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Take Time to Relax...

Take Time to Relax...

This month, we’re concentrating on “The Three Rs” – Revitalise, Refresh and Relax - and it’s important that you take time out to incorporate the last of these in a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Modern lives tend to be frenetic – full of activity, deadlines, stress and worry – and rest and recuperation are essential in allowing your mind and body to recharge and avoid mental health problems and physical exhaustion. And if you make sure you find time for relaxation, you’ll be more productive in your working life and happier in your social life too. So here are five tips to help you de-stress and relax…

Controlled Breathing
When you’re feeling uptight and tense, take a long, slow breath in through your nose, filling your lower and upper lungs completely, as you count to three, keeping your tongue relaxed behind your teeth. Hold your breath to the count of two. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, making a “whoosh” sound, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach to the count of four. Repeat five times until you feel calmer.

Mindful Walking
Spending time in nature, breathing in the fresh air, can have a positive, rejuvenating effect on the brain, clear it of clutter and restore your sense of focus. On a calm day, get out into the countryside or by the sea and take a solitary walk, wearing comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear. Become aware of your posture, take a few deep breaths and bring your awareness into the present moment. Walk fairly slowly and easily, being aware of the gentle rhythm as your toes and heels make contact with the ground and use all your senses to focus on the beauty, scents, sounds and sensations of your surroundings. It’s all about training yourself to be in the here and now, and mindfulness is now recognised as being at least as effective as medication in treating depression and anxiety and helping you to relax.

Tai Chi And Yoga
Tai Chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with gentle, graceful, flowing movements, often performed out of doors. It has been shown not only to improve balance, posture and mobility, but also to reduce stress. Taiwanese scientists are now claiming that tai chi has many health benefits, is an ideal way to slow down and the perfect antidote to the frantic pace set by a digital age.

yoga-and-deep-breathing-for relaxation

Another ancient form of exercise, yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost both your physical and mental wellbeing, encouraging the mind into a clear and calm space. Some of the restorative yoga poses are believed to relax the mind and body, easing mild depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Getting outside and getting your hands dirty, growing beautiful, decorative and edible plants in your garden can be an energetic but relaxing pastime, with numerous health benefits. It is increasingly used therapeutically and as Britain’s favourite gardener, Monty Don, says, "Lots of tests have shown that it's really good to spur you on if you're feeling down, will calm you down if you are feeling agitated and make you feel rested and balanced if your mind is jumbled and all over the place – it's a really good leveller for your mind." Even in winter, getting outside and clearing out the shed, doing some pruning or sweeping the patio will boost your mood and make you feel more relaxed and happy.

Chopping vegetables, mixing and stirring and producing a delicious meal to enjoy with friends and family is a great way to relax. Cooking serves as a creative outlet, and according to a new study, a little creativity can go a long way towards achieving happiness and satisfaction in the bustle of daily life. Rather than picking up a takeaway or pre-packed meal and slumping in front of the TV, take the time to cook something healthy from scratch, incorporating fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are lots of ideas to inspire you on our Food/Recipes blog pages

Of course, there are lots of other ways to relax - swimming, enjoying a hobby, gazing at the night sky, chatting with friends or dozing in a hammock - just make sure that you find time to rest and relax as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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