On August 15th we celebrate National Relaxation Day—a day meant for taking a breath, settling down, and just relaxing. It can be hard to avoid the daily toll our fast-paced lifestyles can take on our body and mind. We often find ourselves spread thin between working, taking care of our households, our children, our social life, or other daily functions necessary for life maintenance. It can often feel that we don’t have enough time left in the day, week, month, or even the year to take time for ourselves! Yet, taking time to relax is necessary.
Relaxation, according to health professionals, slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension (Wellbeing People)(Sioux Health). It also aids digestion as we absorb essential nutrients more efficiently when relaxed, which in turn, helps to fight off disease and infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “almost one-third of American adults have hypertension and although your blood pressure ebbs and flows throughout the day, it can be problematic if it stays high for an extended period of time” (CDC). In order to decrease these health risks, it becomes increasingly more important to mitigate stressors or other ailments that are affecting our lives.
Many of us probably already employ relaxation techniques in our day-to-day lives. We may unwind at the end of the work day with a television program and a pint of ice cream. We might take the long way home and listen to our favorite music. We may even take deep breaths before facing the day or hit the snooze button in the morning one too many times. Although these relaxation techniques fit comfortably into our regular day-to-day; it is also important to schedule a specific day of relaxation whenever possible—this can be a weekend or even a weekday of your choosing. This ensures that our relaxation time isn’t always thinly stretched between our obligations. While those little moments of relaxation are important to our overall well-being, they often get overshadowed by the more pressing matters of the day. That is why it is important to dedicate a day—yes, a whole day—to peace of mind.
What does this look like? Well, for starters, a day of relaxation should be customized to you and your lifestyle. Do you want to wear your pajamas or your favorite sweatshirt all day? Do you want to cook or order for delivery? Do you want to sit on the couch and watch movies or do you want to take your pet for a walk? Do you want to journal or read a book? How you relax is up to you—you decide what method makes you feel the most comfortable and at peace. What’s important is the purposeful time you spend unwinding and decompressing.
Our culture celebrates a fast-paced lifestyle and a continual grind to the finish—this is not always congruent with our wellbeing and happiness. We are all in need of meaningful relaxation time. Etching out a full day of relaxation is important because it prioritizes our mental wellness above all of the stressors of our day-to-day. This invaluable time spent unwinding gives us a new perspective about what is also important in this life: peace, time spent with loved ones, and rest.