August 15th is National Relaxation Day

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August is National Wellness Month, and the 15th is National Relaxation Day. For those of us who have found our summer to be more hectic than in years past, this is a date that serves as a reminder that a break and some time to relax are much needed (and probably overdue). Although some stress can be helpful in our personal and professional lives, too much stress can harm you both mentally and physically. Here are some tips to decompress on National Relaxation Day and year-round:

  • Take a break from your phone
    • Disconnecting yourself from social media, checking e-mails, or texting all day long is certainly a challenge, but what better day to try being “unplugged” than National Relaxation Day? At the very least, avoid checking your phone before bedtime. Artificial light from the screen affects melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms, which can negatively impact your sleep.
  • Find something or someone to make you laugh
    • Laughter triggers a release of endorphins, which have proved to create a positive state of mind and boosts optimism, self-confidence, and relaxation.
  • Practice deep breathing
    • Stress has a way of interfering with your breathing. Oftentimes, when we are stressed or anxious, we hold our breath or take much shallower breaths. This causes our body to tense. There are many techniques and apps that can help you to practice deep breathing and increase relaxation.
  • Read
    • This is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to escape daily life. In fact, a 2009 study found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent.
  • Go on a nature walk, or if you are not a fan of the outdoors, buy some house and office plants
    • Spending time outdoors has many positive effects on your mental health and is a great stress reliever. Studies have found that these effects can last for several hours after you have experienced nature’s stress-relieving benefits, allowing you to feel happier, longer. While spending time in nature improves your overall wellbeing, it turns out that even just a little greenery improves your health. Studies have shown that patients in hospital rooms with plants report lower stress. Lush spaces can also reduce your heart rate and help you breathe easier.