As we welcome March, I’m sure the break you took over the holidays seems like it was a long time ago. Everyone is due for a break again, or at least needs to find a way to get some relaxation. It’s normal for business owners to feel stress, in fact, it’s almost a requirement. But stress can get in the way of your best productivity and so every day you should take a few minutes to just relax.
Since there’s never seems to be enough time in the day, here are a few relaxation techniques that will only take a few minutes each.
(Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. This is merely a set of techniques that have worked for other people in the past.)
1. Belly Breathing
Some people call this belly breathing and I like it because it perfectly describes how you want to breathe. According to Scotland’s National Health Information Service, “…taking a few slow, regular breaths can help you control anxious thoughts and feelings, and make you feel calmer.
To belly breathe, place one hand on your chest and your other hand on your stomach. Inhale slowly through your nose and keep an eye on your hands as you do. You want the hand on your stomach to rise and the one on your chest to stay as still as possible. Exhale slowly through your mouth and you should see the hand on your stomach fall and the one on your chest hold still.
Sometimes, belly breathing works best if you’re lying down. Do this ten times, about twice a day.
2. Quick Muscle Relaxation
Another great quick relaxation technique has to do with your muscles. Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Then make a fist and squeeze your hand as tightly as you can. Hold it for a few seconds and then slowly open your fingers. You should feel the tension leaving your body. Similarly, you can tense different muscles in your body and then slowly release the tension for the same result.
3. Three Minute Relaxation Technique
This mini relaxation exercise came from the Harvard Health website.
While sitting, do a quick body scan for tension.
“Relax your facial muscles and allow your jaw to open slightly. Let your shoulders drop and your arms fall to your sides. Allow your hands to loosen so there are spaces between your fingers. Uncross your legs or ankles. Feel your thighs sink into your chair, letting your legs fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves become heavier and your feet grow roots into the floor. Now breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly.”
4. Mini Vacation
If you don’t have time for a full vacation, a mini-vacation will probably do for the moment. Think of a spot where you feel at peace such as the beach during sunrise or out fishing on a lake. Close your eyes and imagine you’re there. What do you see? Hear? Feel? Is there a gentle breeze on your face? Do you hear the gentle lapping of the water? Can you feel the warm sun?
5. Longhand Writing
Suffolk University in Boston, MA offered this out of the box idea for students.
“Pick an interesting sentence and write it out in longhand very slowly, making sure that every letter looks just the way you want it to look.”
6. Slow Down
Another good option is to simply slow down. Take the time to relish the moment that you’re in. Listen to what’s happening around you. What can you feel? Smell? Taste? Slow down and enjoy the moment without thinking about anything else than the moment.
WebMD says, “When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.”
When you laugh out loud, you’re forcing your body to lower its cortisol, a hormone that’s linked to your body’s stress. Laughing also increases endorphins in your brain which lightens your mood.
Take a few minutes to watch your favorite comedian or cue up The Daily Show recap and laugh as loudly and long as you want.
8. Rock Out to Mellow Out
If you crank up your favorite karaoke mix and sing along at the top of your lungs. You’re bound to let off some steam and feel better. If you have to worry about staying quiet for the people around you, soothing music can also do the trick. According to WebMD, “Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.”
No matter which you choose, you’re bound to be in a better mood when you’re done.
If you’re the kind of person that finds visualization helpful, then transformations might be the best option for you. The Black Dog Institute in Australia says to think of something like tightly twisted ropes and imagine them untwisting. Another good visualization, think of hard, cold wax and imagine it softening and melting.
10. The Four S’s
Kansas State University says a great way to feel less stressed is to act less stressed. The university suggests following the four S’s: Smile, Slacken, Sag, Smooth.
Smile and make your smile sparkle. Take a deep breath and then let your jaw slacken. Allow your shoulders to sag. Smooth out your forehead.
Hope this blog has given you some ideas on how to relax. For some tips on how to boost your energy, be sure to check out this previous post.
Written by Erika Towne