5 Ways to Find your Chill on National Relaxation Day
Celebrated on August 15, National Relaxation Day is a great reminder for all of us to slow down and take a break from our fast-paced lives. We work hard and play hard–but we never relax hard … we hardly relax!
Don’t know where to begin? We’ve got five ways to chill out that will not only calm your mind and body but also get you back on track to a more balanced life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation is a simple and fast way to reduce stress. A lot of people think they can’t meditate because their minds are simply too busy. But meditation is a process, not a destination. There are countless blogs, apps and articles that can provide a plethora of different meditations to try. Truth be told, you can practice meditation when you're out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor's office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
For example, mindfulness meditation is based on having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. You start by focusing on what you experience during the meditation, such as the flow of your breath. By doing so, you can observe your thoughts and emotions but without judgment. This simple practice can help you gain a new perspective on stressful situations, reduce negative emotions, increase patience and improve sleep quality. It can also help reduce anxiety, high blood pressure, tension headaches and depression.
Start with just 5 minutes a day and gradually add more time as it’s comfortable. You can also do it for short periods throughout the day.
It’s no surprise that our go-to tunes can be a quick and effective source of relaxation. According to a research study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, “a minimum of 20 min of music listening” can lower stress levels remarkably. Another study concluded that music is highly effective in reducing stress. The research stated, “Results revealed that mere music listening was effective in reducing subjective stress levels. The most profound effects were found when ‘relaxation’ was stated as the reason for music listening, with subsequent decreases in subjective stress levels and lower cortisol concentrations.”
Cathy Benninger, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, suggests, “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece. However, you can also listen to more peppy and upbeat tunes to lift your mood and even sign along. These are undoubtedly the most effective science-backed relaxation techniques that will enable you to relieve stress and anxiety instantly.
3. Paw Power
No surprises here. Through numerous studies, quality time with your pet has been proven to reduce stress and facilitate relaxation. An American Heart Association study showed that by providing companionship and support, pets help manage anxiety and improve social interaction. Pets also help their owners get outside more often, which means more physical activity, fresh air and a better mood.
Pets in the workplace can help reduce stress and improve employee satisfaction. The study even showed that when a dog joined a virtual meeting, group members ranked their teammates higher on trust, cohesion and camaraderie. Additionally, playing with a dog, cat or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
4. Stop and Smell the Oranges
You mean stop and smell the roses, right? No typos here. The use of aromatherapy for healing can be traced back to Ancient Greece, but you may not be aware that oranges and other citrus are conducive to relaxation. Essential oils can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin but also just cutting into citrus and smelling it can have the same effect due to the beneficial compounds. Sweet oranges, for example, contain a chemical called limonene. Sniffing a cut sweet orange can have a cheerful and uplifting impact.
Once your olfactory senses have been sated, eat that orange you just peeled. The vitamin C contained has been shown to reduce stress as well. An added side benefit is that vitamin C has high antioxidant properties, which boosts the immune system. Have an orange in the afternoon for a calming and nourishing snack.
Tea is a great aid to relaxation. According to a nature.com article, researchers have found that drinking tea lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And evidence of long-term health benefits is emerging, too: drinking at least 100 milliliters (about half a cup) of green tea a day seems to lower the risk of developing depression and dementia. A Korean study found that the benefits of drinking green tea on a regular basis is equivalent to 2-1/2 hours of exercise per week.
It may seem a contradiction because many teas have caffeine, but as stated by Andrew Scholey, a psychopharmacologist at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, “Tea is calming, but alerting at the same time.” The mental clarity gained can go a long way to help unravel a chaotic mind which can lower stress and induce relaxation.
In light of these findings, Ember has a special offer to get you started on your celebration of relaxation. With the purchase of any 10 or 14 ounce Ember Mug, you’ll also receive a Qi Tea floral sampler. This tea is derived from organically grown flowers that are high in antioxidants, naturally caffeine-free—and they look as great as they taste.
There are a variety of teas to satisfy any palette. One of our favorites is The Qi Tea which is derived from organically grown flowers that are high in antioxidants, naturally caffeine-free–and look as great as they taste! With the purchase of any 10 or 14 oz Ember Mug², you’ll receive a complimentary Floral Tea Sampler from The Qi.
This offer is available only while supplies last. Don’t stress about missing it–take advantage of the offer now.