Relaxation Activities…. also known as…
ALL aimed to DECREASE stress, cortisol, anxiety; and ENHANCE calm, happiness, focus, & mental clarity
Before I tell you WHAT they are… let me tell you WHY it is important for you to incorporate these activities into your DAY
Remember, most people’s current day to day is spent in SURVIVAL mode… we are constantly in sympathetic mode working, rushing our kids around, working out, trying to maintain a household, etc; and rarely are we making the time to incorporate down-regulation into our day. — I often use the analagy of a “stress-bucket” when I explain this to clients, as this was what really resignated with me. We can only handle so much stress in our bucket until it overflows and our body and mind arent able to deal with it; but by adding in stress-relieving activities each day, we can off-set (bail out) our overflowing stress bucket.
REMEMBER … working out and being in a calorie deficit are both contributing to our stress buckets… and while exercise is a very GOOD thing to incorporate into our life, it is still perceived by our body as stress.
THEREFORE, down-regulation activities are important to help OFF-SET the intense lifestyles that we all tend to lead and add little bits of RECOVERY into our daily lives… they ALL add up… trust me!!!
this is a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, and MOVE your body in a LOW intensity manner. Creating time to get in 30 min of walking per day, or 3 x 10min walks around meals, or 10,000 steps per day REALLY adds up to enhancing overall physical and mental health. This can be a great time to catch up with a friend, listen to your favourite podcast, or simply enjoy some silence. An added bonus is that it still contributes to overall calorie expenditure, which is great if we are chasing fat loss goals!
writing down your thoughts is an extremely powerful way to set goals, create awareness on various situations, express gratitude (SO POWERFUL), and “brain-dump” your thoughts… It can be great for setting intention to your day (part of a morning routine), and/or ending your day through reflection and a way to clear your mind before sleep. If journaling intimidates you or you dont know where to begin, I recommend the “Five Minute Journal” as a great starting point; the best part is… it only takes 5 minutes!!!
spending even just 5 min on meditation per day can reduce daily stress, enhance sleep, improve focus, and clear the mind. I love using an app like Headspace to guide me through this process… starting or ending your day this way is extremely powerful. By starting your day with a healthy habit, you start your day IN CONTROL, which sets your day up for success! By ending your day with this habit, you can enhance your onset and quality of sleep by clearing your mind of all the daily clutter
a simple breathing technique that brings your body from a place of stress to a place of calm and focus
1. INHALE – count to 4 as you inhale
2.HOLD your breath for 4 counts
3. EXHALE – count to 4 as you exhale
4.HOLD your breath for 4 counts
This simple technique can be added to your meditation session
Remember, these are just 4 of a long list of relaxation activities you can do to enhance your physical and mental health. The key is choosing a few that you can do regularly to off-set your “stress bucket” and give you some relief from all the stress in your life!