Stress is practically a way of life in the West. We work long hours while maintaining family and friends and rarely find time to relax. However, relaxation is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle. Our minds need time to slow down and take a break from our crazy schedules in order to continue functioning efficiently. Simply getting enough sleep, while important, is not enough. Though it can be hard to find time for relaxation, here are a few quick stress-reducing activities that you can do both at home and on the go.
1. Crafting and Gifting
Learning a new craft or hobby is a perfect way to spend time relaxing. With your mind focused on the task at hand, it’s much harder to keep all your other worries in mind. Some ideal on the go crafts can include knitting, crocheting, doodling, or coloring.
For even greater enjoyment, use these crafts as a way to make gifts for others. Crochet a pile of hats and hand them out at the local homeless shelter. Knit your mother a bamboo yarn scarf. Draw a cute cartoon for a friend who is having a bad day.
Making someone else happy will, in turn, make us feel even better. What’s more, you may find it easier to excuse yourself from your busy schedule and make time for relaxation if the end goal is a gift for someone else and not just an idle pastime.
2. Meditation and Meditative Exercises
Meditation is an ancient, tried and true stress reduction technique. It focuses the mind on emptiness and serenity, giving you a break from the constant flow of stress and worry. The best on the go method is the traditional idea of meditation: crossed legs, eyes mostly shut, breathing deeply.
This type of meditation can be done in the car, in your office, or at home. Anywhere you have relative quiet for even just a few minutes. Of course, the longer you can meditate, the better, but any time you can spend quieting your mind will be beneficial.
Meditative exercise is good for a scheduled period where you do not have to do anything related to stress. The most common exercises in this category are tai chi and yoga which offer the added benefit of exercise. The endorphins your body produces when exercising are a great way to combat the stress of daily life and, when combined with meditation, are the perfect break you need in your day.
3. Socializing with Positive Friends and Family
As social beings, we need to have regular, positive interaction with others. Spending time with a person we enjoy can lower stress levels and give us a much-needed break from the usual hectic schedule. However, choosing the right people to spend time with can have a big impact on your mental well-being. A family member may be someone you care about, but if all they do is complain about their problems, they are more likely to add stress than reduce it.
You need to seek a predominantly happy person who isn’t draining to be around. Even if all you can do is text or call that person when you’re feeling stressed, you will notice that you’re able to have a more positive outlook simply because you have someone you trust with whom to get things off your chest.
Reducing stress is a topic most of us will do some research on. The way we live in the West is naturally stress-enhancing and limits our knowledge of mental health. Fortunately, we are slowly seeing the error of our ways and are popularizing stress-reducing activities like coloring and yoga. Every individual is different, and the stressors they are most impacted by are unique as well. Find an activity that calms you without breaking the bank. You mind and body will thank you for it.
Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.
Image via Pixabay by the3cats