Summertime is full of activities: we are outside more, socializing more, traveling more and participating more physical activities. The combination of warm weather, longer days and social events big and small keep us moving from dawn to dusk, and sometimes even later.
Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function. At the opposite end, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.
Learning how to balance your active summer life with rest and relaxation may truly be the key to a healthy lifestyle. Need help? Keep it simple with these 5 simple steps to help you unwind in the summertime.
Just like with doctor visits and other self-care appointments, make relaxation time a priority. Taking this time is especially important when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, even if it’s only a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or 5 minutes of sitting outside, breathing in fresh air. TRY THIS: Schedule your downtime before you schedule the rest of your day. Remember to make it a priority.
Wake Up Earlier
I know that at first glance, this may seem like the opposite of finding more rest, but here me out.
Rather than waking up and immediately jumping into the day at high-speed, or vice-versa when going to bed, follow a routine that allows you time to transition from one part of the day into the next. For example, consider waking up 10 minutes earlier and before turning on the TV, computer or cell phone, take the time to do some simple stretches.
Create a Bedtime Ritual
Light a candle or two by your bed. Turn off the lights. Stretch across your bed, a full body stretch, taking your time, exaggerating your movements. Feel the cool sheets, notice the scent of the candle, enjoy the breeze coming through your window. Moving slowly, open a book of poetry or an uplifting book, and slowly read a few pages. Allow the wisdom and beauty of what you are reading to enter your mind. Put the book aside. Take a minute to concentrate on the candle flame. Blow out the candle, and curl into peaceful sleep.
Create a ritual that truly makes you feel like you.
Tune into to you.
Give Your Mind a Break
Relaxation isn’t only about resting your body: resting your mind is just as important. If you’re constantly worrying or stressing about certain concerns, write it down, put the list aside for a few days and then revisit it. Sometimes when we give our mind a break from certain thoughts, we return with greater clarity. Also, consider participating in an activity that requires your full attention, such as playing a team sport. This type of activity can give you a mental break by requiring you to be fully in the moment both physically and mentally, leaving little time to think about your to-do list.
Below are a few five relaxation techniques that can be practiced any time or place for a quick reset.
Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
Place your hands on your belly and as you breathe in, let it expand like a balloon filling with air.
As you exhale, slowly let all the air out.
You should feel your abdomen rising and falling as you breathe.
Continue this for 5 minutes.
Bringing attention to your breath helps you to focus on just that, letting other cares or worries fall away, at least for 5 minutes.
Try to raise your shoulders up to your ears for 5 seconds, and then let your shoulders drop. One at a time, rotate each shoulder backwards 5 to 10 times, and then rotate them together 5 to 10 times.
Legs Up the Wall is a gentle way to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation and renewal.
Regularly integrating the Legs up the Wall technique into your week can be an easy way to relax and restore your body, mind, and spirit. It feels great after a long day, after traveling, or after spending a lot of time on your feet. Try doing this pose for five minutes or more.
Remedies and Solutions
If you tend to have a difficult time settling into any sort of relaxation technique, below are a few easy and safe solutions that can help you get there. These solutions along with many others, including restorative spa experiences, can be found at THE pearl.
Aromatherapy: 21 Drops takes the guess work out of it with blends like Calm, De-Stress, and Sleep.
Flower Essence Therapy: Using a mist or an internal elixir with flower essence blends like Lotus Wei’s Quiet Mind and Inner Peace help to enhance your mood and create a space that feels conducive to rest.
Acupressure Mat: An acupressure mat can treat your body and calm your mind in just 20 minutes. The Spoonk mat will energize you in the morning and help you unwind in the evening. Regular use will create the desired level of relaxation in your body that prevents the accumulation of stress and tension.
Dark Chocolate: Yes, I said chocolate! Chocolate that's good for your body, mind + spirit. Wei of Chocolate has created chocolate that's delicious, healthy + brings more peace to your day. Did your dream just come true? Organic, Fair trade, Vegan, GMO free, Dairy free, Gluten free, Soy free
Homeopathy: Sprayology’s Sleepease and Stress Relief are ‘go to’ remedies that we enjoy adding to our bedtime ritual.
Sometimes when we’re exhausted, we gravitate toward activities that drain us even more. Or we think we don’t deserve to take a break, so we ignore our body’s whispers for rest. But only in helping ourselves can we help others, take care of our families and continue on with our active summertime lives…but now we’re balanced, rested, restored.