Do you feel like the minute the alarm goes off, you are going nonstop until your head hits the pillow? I hear this all the time from my patients, and, believe me, there are days that I feel this way as well while trying to juggle all of the things that are important to me (family, patients, self-care, etc.). In our culture, we are programmed not to waste a minute in the day and get as much done as humanly possible. It is good to have a healthy amount of stress, but too much can wreak havoc on our bodies, mind and spirit. We end up feeling drained and are left dreaming of a beach vacation. Why wait for a vacation to relax, when you can start incorporating 3-5 minutes of relaxation into your day right now?!
There are so many different ways to calm the nervous system, so you need to find what works for you. Here are some quick tips that work to calm my mind and body.
- Just breathe. This may sound simple, but we are not taking the time to fully breathe. We are breathing in the same way that we are living…fast. Take full inhalations and exhalations as much as possible because it circulates the blood, which makes us feel more alert and at ease. I love to use Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 Breath technique. I like to do this either in a chair or seated on the floor. Simply inhale for a count of 4, hold the breath for 7 counts, and then exhale for a count of 8. Repeat this cycle 3 or 4 times. I always feel a wave of calmness come over me after I use this technique.
- Get some rays. Get outside and let the sunshine hit your face (even in the winter). I prefer to do this during lunch, but you can do it whenever your schedule allows. You could even do this before going into the grocery store. The important thing is that you stop and still the mind and body. You will also get the added bonus of natural Vitamin D!
- Use lavender oil. Lavendar oil is known for is calming and relaxing properties. Try putting a few drops of oil on your wrists, and rub them together. Bring your wrists to your nose and take a deep breath in. It is amazing how quickly this trick works!
Take some time to experiment with what works for you. You don’t have to go to a yoga class or meditate for 30-minutes to relax your mind and body. Sprinkle a few things, or even one, throughout your day, and notice how you feel. I am guessing you will feel more grounded and less anxious about your never ending to-do list.