Busy? Get busy relaxing, too

When you feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends, when it seems like 24 hours just isn’t enough, it’s imperative that you include in your very hectic schedule time to unwind.

For many go-getters, relaxing falls at the bottom of the priority list — it seems like a waste of precious hours and doesn’t yield financial return. Not at first blush, anyway. 

But finding time to relax (putting it in your calendar, if you have to) is so important when you’re burning the midnight oil on the regular. Relaxing gives us the time to breathe, to refocus, and fuels our spirit the way food does our bodies. It doesn’t only benefit us physically, but mentally and emotionally, too — to practice self-care can help provide us with balance and calm, and help improve performance at home and work. 

Here are some ways to make sure you’re including relaxation in your schedule:

Remember to breathe. Many coaches and therapists include breathing techniques in their toolkits. For busy people, the greatest benefit to breathing is that you don’t have to leave where you are or even stop what you’re doing. You can focus on breathing anywhere at any time. It can be done while you’re driving or while you’re in a meeting or even when you take a bathroom break. You don’t even need to know any fancy breathing techniques — you can just inhale slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. 

Learn to say no. Individuals who are people-pleasers hate saying no! If this is you, learn to say no to one thing, even just once a week. To help make this easier, consider that you’re not saying no to other people’s requests — you’re saying yes to you! Giving yourself the gift of time is not a selfish act; it’ll help you be a better friend, a better employee, a better partner, a better communicator, a better person. 

Remember to laugh. Laughter really is, as they say, the best medicine. Laughter lightens your load, eases your stress, and has been found to even potentially extend one’s life. At the very minimum, laughter simply improves it — research shows that laughter can improve the immune system, helps you sleep better, and relieves pain. You can call a funny friend, find a short comedy clip on YouTube, or even think of a humorous memory. 

Fit in a nap. For many, this is definitely a luxury, but if it’s ever possible to fit in a 20-minute catnap, do it! Sometimes, shut-eye is the most effective way to reset. If you struggle to fall asleep during the day, invest in a set of blackout shades or a silk eye mask, turn off all electronic devices, and get a little rest. 

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