Are you ready to relax?
National Relaxation Day is August 15.
Yep, that’s an actual day. Even better, this year it falls on a Saturday. That makes it the perfect opportunity to indulge in some self-care and unwind time.
In this day and age, we all really have to be mindful of taking time to care for our mind, body, and spirit. Too much stress doesn’t do the body any good; it can cause headaches, gut health issues, raise your blood pressure, and more. Given that depression, anxiety, and stress are at an all-time high thanks to the pandemic, there’s no better time than now to focus on relaxing.
Below, you’ll find relaxation ideas that are backed by science to help you shake off the stress.
Ready to relax to the max? Try out these ideas for National Relaxation Day.
1. Walk Around Nature
No need for a chill pill when you can just pop on outside and immediately improve your mental headspace. Whether you want to reset your mind or need a break from being cooped up inside, heading outdoors may be just the relaxation technique you need.
Enjoy nature by:
- Journaling in a park
- Walking alone in silence
- Listening to nature sounds
- Taking a hike on a favorite trail
- Exploring a local botanical garden
Really need to relax? Head outdoors. Being in nature is a natural way to relax mentally and physically. Research shows spending up to 30 minutes outside daily can minimize stress levels.
2. Read a Good Book
Reading is scientifically proven to relax you! Skip the news channel or gossip websites, though. Anything that’s upsetting or too emotionally-charged can stir up negative emotions that you want to skip over on National Relaxation Day!
A few good reads to consider:
- Eat Pretty Every Day by Jolene Hart
- Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
- You Are Your Choices by Alexandra Stoddard
- The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer by Dan Buettner
If you need a quick fix for stress, reach for your favorite book. In 2009, a University of Sussex study found reading reduces stress by up to 68 percent.
3. Cook a Favorite Meal
Cooking up a favorite meal can bring back blissful memories. Mental health experts are uncovering that the art of cooking can relieve stress and anxiety. It’s a way to fully engage all the senses to soothe the mind.
Some of the best foods to cook for relaxation purposes:
- Dark chocolate
Your gut health is closely tied to your overall health and well-being. Feed your gut well and your mind will benefit when you cook with the best wholesome ingredients.
4. Enjoy Well-Being Ingredients
Certain ingredients found in nature are thought to improve mood, lessen anxiety, and increase feelings of relaxation. These well-being ingredients can be used in a variety of ways from being consumed to being topically applied to the skin.
Here are a few to try:
Vitamin C - This essential vitamin is found in everything from citrus to goji berries and can reduce stress hormones. It’s been known to minimize the physical and psychological effects of stress on people.
- Lavender - Whether you drink it in a tea, enjoy it in lemonade, or even soak in a bath with it, this purple plant will help you unwind. It’s also been known to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, along with insomnia.
- Turmeric - This incredible root can help those struggling with mood disorders thanks to its main active ingredient, curcumin. Studies show it can help those suffering from anxiety by reducing inflammation throughout the body.
Epsom salts can also be used orally or in a warm bath (see below!) to help increase feelings of well-being. Magnesium — an essential mineral — is a key component of Epsom salt responsible for relaxing the body.
5. Take a Warm Bath
Is there anything better than lowering yourself into a nice warm bath? Not only is it great for your body, but it can also help you unwind mentally, too. If you happen to be in an area that’s prone to water shortages, you can do your part by indulging in a bath routine on just this day!
Heat therapy can:
- Relaxes stiff joints
- Reduces blood pressure
- Increases vascular function
- Improves your sleep quality
Heat gets your blood moving, which helps improve circulation and can relax and relieve sore or tight muscles. If your body is too tense, a bath — or even a sauna or other heat therapy — can help you loosen up tense muscles to fully relax.
6. Listen to New Age or Spa-Like Music
Slow the mind and body down by listening to calming music. Anything with a familiar melody can be comforting. New Age music and spa-like tunes are popular.
Some other genres you may find soothing:
You know what you love when it comes to music, so search your playlist to find what music brings you a sense of calm and peace. If you enjoy time outdoors, you may even find the quietness of nature is enough for you!
7. Drink a Cup of Green Tea
Green tea has long been hailed for its health benefits. That’s because it contains theanine, which is thought to reduce stress and promote relaxation. The ritual of tea time can also be soothing, too.
Green tea may also:
- Improve sleep
- Increase blood flow
- Provide rich antioxidants
Tea time, anyone?
8. Release Your Body Tension
Too much anxiety or stress can result in muscle tension. If your shoulders feel like they’re constantly up to your ears, try to shrug the stress away in a physical way. Not only does it improve blood flow, but it also helps you to recenter yourself and your thoughts.
A variety of ways to do it:
- Gentle yoga
- Rolling muscles on a tennis ball
- Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Focus on how you can get into your body's natural relaxation response. Make it a habit to scan your body for tension. You can start by doing it today and develop a body tension release method and practice that works best for you.
9. Skip Screen Time
This might be a bit of a challenge. Go the whole day without your phone, laptop, or television being turned on! It may feel like anything but relaxing, yet studies show that cutting screen time can minimize stress.
Less screen time means:
- Fewer distractions
- Better sleep quality
- More options for in-person connections
Going screen-free for the day is not only good for your eyes, it’s great for your mental health. When you can reduce your time down the scrolling rabbit hole, it allows you to focus on other meaningful moments instead. This alone can boost your mood and help you to relax.
10. Enjoy a Power Nap
Rest and recharge your batteries with a cat nap. Whether you opt to snooze in a hammock or cozy up in your bed, you can benefit from an afternoon nap. The perfect time to benefit from a nap? Between the hours of 1 to 3 p.m., according to Sleep.org.
The best length of times to snooze:
20 minutes - This is enough time to get your body into stage two sleep, which can improve attention spans and motor skills.
- One hour to 90 minutes - Need a little more of a booster? Opt for up to 90 minutes instead to enhance your creative problem-solving abilities.
Best of all, napping is an excellent way to give you an energy lift to enjoy the rest of your day dedicated to relaxing!
11. Use Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a powerful way to de-stress. Studies show it has the power to change brain waves and behavior. Lavender, in particular, is a favorite scent that can immediately bring about feelings of relaxation. You can light a candle, diffuse essential oils, and even use natural lotions to induce a sense of calm.
Which scents are best for a sense of calm?
- Clary sage
- Bergamot orange
What are your favorite scents? Is there one in particular that brings you back to a favorite memory or place? Think about which ones you love most and infuse your home with those scents through National Relaxation Day and beyond!
Take Advantage of National Relaxation Day!
Now that you’ve got a full list of ideas, pick one or two to enjoy on National Relaxation Day!
Even if you’re not used to relaxing, now is a good time to try it.
Since this glorious day falls on a Saturday, you can kick-off your weekend with a little unwind time. Doing so will help you feel mentally and physically restored if you take the time to do things you really love that happen to be relaxing.
Take the time to slow down. It clears the mind and will give you more energy, too. It’s necessary for your health in more ways than one. Take advantage and seize the day this upcoming August 15.
Now, go pencil in unwind time and really relax!
What do you plan to do for National Relaxation Day? Fill us in on your big plans below!