5 Ways to Introduce Micro-Relaxation into Your Life
In last weeks posts I talked about reasons to care for your soul. How soul care is one of the most overlooked attributes in our society, yet a practice we desperately need in our daily lives. We want to have our cake and eat it to, by going as fast as we can without suffering the consequences of not resting. When we take the time to care for our soul we bring about peace in our lives, relationships, and opportunities. Ultimately, we are living a more focused and productive life.
The reality is you do not have time for major breaks in your days or weeks for extended times of relaxation. But you can make the time for short micro-relaxations with a little intention. Short breaks in your day to give your body, mind, and soul a rest. I want to show you are some practical and simple steps you can take in your day or week in order to bring about more soul care. This is not a practice which will simply come or magically appear to you. You will have to be intentional about these times of micro-relaxation in order to practice them and give your body, soul, and mind some much needed rest.
1) Just Breathe
The first practice of micro-relaxation is to just breath. Take time during your day to breathe for one minute at a time. Do this at least 5 times a day. It is easy, just set the alarm on your phone, which you have on you at all times. Set it to go off at 5 different times and then set the Countdown alarm for a minute. Use the time to focus on your breath and do nothing else but breath in and exhale slowly.
The benefits of this simple exercise are decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, relaxation of muscles, and a lowering of stress to name a few. You can learn more about the benefits and tools of breathing exercises at Take a Deep Breathe.
2) Schedule Breaks
You are probably very much aware breaks will never naturally happen in your calendar. You will need to be intentional and schedule them. These breaks are a simple hour lunch, where you leave the office and your desk to eat outside. Or find a quiet place to read a book. To the much larger break of intentionally taking your vacation time every year and decompressing for a week or two. Another good practice is to have consistent times to go away for an afternoon or weekend to just breath and relax. Essentially removing yourself from your work or daily grind for the singular purpose of resting your soul.
Breaks are the necessary recharging which needs to happen in your life for your soul. The less you do on these breaks the better you will recharge. If you are the type of person who has to be doing something then find something uplifting and beneficial to do. No work! In the article Health Benefits of Vacation you can see the benefits of breaks are decreased depression, less stress, and improved productivity. All extremely beneficial attributes for the individual who is pursuing their dream for the long haul.
A great micro-relaxation exercise is to unplug! You are so distracted you are not even aware of how many different directions your mind goes in any given moment. A recent study found the “average person swipes, taps and pinches their display about 2,617 times a day, for a grand total of one million times per year.” When you think about texting, Facebook, social media, phone calls, schedules, news posts, and feeds there is always something you can be checking on your phone.
This is why it is important to unplug for a period of time. You can go without your cell phone and email for a specific period of time. And believe it or not people can go without you for a period of time. This exercise will never happen on its own and you are going to have to be uber intentional about creating this space. But it can be extremely beneficial.
In a summer camp we run for youth we take their phones away on the first day. The sheer horror on their faces upon retrieving their phones is palpable. But by the end of the week they have forgotten about their phones. Because they are fully engaged in the activities and relationships. You need to engage in the micro-relaxation exercise of unplugging to give yourself a clearer perspective on life and your pursuits.
4) Master the art of a nap
If you are honest with yourself, you probably don’t get the sleep you need at night. Between stress, overloaded schedules, and aching bones sleep can be elusive at best. This is why mastering the art of the a nap can provide untold benefits. You don’t need a survey or study to tell you the more you are tired the less productive you are. Sleep deprivation effects your leadership, decision making, and cognitive processing. Yet most of us are content to ride it out. You have a desire for more rest but may not know what to do.
A nap could do wonders for your soul. It does not have to be long. A simple 20 minute power-nap can increase productivity and dramatically alter your day. This is not an easy reality for every individual. But if you are affected by a lack of sleep at night then you need to figure out how to get creative with a nap during the day. Creating an effective, well balanced life could depend on you mastering the nap.
5) Refining Micro-Relaxation
One of the last ways, and probably the easiest, is to refine your micro-relaxation time. Be more intentional about what you do during your day to take time to rest. These times are probably activities you are already doing in your day. But you are going to add some more intentionality to them. These are doing fun relaxing activities with friends. Taking the time to relax and have fun with your family, or something as simple as coffee with friends. Any activity which recharges your battery throughout your day.
The point is to not blow through your day like a rhino in a china shop. Everyday attempt to insert some type of micro-relaxtion time. This can be anything which takes you mind away from the stresses or life or work. What you will realize over time is you are becoming more productive because when you do come back to work you are more focused and intentional with your work.
You don’t have to make life crazy or hectic, this process will happen all on its own. But if you don’t want to live life on the crazy train, then add some intentional soul care into your days. It does not have to be dramatic or extravagant. But the results of your taking this intentional time could be life changing.
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