Quick tips to help you relax
Wondering how to cope with stress? Why not try some of these quick relaxation techniques?
When we’re busy, stressed and under the pump, our self-care and relaxation strategies can go right out the window. Of course, this is actually when our bodies and minds most need them. But you don’t have to have an hour free to go for a run or get a massage in order to schedule some vital downtime into your day. Why not take 10 minutes and try these quick techniques?
Strike a pose
Yoga can help relieve stress. Even if you don’t have time to get to a class, learning a few basic techniques can help you unwind in just a few minutes and can be done almost anywhere.
Start this simple yoga technique by exhaling as you bend forward from the hip joints and bring your palms or fingertips to the floor while keeping your knees as straight as possible. Then, with each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso slightly; on each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. This stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips and is believed to help relieve fatigue as well as decrease stress.
Breathe like a bee
‘Humming bee’ breathing is a yogic practice that imitates the sound of a humming bee and is thought to help clear the mind, direct awareness inward, and enhance memory and concentration. Sit comfortably and plug both your ears with your fingers. Close your eyes, be comfortable and relax your whole body. Keep the teeth separate and mouth closed throughout. Breathe in slowly and deeply and then breathe out while making a humming sound.
Good posture helps us take in oxygen more easily, which in turn can help us keep calm and handle stressful situations better. Take a few moments to adjust your posture, whether sitting at your desk or standing. Make sure your shoulders are pulled back, your spine is straight and the crown of your head is held high with your chin drawn inward. Do this periodically throughout the day to avoid the dreaded ‘computer worker’s slump’.
Engaging in eye contact and exchanging smiles with people can have a positive, calming effect. Who knows, you might just make someone else’s day a little happier and less stressful, too.
Tuning in to all the different sensations occurring in your body while breathing slowly and deeply in and out can be very relaxing. Lie on your back with your eyes closed, your arms and legs spread at about 45 degrees, and your palms facing upwards. The whole body is relaxed with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath. Scan your body for muscular tension of any kind and consciously release it with each breath. This can also be done in bed at night to help induce sleep.
Even on the busiest day it’s possible to carve out 10 minutes to relax. Best of all, you may even feel happier and more productive for it.
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