Active Relaxation is a fast-track to stress relief. Instead of the kind of “self-care” that asks you to shut off, shut down, and shut out the world – all things that are anathema to executive women – active relaxation is intentional and purposeful.
Why Busy Women Need to Practice Active Relaxation
When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that prepare your system to fight or flee. Your heart works overtime to pump blood to your extremities and your immune system gets a boost. It’s a great system for fighting immediate threats, but your body isn’t equipped to deal with it long-term.
How to Practice Active Relaxation
Chronic stress causes your brain to release too many of these hormones. You become more susceptible to all sorts of mental and physical discomfort, from upset stomach to fatigue and exhaustion to depression. If you don’t break the cycle by scheduling relaxation time into your day, you can suffer serious long-term effects.
Many busy women find it hard to start an Active Relaxation practice, so here are some suggestions to get you going.
Meditation is a great Active Relaxation technique because it shifts your system out of fight-or-flight mode, breaking the cycle of stress. Your blood pressure drops, your heart rate and breathing slow down, and your immune system functions more effectively.
There are many different forms of meditation, from the traditional sitting practice to the more active walking meditation, so experiment and find the one that works for you. If you need help, there are lots of apps to guide you.
2. Yin/Candlelight Yoga
Yin yoga is a relaxing practice that focuses on loosening the connective tissue to promote healing, relaxation, and flexibility. It serves to balance more active “yang” practices and overall active lifestyles.
Some yin yoga classes, especially those held at night, take place by candlelight so that they enhance the relaxation experience, slow you down, and help you sleep.
3. Walking in Mother Nature
If you’re one of those women on the go who feels better moving than sitting still, try a nature walk. Research shows that just 20 minutes of sitting or a relaxed walk in a natural setting can significantly lower your stress hormone levels and help you feel more peaceful.
Note that the research says sit or walk. Resist the urge to jog!
4. Epsom Salt baths
Used for hundreds of years to support good health, Epsom salts can relieve stress and anxiety when added to bathwater. An Epsom salt soak can also soften the skin, relieve muscle soreness, and restore magnesium balance so you sleep better.
5. Read for 20 to 30 minutes a day
Reading for enjoyment is proven to be one of the most effective ways of relaxing. After just six minutes, it reduces stress by up to 68 percent. Keep going and you can slow your heart rate, relax your muscles, and sleep better. Reading has even been shown to help prevent headaches.
This is your digital detox time, so put down the Kindle and pick up an actual book. Feel it in your hands and enjoy the experience of turning the pages.
Epic Self Care is possible
There’s plenty here to get you started, but you don’t have to stop with these. What matters is that you find something to slow you down, keep you healthy, and remind you what it feels like to be peaceful.
If you are one of those women who are on the go more often than not, learn how to implement self-care rituals that stick by joining my Epic Self-Care program today.
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