Guest Post on Relaxation
Eat Sleep Relax – Best Stress Relief Ever
This morning many people would have woken up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Automated coffee machines across the western world turn on at 5:45am to be ready for their bleary eyed masters / slaves at 6:30am.
Yesterday, neither my wife nor I got the chance to go to the supermarket. So, last night, we logged in to the supermarket website and ordered online. With a bit of luck, our groceries will arrive between 2pm and 6pm this afternoon.
I need a new phone case because mine is coming apart at the stitching – mainly because it is always ringing, buzzing, beeping, and demanding my attention. So today I will again jump online and find a suitable replacement case. It should arrive in my letterbox in a few days.
It will be delivered by my local postman who no longer delivers letters from friends or relatives. His sole delivery run now appears to be small, brown cardboard boxes with “eBay” or “Amazon” printed on them…or the occasional bill.
Large corporations are cutting costs, cutting staff, making their workers do more with less, spouting rhetoric about “working smarter, not harder”, when what they really mean is the exact opposite.
Long hours at work are now a fact of life.
There are simple online solutions to this time problem – such as online shopping.
There are simple physical solutions to this time problem – such as automated coffee machines.
What these simple solutions do not account for is the tiredness and stress caused by our increasingly busy modern lives.
Here are three stress busters to provide some relief to the modern plague of working harder and not smarter.
Note that I am a musician and a computer nerd. I am not qualified in any medical field whatsoever. However, it is safe to suggest the following three ideas will make you and your body feel approximately a gazillion percent better.
These three ideas are simple, easy to implement and, if applied consistently, will make you feel healthier, happier, stronger, fitter, remove some of your stress and put you more in control of your life.
You are what you eat.
New Year’s resolutions about weight loss come and go. While there are well documented studies about “healthy eating”, if it was easy we’d all be doing it, wouldn’t we ?
Let’s keep this simple.
First and probably most important is to eat more fresh food and less packaged food. Next time you are at the grocery store, grab a bunch of bananas, a few apples, some lettuce, some tomatoes, some carrots and some beans.
Put the fizzy drinks down!!!
Buy some eggs, some rice, some chicken and some fish if the budget allows it. Live on the edge and grab some bacon.
Drink plenty of water.
However, there is a little more to it than just having healthy ingredients. Eating slowly and deliberately is also known to improve your overall health.
Sitting in front of the computer or the TV and inhaling your dinner is NOT good for you.
Excess weight causes stress – physical stress on your body, emotional stress on your mind, and financial stress on your wallet or purse.
Obviously it is easy to say “eat properly” in a generalized way such as this blog post. But, making the effort and eating more of the foods you know are good for you and less of the foods you know are bad for you will help lower your stress levels.
Get more Sleep.
Sleep often. Sleep regularly. Sleep as if you mean it.
It’s not brain science and it certainly isn’t rocket surgery.
The human body needs to sleep approximately 7 hours minimum per night.
Yes, some people need more or less sleep than others, but everyone needs to sleep in order to allow their bodies to rejuvenate and regenerate after the physical and metal stresses of the day.
At bed time, turn the phone, TV, and computer off. If possible, close the curtains and try to lie down somewhere comfortable and quiet…such as a bed.
The routine associated with going to bed – put on your PJs, clean teeth, brush hair, perhaps put on some quiet and calming music, get into bed and snuggle under the sheets – also helps with letting your body know it is time to sleep.
Lack of sleep is also a factor in over-eating. Your body is telling you to “rest and refuel”, but a tired brain gets confused and says, “mmmmm…cookies…”.
A tired brain and body makes bad decisions and is easily irritated, which in turn raises stress levels.
Sometimes, the more tired you are, the harder it is to get to sleep, which in turn adds to the irritation and general grumpiness, which increases feelings or stress, which makes it still harder to go to sleep and thus a vicious cycle begins. Not good!
So, make it a point to try to go to bed consistently and regularly each day. Schedule it into your calendar if you have to. 10:30pm until 6:30am in bed should not be a difficult time period to permanently add into your life, even in this busy world we now live in.
Relax. Chill out. Just stop.
This again is more easily said than done.
Quick! Relax!! You’ve got 3 minutes!!! Relax – NOW!!!!! Oh, the irony.
Relaxation is actually quite simple and easy to do – even if you only have a few minutes.
First, eating well and sleeping properly make relaxing easier.
Second, relaxation can take many forms. It can be a long vacation or holiday, sitting by the pool on a tropical island drinking mocktails with bits of pineapple and strawberries poking out of the glass. It can be having a massage or reading a book, playing a leisurely round of golf, or listening to some calming music while sitting in your favorite comfy chair. It can be dropping the kids off at the Grandparents’ house and going to see a movie with your husband or wife or a friend.
Relaxation can also be as simple as closing your eyes and breathing slowly and deeply, counting backwards from 50 to zero. Hey, if you’re stretched for time, count backwards from 20 to zero.
This simple relaxation technique of slow, deliberate breathing can be done anywhere, at any time – in the bus or train during the morning/evening commute, at lunch time at your desk, standing in line, in a traffic jam, in the shower or bath, or while cooking dinner.
Meditation can also be a great way to take a few minutes to calm down.
Slowing your breathing also has the benefit of slowing your heart. A slower heart beat means less stress.
Interestingly, the human body “tunes in” (pardon the pun) to the sounds around it. If you listen to fast and heavy music, your heart can begin racing, the adrenaline begins pumping and your dancing shoes make you want to get up and boogie.
And the opposite is also true.
Listening to some calming music – such as the beautifully relaxing harp of Steve Rees who was recently featured in an interview, or the many fine musicians at CalmingMusicWeekly.com who specialize in calming their listeners (including Steve!) – can help to slow the heart, calm the mind, and soothe both the body and the soul.
Listening to calming music can help you to sleep.
Calming music and the relaxation it can provide can help you to feel better about and within yourself…which in turn helps you to make clear decisions about eating properly and sleeping regularly and effectively.
And thus a wonderful self-fulfilling cycle begins.
Stress in our modern world is all around us. It is difficult to live with and difficult to get away from.
However, with some simple healthy eating, regular sleep for at least 7 hours a night (and preferably more), combined with some calming music, deliberate relaxation and just a hint of some exercise – a brief walk every day will do the job – you will find that you may begin to be much happier and healthier.
Happy and healthy. Less stress. How good does that sound?
About the Author:
Matthew Harding is a husband, father, musician and ice cream addict. He loves computers and helping others with their websites. He also enjoys playing and recording relaxing and calming music – not only for his benefit but to help soothe and relax others as well. Visit his website at http://www.CalmingMusicWeekly.com/blog for more relaxation and stress relieving suggestions. Matthew is also a big fan of the calming harp of Steve Rees…