It’s true, these days there is a holiday for just about anything. Some of these holidays might even sound like they are made up for the pure enjoyment of those celebrating. Take for example National Donut Day or National Drive-Thru Day, days meant to encourage the eating of donuts or fast food. While these occasions of commemoration are fun, banks and post offices are open and don’t expect the day off from work.
August 15 boasts a legitimate, well-deserved holiday: National Relaxation Day. NationalDayCalendar.com shares, “Sean Moeller founded National Relaxation Day in 1985 as a fourth-grader. In an interview with Valerie Monson in The Des Moines Register Sean suggested people shouldn’t do anything of real value. Cleaning and real work are not part of relaxation.”
While it may seem indulgent to consider an entire day worthy of honoring rest, there are some benefits of taking a day to better understand how building some relaxation into your life could be a major perk.
Benefits of Relaxing
According to the Mayo Clinic, practicing relaxation techniques has benefits such as slowing your heart rate, slowing your breathing rate, lowering your blood pressure, improving digestion, controlling blood sugar levels, reducing the activity of stress hormones, increasing blood flow to major muscles, reducing muscle tension and chronic pain, improving sleep quality, lowering fatigue, improving focus and mood, reducing anger and frustration, and boosting confidence to handle problems.
Most of these benefits won’t be actualized by simply taking one day to relax. However, implementing the following practices into your life could produce the long-term advantages of relaxation. So what can you do to relax?
Suggested Relaxation Activities
Relaxation is anything that makes you feel calm and restored. For immediate relief, some suggest deep breathing, taking a walk outdoors, or stretching out with a good book or favorite television show.
However, for more lasting lifestyle changes that yield more relaxation and less stress, consider incorporating sustainable routines that allow you to manage life’s pressures and tensions. Some ideas include:
- Regularly enjoying your favorite sport or physical activity
- Regularly participating in a volunteer activity that brings fulfillment
- Spending time alone
- Spending time with friends, family,
- Enjoying creative outlets like crafting, baking, or photography
- Spending time outdoors fishing, gardening, or hiking
- Watching movies
- Indulging in a day at the spa, hair or nail salon, or having a massage
As you celebrate National Relaxation Day, consider how you might continue building good relaxation practices into your daily life. Are there changes you need to make at your job to ensure more stress-free days? Are there changes to your environment at home that could promote more relaxation? Upon true reflection and consideration, make needed adjustments in order to fully enjoy the health benefits listed above.
The activity isn’t necessarily as important as the mindset. Today’s world and constant connectivity to cell phones, email, and social media has upped the ante when it comes to people feeling stressed, high-strung, and unable to detach from work or life’s other responsibilities. For some, relaxing seems impossible. For those for whom more serious needs for relaxation are required, speak with your medical professional or mental health provider.