Why relaxation is so important
Posted by Justine Clarabut on 15 April, 2019
“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax” Mark Black
This is such an inspiring yet simple quote! At times, we get so embroiled in our hectic lifestyles with deadlines to meet and work-life pressure that we actually forget to relax! Yet relaxing for just 5 minutes periodically by stepping away from what is causing our stress levels to rise, can give us the energy we need to tackle our workload or problem we are facing.
Stress isn’t all bad! A certain amount of stress is necessary to deal with difficult situations in our everyday lives. Physical changes in our bodies occur enabling us to take action, which fades quickly once the problem encountered has gone. However, if we stay in a state of high stress for too long, it can be damaging to our health.
Stress can affect our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and how we react or behave!
Physical symptoms such as headaches, tension in the neck and shoulders, dizziness, fatigue and poor sleep can all be a result of stress overload. Stress can affect our mental state too as it elevates levels of cortisol; a hormone that affects the function of the brain. This can result in worrying, poor concentration, difficulty in making decisions and uncontrollable thoughts. And to add to the list, emotional symptoms can present as irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. A person in a high state of stress can cause aggressive or defensive behaviour, avoiding situations, poor communication, drinking too much alcohol and smoking. It can exacerbate mood disorders too.
Being over stressed for long periods of time can also cause fatigue. According to mentalhelp.net “Byproducts of stress hormones can act as sedatives (chemical substances which cause us to become calm or fatigued). When such hormone byproducts occur in large amounts (which will happen under conditions of chronic stress), they may contribute to a sustained feeling of low energy or depression”
We are not always able to avoid stress but learning to manage stress is key!
Practicing ‘relaxation’ is paramount to managing stress. When we relax, the flow of blood increases around our body giving us more energy. It helps us to have a calmer and clearer mind which aids positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision making. Relaxation slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension. It also aids digestion as we absorb essential nutrients more efficiently when relaxed, which helps to fight off disease and infection.
Refresh throughout our day!
Not only should we start our day feeling refreshed but we should continue to refresh at various points throughout our day! Schedule in 5 minutes a few times during your day to reduce stress levels and give your energy levels a boost. Here’s a few relaxation techniques that are quick and easy to do:
- Focus on your breathing
- Meditation – you can always use an app to help! We love headspace.com
- Progressive muscle relaxation (tighten and relax your muscles throughout your body),
- Visualisation – imagine a relaxing place and focus on the details.
- Take a gentle walk being mindful of your surroundings, keep your focus on the plants, the trees, the sunshine, the clouds…
Take control by finding a relaxing solution that satisfies you – this in itself is empowering.
It is really important to try to relax at home too. There are many simple inexpensive ways to have a little calm in your life – listen to music, take a walk, read a book, be creative, talk to a friend, exercise, take a hot bath or whatever helps you to release the stress from your mind and body. Read more about stress busters here.
Give your staff the chance to relax!
Mental Health awareness week runs from 13th to 19th May! This is a great chance for you to promote some stress busting techniques within your office! Why not run a Mental Health Workshop for your staff, or Stress Management Training for your management teams.
Further reading and references