Life nowadays can seem very stressful and at times overwhelming for many people. If you want to not only stay on top of the game, but also stay calm, relaxed and healthy, especially during times of high pressure then you need to make sure you are looking after yourself. Below are a few common misconceptions related to relaxing (or not as the case may be!) How many of these traps have you fallen into?!
- It’s selfish to put myself first
Many people believe that looking after themselves means being egotistical, self-centred and basically ignoring the needs of others. But you can’t be of any help to others if you are run ragged, over-worked and stressed. You can help others much more effectively if you are full of energy, relaxed and calm. So take a look at your schedule and make some changes to include things for YOU….a relaxing bath, a manicure, an hour alone to read or meditate. And if it means that your husband has to make dinner for once or the kids have to do a few extra chores then so be it. You deserve time alone. Not only will it make you feel happier but you’ll notice your health improve too!
- I can’t relax because I have too much to do
Do you sit down to relax and immediately start thinking of all the chores that you need to do and all the people who need your help, only to convince yourself that you don’t have time to relax after all? It doesn’t need to be that way. Before you start your relaxing activity make a list of everything that you need to do afterwards. Put your list in a safe place and put it out of your mind. It will still be there in an hour. If you catch yourself having thoughts like ‘I’m too busy for this,’ change your thought to ‘I have enough time to relax.’ Thoughts play a major part in how well you relax. Take control of your thoughts and take control of your life.
- Relaxing doesn’t need to be a priority in my life
Relaxing should be a high priority in your life. Without it stress levels rise and lead to illnesses such as heart problems, high blood pressure, depression and even death. Research shows that people who are more relaxed have reduced muscle tension, increased blood flow to major muscles, a slower breathing rate and a decreased demand for oxygen. In addition, they respond better when faced with stressful situations without the need for negative emotional reactions such as anger. They also have greater energy reserves, better immunity to illness and improved concentration.
- I don’t know how to relax
Some people have been doing the same stressful routine for so long that they’ve actually forgotten how to relax. Don’t worry! It doesn’t need to be complicated and can often mean just doing something that you enjoy, whether it’s gardening, playing the guitar or sitting and stroking your cat. Exercise is also a great way of relaxing because it releases endorphins in the brain (the feel good hormones), pours toxins out of your body via sweat and keeps you in good shape. Choose a sport or fitness activity that you enjoy and make time to do it at least once a week. Other effective methods of relaxing include yoga, tai-chi, walking in nature, listening to music and meditating. Don’t be scared to try something new, it may just be the change you need to improve your life right now!