Updated: May 14, 2019
Take a breath...
When the world seems too heavy to bear, escape to nature for a little while and take some deep relaxing breaths. Remember that you are working to live and not the reverse.
It may seem silly but I find that the more intense the mental work, the less connected with my body I seem to be. Remembering to #1 Take a Breath is very important. It reminds you that your body is not a machine. Internal chuckle here. I am very guilty as my students will attest.
What can be done in our busy lives?
Even looking at photos of nature can be relaxing for me. I would suggest that you find something peaceful and relaxing for you that you can keep near your work station to help remind you of fun or peaceful times. For item #2, Go for a walk outside. I know this may sound a bit boring to some and it may be, however, when you walk with intentionality and listen to everything, it is amazing what you can hear. Since I have a German Shepherd who loves to protect our yard, I have developed a keen sense of hearing for dogs barking six or seven houses away from ours. When I take Mari, my Shepherd, for walks, I hear birds singing, the wind blowing, and different car sounds. All of this distracts from the worries I had at my desk.
As I walk, clouds form overhead and this gives rise to dreaming for me and thoughts of the next great vacation. #3: Dream of a vacation. This vacation may happen or it may not. The exercise of imagining it is exciting and relaxing all the way around. Where would you go? How would you get there? How long would you stay? #4 for me: Spend time with children and laugh. It is difficult for me to stay worried and down when I am around young kids who are busy exploring the world and find any and everything exciting. Grand kids are the best for this. Nieces and nephews work well in this capacity too. If kids aren't your bag, spend time with people you enjoy. #5 Spend time doing your favorite hobby whether it is gardening, sewing, dancing, reading, cooking, or hiking. Do what makes your heart smile as a gift to yourself even for a short while. Time flies when you spend time doing what you love.
I thought that it would be so easy to write 10 easy ways to relax. Somehow, ending with ways to make your heart smile seems appropriate. When your heart smiles, I believe the universe smiles back. So #breathe, #walk, #laugh, #hobby and #heartsmile.