After the unpredictable past year we’ve had, everyone needs some rest and relaxation. And there’s no better time than National Relaxation Day to do so!
August 15th is National Relaxation Day, which is the perfect excuse to take a much-needed break from your fast-paced life and your hectic day-to-day schedule. But not only is this day about general relaxation, it’s also a time to help recuperate and rejuvenate your mind and body and just maybe form some new healthy habits that can improve your overall wellness.
To best celebrate this zen holiday, we’re sharing some of our favorite tips to help you unwind.
The Importance of a Rest Day
Before we dive into some of our favorite ways to relax, let’s cover the importance of rest and recovery. Taking some time to unwind is an incredibly important part of maintaining your health. Deep relaxation (letting both your mind and body be completely calm) can help improve your stress levels, anxiety, and overall mood. It has other important health benefits too, like decreasing your blood pressure, heart rate, and even pain.
But how? It’s actually all biological. When you’re relaxed, your body releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. All hormones that can help you feel good.
The importance of rest is also apparent if you exercise regularly. Allowing time for your muscles to recover after a workout is critical for helping your body to become stronger and avoiding the negative effects of overtraining. In fact, many experts agree that rest days are equally as important as exercise days because they also play a part in building strength, endurance, and muscle over time.
And when we recommend that you take a rest day, we don’t mean lounging around on the couch all day (though that’s completely fine if it’s what your body needs!). As you’ll see, there are a lot of low-impact activities and hobbies that you can pick up that will help put your mind at ease and allow your body to recover.
Tips For Helping You Relax & Unwind
This may come as a surprise, but truly relaxing can take practice! Between work, family, kids, and even academics, it’s easy to become conditioned to a hectic lifestyle where you always need to be alert to the things going on around you.
These are some of our favorite tips to help you truly unwind on National Relaxation Day and beyond:
Focus on the Physical First: It’s difficult to really relax when your body is tense. Try an easy progressive muscle relaxation exercise to kick start your zen day. Simply tense the muscles in your toes for at least five seconds, relax for 30, and repeat, working your way through the muscle groups up to your neck and head. You’ll feel the tension melt away from your entire body.
Take Time to Breathe: Then, try a breathing exercise</a that can help calm your body and mind. Sit or lay down in a quiet place and put one hand on your stomach. Breathe in to a slow count of three, and then breathe out to the same slow count of three. You will feel the rise and fall of your breathing and begin to truly relax.
Unplug: Social media can be distracting, and we know just how tempting it can be to answer work emails when you get a notification (even after work hours). Taking a break from these devices can help you unwind and may even improve your productivity and enhance creativity. Giving your mind a break from work and social media can be incredibly refreshing.
Write Things Down: Having a hard time quieting your mind? Take out a piece of paper and a pen and begin writing your thoughts down. Whether it’s your worries, a shopping list, or a new idea, writing it down can get it out of your head and allow your mind to reach a calmer place.
While these are some general things you can do to help relax, there are also activities that can put your body and mind at ease. Try some of these hobbies next time you need to unwind:
- Read a new book
- Take a hot bath
- Try yoga or meditation (you can find a lot of guided videos online)
- Take a slow walk and listen to calming music
- Visit the beach (or really any body of water or nature)
- Paint or try your hand at any craft
- Take a swim (it’s a great low-impact exercise for the summer)
- Cuddle or play with your pet
- Watch your favorite movie or TV show
- Cook or eat your favorite meal (just try to avoid anything too processed that can leave you feeling sluggish)
Don’t feel like doing dishes on National Relaxation Day? We don’t blame you! With Snap Kitchen, you can enjoy your favorite comfort meals, made with fresh ingredients, in an instant. All you have to do is heat up your meal and enjoy! No prep work or clean-up required on this day of rest.
Want to learn more about how to keep your body in it’s best state with relaxation and other healthy habits? Curious about other holidays you can celebrate with Snap? Check out the Snap Kitchen blog for more!