We all know relaxation is important. It improves our productivity. It helps us to be more rational when faced with decisions. It helps us to not lash out at our loved ones. It helps us to have more peace of mind. I could go on and on. I know you’ve heard this once or twice, so I won’t sit here and list all the reasons you should also find time for you, even on the craziest of days. If you do want to read more, there are plenty of great articles that explain the reasons rest is so good for you (and some may even surprise you – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/stress-awareness-day-relaxation-benefits_n_1424820.html)
However, today’s post is about stopping the excuses as to why you don’t take the time to relax. I’ve heard them, and I’ve said them – “I just have too much to do,” “If I stop and take the time out to relax then I’ll never finish (you fill in the blank),”… But research has shown that even 5 minutes of relaxation can decrease stress and tension and help you to be a better YOU!
What can you do in 5 minutes that will actually benefit your mind and body and help you relax? There are so many things- yoga stretches, guided meditation (there’s a tone on YouTube for FREE!), journaling, etc. And you may be thinking, okay, but all of that is “boring”, “I just can’t get into it.”
Remember when I said NO EXCUSES! Here are some ways you can get into the 5 minute relaxation and enjoy your time doing it!
If you have 5 minutes alone –
Dance (like a toddler)
Why like a toddler? Because their dances are carefree. They aren’t thinking about what others thinking about their dance, or if they have the moves right, or do I have my face right? They are just freely letting themselves move the music, however inspired. Letting yourself dance to a song, in the privacy of your own space, can help you shed off all that negativity that you may be thinking about yourself or others and just letting your body move and groove to the music.
Look through old videos and photos
Especially the goofy and funny ones can make you laugh and reduce your stress levels. Either look through a photo album, or save certain pictures in an album on your phone that you can flip through easily when you need that 5 minute de-stress time. Don’t think you have any good ones that will make you laugh, well, check these out – http://www.sethcasteel.com/#!/home
And I dare you not to laugh… 😉
Singing at the top of your lungs
That’s right. Sing as loud as you can with no worry for pitch, tone, or range (I think I just hear Simon Cowell through up in his mouth). Just take a fun song and singing like you are performing your own concert. My favorite is “Baby Got Back”; and yes, I know ALL the words! Hey, not into singing aloud, or maybe you want to do this in your office without scaring everyone away, then do your own version of Lip Sync Karaoke. But beware…you may be so good and get caught up in it that your concert gets extended past the 5 minutes!
Enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea) and a piece of chocolate
It’s all about savoring the time. Taking the time to really taste the chocolate and enjoy the warmth of the coffee flowing through your body can reboost your energy level and allow your body to start working towards a more calm state of mind. But notice I said a piece. Eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, in the right amount studies have shown can lower your stress hormone levels and even give you a boost of energy.
With our partner –
Okay maybe not hugging for a full 5 minutes (awkward), but studies have shown that a good 20 second hug can increase levels of oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) and can help us reconnect with our loved ones and also reduce levels of those pesky stress hormones in our brains (aka – cortisol). Want to learn more about this awesome hormone and what else it does for us, check out this article: http://psychcentral.com/lib/about-oxytocin/
Say “I love you and appreciate you”
Just those words alone, in less than 5 minutes, can turn your day and your partner’s day around. Hearing the words, coming out of a place of real love and affection, without having to be prompted, will show your significant other that you were thinking about them. And doesn’t it feel good to have someone thinking about you?
Slow dance together
Whether you are married, engaged, or just dating, you know you have “a song” with your significant other. You don’t? Then take the time to think about “your song” could be. Play the song, and just dance together. Let your mind take you to the reason that you love this person, and why you are together.
With our kids –
Letting your child play with your hair
OMG! If you haven’t felt the amazing stress relieving effects of having someone play with your hair, then you are missing out. It is awesome! Unless the brush somehow gets tangled up in your hair, then it’s not so awesome. So maybe no brush.
Put on a dance PARTAY
Here’s the dancing again! Music can be very healing while fun at the same time. Movement also helps kids get some energy out, meaning less screaming and stress for them, and more calm time for mommys and daddys. And the kids will love it!
Coloring a picture with your kids
Kids love to color, and now studies have shown that coloring can be relaxing for adults too! I know you’ve seen the adult coloring books that are out everywhere! However, if you don’t feel like putting on your Picasso hat and making a frame-worthy coloring sheet in 5 minutes, just enjoy sitting with your child, the calm that comes over you and him/her, and spending that time together.
Get outside and try to make images from the clouds
Wait, what? Okay, may sound a little weird, I know, but again, the point is to take your mind off what is stressing you to allow your brain to reset. And what better way to reset than to be in nature and be silly. Give it a try and have some fun with it!
Thanks for taking these 5 minutes to relax and enjoy this list! I’m so glad you stopped by. What can you add to the list that is fun way to take 5 minutes to relax? I’d love to hear from you, and I know everyone else would, too!
Remember to follow this post so you don’t miss Part 2 of Making the most of your time –with 15 minutes.