Remember summer holidays during school? It used to be a time when you used to relax. Exams were done, the next year was a few weeks away, and the pressure was off.
But ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, even students don’t have this break. The last year has been one long stressful episode, and by the looks of things, it is not going to ease up soon. Even if you took a break recently, chances are you were not really able to relax and unwind.
Our psychologists explain why:
- Relaxation is not just about not working. It should be about addressing causes of stress.
- It is not just about taking a break. It should be about breaking toxic habits.
- It is not just about returning to the grind. It should be about rejuvenating a sense of well-being.
So before you say “COVID-19 be damned, I will book that holiday in the Maldives” or decide to drive 10 hours over a weekend to come back exhausted, learn how to relax, and more importantly, how it can help you.
(Note: Sometimes it feels like you can’t take a break. You feel what you are doing right now is more important than a break. That is exactly when the break becomes more important.) Read on…
TIP 1: Slow down your mind
One of the main causes of stress is not what we do consciously. It is what we do subconsciously. Think. Racing thoughts, pushing ourselves with ideas of what we should achieve in a day, in a week, in a month, and after a while, it all piles up, and we then start trying to play catch up… STOP. Take a deep breath. Count to five. Take another breath. Now put your phone down and do it five more times with your eyes closed.
Don’t worry, this article will be here when you are done.
TIP 2: Relax your body
Stress manifests itself not just mentally, but physically as well. Our muscles tense up, heart rate goes up, BP rises… and toss and turn in our sleep, when it stay tense. It is important to tell your body to relax. You cant do this by reading this article. Get a massage. Take a bath. Slowly comb your hair, Do nothing. Yes, it is hard, but allow yourself to slow down physically. The stress will slowly leave the body.
TIP 3: Go outside. Look far away
Our brains are wired to see patterns, hear patterns, again and again. But if it keeps repeating, it gets exhausting. That is why travelling to another place on holiday can be so rejuvenating. Our brain gets the opportunity to see new patterns. But the funny thing is, you can do without actually going anywhere. Go to the terrace. Watch the sun set and the sky fill with stars. Watch the trees and clouds. These don’t have a pattern. That is why being in nature helps us relax. Put the phone down and go outside now.