At some point in time, I believe we all have come to the conclusion that we have no time for relaxation. Which in reality, makes it even more of a stress factor on our bodies. Relaxing is a mindset. I have discovered just how true this is after retirement. I am not looking for sympathy because I did do relaxing events over the years. For me, it just was not a particular mindset. I am sure that it helped me to sign up for Zumba or yoga or even belly dancing. It was for the fun of it. I have learned that it does not need to be organized. Just have some good music on and sway your hips as you are in your room changing. Simple really. (Think of Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister in "Love Actually" just letting the stress leave his body by swaying those hips.)
Doing certain activities for the fun of it is not a bad thing. In my thought processes, I need to be aware of what relaxation means to me. (my own personal definition and we each have to have our own, as it is different for us all). Sunshine helps, even if you enjoy it on a brief walk or while out in your car letting the sun come in and warm you. The afternoon pick-me-up of a cuppa tea or a latte can be a mindset. Find your own.
For the most part relaxation means less stress for me. Stress, as we all know can come in many different forms. Identify yours so that you are aware when it is trying to invade your body, soul and mind.
What I have learned is that relaxing needs to be ongoing. Find what works for you. The number one form of learning about relaxation is focusing on breathing. Breathing can help everyone deal with anxiety and even panic attacks. It is a matter of learning how to inhale slowly, filling your lungs and diaphragm, then letting it out slowly. This is something that you can do at night, during the night, or in bed as you begin your day. You can even sit at your desk at work (at certain times of the day.)
Stretching can go right along with this while you are waking up. One arm over your body and out to the side, alternating sides and legs being lifted up and down. If I had only known how relaxing this was to start my day, I would have been doing it all along. It is worth the extra ten minutes that it takes. Ankle rolls, neck rolls and shoulder rolls can be done as you are sitting on the side of the bed. What a wonderful way to wake in the morning! I used to clamor to the coffee pot as soon as my feet hit the ground. Or if my thoughtful husband was already awake, he would bring a cup back for me.
Beginning my day on a great note, is to go through the breathing and stretching, dressing for the day and coming in to my study with coffee and my agenda for the day. The agenda for the day is my positive mantra. I think it or see it, I repeat it and have it within me all day. Something that speaks to me and helps me through the trials and tribulations of my day. By the way, it is my day, yet it is also 'our day!' The love of my life is ready to begin his career in writing and we work it all together. Yet we each must take on our own mantra for the day. (Many times they actually overlap and merge together).
There was an article that I read recently that talked about self massages and even had a video attached on how to go about this. No thank you! If it works for you, then go for it. I will agree that a foot massager will work, just very inconvenient. It is quite heavy to tote the base, filled with water over to a sink. I will agree that it feels great while my feet are in it. The problem is that I can't let go of the clean up afterwards.
One of the last things that helps in relaxation is laughter and smiling. At several times in my career, I noticed that some team members seem to always look unhappy. If someone stopped and talk to them, this was not usually the case. It was the picture that they portrayed by not smiling. Wrinkles had already formed from the frowning. Maybe it was just a habit? I am not a psychologist, just an observer. Laughter is the best medicine and if we all just lightened up, we would feel so much better.
One of my favorite quotes is from Thich Nhat Hanh:
"Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger and that is a very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work."