How to Relax Fast

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Who doesn't enjoy a bit of relaxation? As much as relaxation is an enjoyable, pleasurable and sometimes luxurious pursuit, it is a lot more than just an indulgent escape on our days off. Relaxation is critical to our wellbeing and to our impact, and we need to know how to integrate it in the midst of a busy day. Sound idyllic and a bit far fetched? When you pay attention to the impact of stress, you will know why relaxation is an essential life skill that none of us can afford to disregard.

Knowing how to relax fast has become a critical life skill for anyone and everyone that is caught up in the busyness of life. [I suspect that that means All of Us!] The demands on our time and attention have become unprecedented and there are no indications that the pressure we are all feeling is going to ease any time soon. In fact, quite the contrary; as the workforce shrinks further and work demands escalate, and as technology further collapses the divide between work, home and play, we are likely to experience even more pressure over time.

Compounding this, we are caught in the global phenomenon of moving in and out of lockdowns. Each shift into and out of lockdown, and each move to and away from the office is taxing to our sense of certainty and continuity and the impact it is having on our collective nervous systems is stressfully omnipresent.

Make no mistake, tress is more than just an unpleasant and overwhelming feeling. It's the silent killer that is claiming more lives than any other illness globally. According to the UN Labour Agency stress and exhaustion contribute to more than 2.8 million worker deaths per annum and more than 374 million workers experience illness because of work related stress. Many diseases, including the 6 leading causes of death are now known to be caused by or made worse by stress.

Globally, billions are lost to worker absenteeism and upward of 40% of worker attrition relates to stress and burnout issues. This does not factor the costs of error due to worker exhaustion, not the loss of organisational continuity as a result of attrition.

In China and Japan, things are so severe that the words, guolaosi and karoshi has been adopted respectively, to give expression to the phenomenon of death by overwork.

We are not always in a space to orchestrate enormous lifestyle changes to escape our stress. That said, we can implement small shifts that help us to catch our breath and steady ourselves before we are capsized in an avalanche of stress. Just try these relaxation techniques today, and use them whenever you feel that tension coming on.

  1. Have a hot shower - The hot water relaxes your muscles, and the break from more stressful activities helps too.

  2. Play relaxing music - Experiment to see which music relaxes you the most effectively. Then keep your favorite relaxation CD at the office, or wherever you'll need it most.

  3. Go somewhere else - This really helps if the things stressing you out are in the room or associated with it. Why not get out for a little while?

  4. Have a cup of chamomile tea - Chamomile seems to have a calming effect on the nerves, and hot drinks in general can help you relax.

  5. Watch your mind - If you can spot the stressors lurking just below the surface (hunger, worry, a phone call you need to make), you can resolve them and feel more relaxed.

  6. Have a laugh - Of course, you know from experience that this helps you relax, right? Find the guy that knows all the best jokes, or just find something funny in front of you.

  7. Breath deep through your nose - Just close your eyes and pay attention only to your breathing while doing this. Five slow deep breaths is like a mini-meditation.

  8. Take a walk - Walking is one of the best relaxation techniques if you have at least ten minutes to spare. Find a pretty place to walk while you're at it.

  9. Give someone a hug - As long as it's from somebody you don't mind hugging, this really can be very relaxing.

  10. Interrupt your routine - They say that a change is as good as a holiday. The same applies to an interruption in your routine. Stop to talk to that guy sleeping on the bench, or eat lunch on the roof. Anything that breaks you out of your habitual patterns can relieve stress.

  11. Be grateful deliberately - A gratitude practice has a profound impact on our psyche. Always on the lookout for threats, our brains catastrophise our reality even when we are not in any danger and resulting surges of stress hormones have no job to do. As a result, they linger in our bodies and become toxic to our health and wellbeing and compound our brains' preoccupation with threats and danger. By being grateful deliberately, we shift our brains' focus away from the threats and give ourselves a reprieve from the almost unending deluge of stress hormones. Diverting your brain's attention from the threats for just 60 seconds can have a significant impact on your wellbeing and outlook.

  12. Create a self-prioritising routine - It is so easy to get lost in the busyness of the day that we forget to put our proverbial masks on first. If there is something that gives you a boost or that simply takes you away from the internal chaos of stress, put that into your schedule. Make it a daily date with yourself. Do it first.

Over time you can take measures to reduce stress in your life and work and you can cultivate powerful rituals to ensure more alignment and connection in your day-to-day activities. For now, if just the thought of doing the work involved in this stresses you more, you might want to take it slow. The relaxation techniques I've listed above really aren't difficult, so why not try a few, and learn how to relax fast.

My goal is to support professionals who feel as though they are being torn in a million different directions to cultivate the mindset, outlook and behaviours that help them to thrive personally and professionally. By supporting them to establish positive professional and lifestyle strategies, they win more and earn more without it costing them their wellbeing and the people and and lifestyle they love.
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