in our work-driven cul­ture, we per­ceive re­lax­ation as non­pro­duc­tive-it of­ten be­comes are ward for get­ting stuff done. Trou­ble is, the tasks are never-end­ing. add ina jam-packed sched­ule and it’ s no won­der leisure time morphs into ch ore time.


Re­search shows that reg­u­lar heart de-stress­ingdis­ease and can obe­sity,help war­dact as offa buf­fer against de­pres­sion, and even boost im­mu­nity against colds. Plus, when you’re calm, you per­form tasks smarter and more ef­fi­ciently, leav­ing you with time to-wait for itre­lax. Check out these strate­gies and in­spi­ra­tion for R in R: re­lax­ing in real­ity.

1. First, re­lax your body It’s hard to sink into a state of zen if you’re one big ball of knots. “When you live a life full of de­mands, your body reg­u­larly re­leases adren­a­line and cor­ti­sol, in­creas­ing en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture that can re­sult in mus­cle ten­sion. Try pro­gres­sive mus­cle re­lax­ation: Tense the mus­cles in your toes for at least five sec­onds, re­lax for 30, and re­peat, work­ing your way through the mus­cle groups up to your neck and head. 2. Down­shift dur­ing your com­mute Do you take pub­lic trans­porta­tion home? Re­sist the siren call of email and try a med­i­ta­tion app. Call a friend or loved one, lis­ten to mu­sic or of your nor­mal train of thought should help. 3. log off so­cial han­dles The more of­ten peo­ple check so­cial me­dia ac­counts, texts, and email, the higher their level of stress. Women are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to stress from so­cial me­dia due to be­ing aware of lousy stuff hap­pen­ing to friends. 4. tame your taskmaker An urge to con­tin­u­ally tidy up the house or yard may be a re­sponse to chaos all around you. One sane way to tame that life-is-outof-con­trol feel­ing: Quit scat­ter­ing tasks among your cal­en­dar, notepads, emails, sticky notes, and me­mory. De­cide on a sin­gle, re­li­able sys­tem, and it will help turn off the ticker tape of to-dos in your brain. 5. ask your­self this. When peo­ple as­sume that if they don’t get to their to-dos, their world will fall apart, that needs to be ques­tioned. Rea­son with your­self: What’s the worst that will hap­pen if you don’t de­clut­ter tonight? Five years from now, will you be hap­pier that you ex­ca­vated the closet or that you had cof­fee with a friend? Ex­actly. 6. Make a joy list. Even when free time falls into your lap, you may have no clue what to do with it. Think about what truly mel­lows you out, then make a list on pa­per or in your phone. We of­ten get stuck dur­ing leisure time be­cause we try to choose the ex­act per­fect thing to do-so if one thing on your list doesn’t ap­peal, pick some­thing else! 7. Not ex­er­ciseDo the a that’ll sit-and-zen-out­walk­ingget you med­i­ta­ the type? mo­ment Here’s an­dan out of your head: As you stroll, en­gage your senses. Note what you see (build­ings with in­ter­est­ing shapes), what you hear (the rustling of leaves), and what you feel (the breeze on your face). Bonus points if you’re out in na­ture; it’s more likely to de­crease ru­mi­na­tion than be­ing in an ur­ban area. 8. get cre­ative. help you achieve flow, a state in which you’re so mind­fully im­mersed in what you’re do­ing that all else re­cedes into the back­ground. Try your hand at knit­ting or check out one of those ubiq­ui­tous adult colour­ing books-and re­sist the urge to si­mul­ta­ne­ously ‘ZeeWorld’. 9. Won­der and wan­der. As kids, we’d lose our­selves for hours pok­ing around in our back­yards. As adults, we get stuck in rou­tines and miss out on how cap­ti­vat­ing dis­cov­ery can be. Ex­plor­ing is the op­po­site of mak­ing todo lists, where you know ex­actly where things are headed. 10. Don’t give your­self an out. Com­mit to a reg­u­lar en­joy­able ac­tiv­ity, like a monthly ta­ble-ten­nis game or cook­ing class, with your part­ner or friends. You're more likely to fol­low through on a com­mit­ment to some­one else than to your­self. It leaves you nop choice but to re­lax.


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