages, you’ll feel more at ease and let go of tension in a matter of minutes, making you better prepared to take on your day.
5. Enjoy Your Meals
When it comes to eating lunch during your workday, make it one of your ways to relax. Don’t check your messages or run errands. Instead, concentrate on your food. No matter how busy you get, take your real break and take your time eating. I enjoy each bite. This helps you replenish, nourish and relax your mind and body before you head back into work again. Stepping away from the computer during meals gives your brain a mental break from the work environment, so take your next lunch break at a park or in a conference room overlooking outdoor scenery.
6. Take a Soak
Coax your mind into a naturally relaxed state by nurturing the body. Soak in a hot bath infused with Epsom salt as magnesium is known as the anti-stress, anti-anxiety mineral. Epsom salt, which is made of magnesium sulfate, will relax muscles and be absorbed directly through the skin. For additional relaxation, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water or light a scented candle.
Finding ways to relax may seem like a daunting task since you became a parent, but it’s possible. Why wait? Carve out a few minutes today to try one of these ways to relax, and you’ll be better equipped both as a parent and an employee to handle the surprises that come your way.