For many people, one of their biggest complaints is that they don’t have time to relax, they certainly don’t have time to do any exercise and time to themselves is something of a distant memory. And unfortunately for many working professionals this is far too often the case – where we confuse stress with responsibility and feel horrendously guilty when we do take time for ourselves.
We always seem to be ‘’logged in’’ to work or feeding into our frenetic lifestyle pace and rarely allow ourselves to ‘’log out’’ for even half an hour, afraid that we are not taking care of our responsibilities. When in fact, when we have a balanced and healthy life, taking care to give ourselves time to switch off, slow down and touch sides, we function much better at work and are able to handle our stress levels much easier without taking any of the negativity from the office home with us after a long day.
And if you are busy, you are right, you don’t have time to relax, walk the dog, go for a run or to hit the gym – but successful people know that is why you schedule time and make time for yourself to log out. Here are relaxation techniques for busy women.
1. Deep Breathing
We don’t realize that when we are stressed, we are not getting enough oxygen, not breathing properly and only functioning using partial brain and body energy. Take the time to boost your body and your brain, whether you are sitting in traffic or at your desk or standing at the queue in the bank. Breathe in deeply through your nose and slowly out through your mouth at least 5 times. You will be amazed at just how quickly you start feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. If you are at your desk and can stand up and let the blood flow, then even better.
2. Listening to Classical Music
The benefits of listening to classical music have long been documented, and when you are feeling the pressure there is nothing better to play in the background to get your mood to settle, for you to change gears and get back on track. Many people play classical music softly in the background while they are working as it helps them to focus and concentrate and keep their mood and stress levels at an even keel – balanced throughout the day. It is no secret as to why many surgeons play classical music while they are performing surgery – it might be time that you tried it.
3. Get Moving
Exercise is one of the biggest stress relievers, when you get your bloody pumping and your heart rate up, your body explodes with endorphins making you feel great, increasing your energy levels and giving you a boost that will last the rest of the day. If you are firmly planted behind a desk for hours on end, you are going to need to do exercise even more regularly to balance out a sedentary day. And it will help to boost your mood and help you relax, bringing a much needed balance to a busy, hectic life. Try and get up at lunchtime at the very least and go outside, breathe in some fresh air and take a brisk walk to get the blood flowing again. It would be even better if you could hit the gym or a Pilate’s class, but even just taking the stairs a couple of times will do.
When we are stressed and busy, our minds become overloaded with so many things that we have to think about: What is happening now, what happened 5 minutes ago and how we are going to manage what happens next and later. The only way to get yourself off that insane mental treadmill is to stop, breathe and clear your mind, like you would clear a cluttered desk, because you will only lose much needed focus if you don’t pause for a few minutes. If you are in your office, close the door if you can and take at least 10 minutes for meditation, clearing your mind from every single thought before you go on again.
Yoga is a practice that has been celebrated for thousands of years and is the perfect combination of breathing, mediation and connection between body and mind to help you find a balance and relax. Even if you cannot get to a class, you can take 15 minutes out of your day to quiet your mind and focus on your body, breathing properly and engaging your muscles for an all-round relaxing and rejuvenating break from a busy day.
6. Meet Friends
Our friends have the ability to really provide us with a distraction, some perspective and some support and when you are feeling overwhelmed, a quick coffee with a friend will do you good. Meet up with friends after work for a glass of wine or a run. Why not get the kids together on their bikes and head out to the park. Just take the time to touch base with a friend – it is as much time for yourself as it is being alone.
7. Go for a Walk
Head out around your neighborhood for a brisk walk around the block. Let the smells of the flowers, freshly cut grass, rain, soil and trees fill your senses. Listen to the birds, let the colors of nature fill your soul and remind yourself about how blessed you really are. Being grateful for the things we have rather than focusing on those that we don’t will keep your stress levels at bay and keep you happier.
Swimming is one of the most relaxing forms of exercise there is, it doesn’t put any impact on your joints and no matter what injuries or excuses you have, you can still get in the water. If you are really feeling lazy-and that is allowed, park off on an air bed and float around the pool or a swimming hole and just listen to the sounds of the water and the wild life around you. Don’t fall asleep in the sun and wear a hat and sun block otherwise your relaxing swim or veg out session in the water will cause you more stress when you end up being burnt to a crisp.
9. Candlelit Bath
Although it is not always possible to be able to escape from a busy household, when you have the chance, draw a bath, sprinkle some bath salts in, light some candles and sink into a luxurious bath and let all your worries and stress slip away. Spoiling yourself and putting on a face mask or reading a magazine or book in the bath, or enjoying a good glass of wine will be able to put you back on track and give you the breathing space that you so desperately need. Wait until the kids have gone to bed otherwise you will be constantly interrupted and that will not do.
10. Get into the Garden
Gardening is one of the most relaxing hobbies to have and as many avid gardeners will tell you, there is nothing more rewarding or relaxing than heading out to your garden early in the morning to plant flowers and work in the soil. Getting immersed into nature, feeling the rich soil between your fingers and seeing the bright colors of flowers and the rich textures of a freshly worked garden are just as good for your soul as a relaxing massage. There’s the joy of being able to sit in the garden with a nice glass of wine later, while the sprinklers are on watering your little patch of joy.
11. Technology Free
Have a technology free day, switch off your cell phones, kindle, computers, notebooks, hand held devices, iPods, iPads, TV’s, home phones –everything. Just curl up on the couch with a book, get the kids to do a puzzle, play cards or draw and get back to a simple life that we used to have before social media, satellite TVs, computer games and a digital lifestyle took over. We don’t realize that the constant background noise, constant interference from notifications on our phones, computers, emails coming through and social media updates does to our psyche. A technology free day or two will be the reboot that our systems need.