How to relax. It’s easier than you think

By Rachel | 16th April 2019
Rachel our yoga teacher, sitting on a yoga mat with a cup of tea and a banana

Your e-mail box is full to bursting, you have a meeting in 5 minutes, then someone just wants a quick word… sometimes it feels like there are never enough minutes, nevermind hours in the day! Whilst a holiday on a beautiful beach may just be the thing to calm your nerves, right now it seems like there isn’t enough time to sit down and eat your lunch, sleep properly or even have a proper bathroom break. If this feels like you, then read on!

Here at La Crisalida we have you in mind. The following nine tips can help you to discover how to relax and feel restful again, right now. It’s easier than you think!

1. The power of saying no

Nurturing and looking after ourselves is an important first step in learning how to relax. Sometimes we feel obliged to take on too many commitments and spread ourselves too thinly. This can give us more to do in a lesser amount of time, which feels like an ever-decreasing circle of time, with less time to relax. At first it can be difficult but learning to say no means we can be productive, look after our wellbeing and have more to time to relax.

Practise saying no to things that you really do not want to do, or things that are not in line with your health and wellbeing. This will leave you with more time to say yes to the things that you really do want to do, including relaxation!

2. Breathe your way into relaxation

Simply taking time out to connect and breathe can calm your nervous system and take it out of fight and flight mode. Try it now!

Sit comfortably in your chair. Feel your body connect with the chair and your feet with the ground. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, allowing your rib cage to expand and your tummy muscles to soften and move with the breath. Every breath you take connects you to your world around you.

Breathing is an important part of our yoga practice (as well as our life!). You can read more about the benefits of breathing in yoga in our article: yoga breathing, the benefits of breath.

The health benefits are numerous and well worth looking into to. What’s more it’s free and easy to do!

3. Time out in mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness can also help you learn how to relax. They can also help you to find a clearer path and focus in your life. There have been numerous studies done on meditation which promote the benefits of this age old method of relaxation and self-realisation. Connecting with yourself internally and grounding yourself to manage your day with ease and calm in an effective way to start your day. There are many great apps available now on mindfulness that you can use at appropriate moments of your day. Allowing you to stay calm despite all else that happens. Find out more about how meditation can help you relax here at La Crisalida.

4. How to relax using your senses

Giving dedicated time to your five senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste can help you relax in 2 or 3 minutes.

All the time we are awake (and even when we are asleep) we are constantly taking in impressions from our five sense organs of the ears, skin, eyes, nose and tongue. It’s important to take time out for these parts of our being too. Find out in more depth how to slow down and take it easy in a natural way by engaging your senses to relax and rejuvenate. Bonus!

5. A massage could be just what you need

Making time for you to relax could mean booking massage time into your diary on a regular basis. Massage is well known for its relaxing effect and there are many different types of massage to choose from, including Indian Head Massage, deep tissue, reflexology and so much more. Whatever treatment you choose it will be an investment into your health and wellbeing.

Learn about the benefits of massage for relaxation from stress, tension and anxiety reduction to fatigue reduction and sleep improvement in our article A New You.

6. Relax by being creative

Everyone is different and will look for different ways of expressing themselves creatively but getting back into the flow is what it is all about.

When you connect with your creativity then you can connect to an authentic part of yourself. Whatever your version of creativity is – dancing, painting, writing or singing – getting creative can bring us and keep us in the present moment, the now.

If you are feeling out of balance and looking for ways of being creative check out our twelve great creative ideas to relax, rejuvenate and find balance.

7. Natural drinks to help you relax and sleep well

Instead of reaching for caffeine fuelled tea, coffee or soft drinks, try swapping them for softer, more supporting options. Sipping green tea can also help you relax but stay balanced even when you are working. It contains naturally occurring caffeine but is also a great source of antioxidants. Teas like peppermint can soothe and aid your digestion
Chamomile tea is a well-known and popular choice for drinking before sleep for a restful night and it may also help reduce anxiety.

A good night’s rest is vital in helping you to de-stress and maintain good health and wellbeing. So, if you do drink caffeinated drinks (including green tea), stop drinking them by mid-afternoon as caffeine can stay in your system for a few hours.

8. Alcohol is not as relaxing as you think

Try to avoid drinking alcohol before you go to sleep. Drinking alcohol late in the evening can initially make us feel tired and you might even drop off into sleep, however that sleep is often short. After drinking you often wake up early, which disrupts your natural sleep cycle.

Alcohol is a sedative and a depressive. Additionally, alcohol directly affects your brain chemistry by changing the levels of neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers that transmit signals through the body that control thought, behaviour and emotion). At first it feels like it is helping you to relax but it can negatively affect your body´s systems.

For more information on how alcohol affects your health and for tips on what to do instead read our recent article here.

9. Food can help you to relax

It’s surprising how many of the foods we use in everyday life can help you calm down and boost your mood. Here are a few ideas to help you.

Smoothies or juices with fruits high in tryptophan (an amino acid that is a precursor for serotonin production, which can help you sleep) such as bananas and cherries can help you relax. Bananas as well as coconut water are also high in magnesium and potassium which aid muscle relaxation. Both are easy to add to any daily smoothie or juice. Our pear and banana smoothie recipe always goes down well and is bursting with flavours and nutrients.

Ever heard of turmeric? Turmeric is a delicious spice from the East that contains curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to help clean the blood, promote brain health and help to relax and heal the digestion. It can be used in cooking but also can be added to smoothies and juices – try our lovely Turmeric Twist carrot juice.

There are lots more other foods that you can include in your diet to support your relaxation. Following a plant-based diet, like we serve at the retreat, fills the body with maximum nutrition and removes the food items that cause extra stress to the body. Some examples of great foods to include in your diet on a regular basis are: almonds, bananas, oats, blueberries (all berries really are fab) and citrus fruits. Combine all of these ingredients together and you have a delightfully simple and relaxing breakfast. Start the day how you mean to go on.

Nutritious dark chocolate can help to stabilise your metabolism and may help regulate the stress hormone cortisol. Just one square (about 1.4 oz) is a treat that is a powerful source of antioxidants called flavinols. Flavinols promote blood flow to the brain, which can help you deal with stressful situations more effectively. Eating small pieces of dark chocolate every now and again can also increase the levels of neurotransmitter serotonin, sometimes known as the “happy hormone”. So, pop your feet up for five minutes and relax.

For more information on how diet and nutrition can bring peace and calm, and for a list of items that cause your body stress, read our earlier article here.

Learn how to relax on retreat

Finally, whatever you chose to do to relax just remember to give yourself time to do it. You will always receive a warm welcome at La Crisalida to detox, destress, relax and rejuvenate if you need to get away from it all. Invest in your health and invest in you…you are so worth it.

Rachel

Rachel is a talented Pilates trainer, who leads workshops, meditation and other activites

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