By Out-of-Sync Woman
I asked a few important people in my life how they relax and de-stress these days. I appreciated their thoughtful responses about what things they do to feel better. What struck me the most was the fact that they were mostly low cost and often free options! My friends told me that they enjoy being outside in the sunshine, taking walks, reading, watching a movie, creating art, and listening to music while taking a bath. My friends gave me a lot more examples of what they enjoy doing to de-stress or relax, and why they enjoy doing these things.
Two things that my friends’ responses had in common was their positive attitude and their attention to being in the present. They try to take time to savor their experiences. They fully embrace the present and what they are doing, concentrating on that alone. Being able to be in the moment and not thinking about the past or present is a skill you can learn and practice. Another thing that is important is learning how to be grateful for what you have and not comparing yourself to others. Gratitude for me means acknowledging all the good things in my life and not concentrating on what I wish was different.
Why am I blogging about this subject? May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Part of good mental health is learning coping strategies and practicing relaxation/de-stressing skills. Being able to de-stress and relax is really important and the older I get, the more vital it is. I think it’s important and research backs this up as you wear yourself down if you’re constantly on high alert or trying to look for problems. Being able to relax by decreasing your anxiety is healthy and of utmost importance to your well-being.
I know that I have a tendency not to practice or use the skills that I was taught about how to relax and I’ve come to realize that I feel worse, more stressed and physically not as good if I do that. I get headaches, I’m cranky, I don’t eat as well, and I’m not a pleasant person to be around. It takes time to get back into practice since like any other skill, you need to be consistent about using it and not wait until things get bad. Make sure that you schedule it in your calendar/datebook to set aside relaxation time.
Why do I need to schedule it? Well, it’s easy as sometimes I get stuck in a rut of trying to get as much done as possible or going as fast as possible. I often forget that my body is not made to be on a “fast track“ all the time. I can be more accomplished and more satisfied if I take the time to go outside and take a walk, spend time with friends or family, pet my cat, and learn about other people.
I’m trying to be a better person, and part of that is taking the time to take care of myself. I’m trying to learn and grow every day. I’m trying not to compare myself to others either by putting somebody on a pedestal or putting myself down. I will be the best person I can be and part of that is learning how to de-stress and relax, especially when I’m struggling.
I really appreciated my friends‘ input and I hope you’ll utilize some of their ideas and discover relaxation strategies that work for you as well. Remember the importance of taking care of YOU!