I was scrolling through my social media feeds and came across a funny post from a friend, who had taken and shared photos of her husband sleeping freely in various places.
She posted photos of him on an airplane, in his recliner and at a fancy dinner in a restaurant.
My response to the posts was “Wow. He really must be relaxed!”
As someone who struggles to relax and rest well, particularly as we begin to transition into the busier fall season of back to school and busier times, I was inspired to learn some ways to find my own inner Zen — regardless of where I am!
While I will probably never be able to just fall asleep at the drop of a hat, I think some of these strategies and simple living techniques can be applied at work, home and in various social settings to create a more relaxing environment!
Find Your Zen: When I am anxious or unable to relax, I crave things that are familiar, that make me feel safe and comforted.
That’s why it’s important to make the space around you as peaceful and calm as possible, even if it’s just your desk or a corner of the room.
If you are at home, try decluttering the space so there are fewer distractions.
If you are on a business trip or even on vacation, try bringing a picture frame from home or even a diffuser of your favorite scent — that familiar site or scent might be just what you need to relax!
When my son had to stay in the hospital for a few days several years ago, we brought his favorite blanket and pillow and even brought a DVD player for him to watch his favorite movie on a loop — it made such a difference for his ability to relax and get some rest.
Warm It Up: Earlier this summer, my family and I had a significant delay during our vacation — spending about seven hours at the airport.
I was already stressed, fairly exhausted and was trying to not worry about when I would be getting home.
I found a beach towel in our carry-on, used it as a blanket to cover up with and to my surprise, actually nodded off for a brief but refreshing catnap.
If you are feeling stressed or restless, find a way to warm your body up a bit — whether that is brewing some decaffeinated tea or coffee, putting on some warm socks or covering up with a throw blanket, warming up your body will actually help calm your nerves and get you into a more relaxed state of mind.
Quiet Your Mind: This can be hard to do when your brain seems to have a million things running through it.
Being overstressed or thinking of too many things at once can keep you from relaxing, resting or focusing on what you need to get done! If you are trying to relax, try meditation.
Meditation is so important for anyone who lives in their own head because it encourages you to sit still without reacting to your thoughts.
Though meditation is difficult in the moment, your head will feel calmer after you’ve done it.
Two free apps that are great options are “Insight Timer” and “10% Happier” (search for them on Apple Store or Google Play). These apps have become an addition to the variety of guided meditations and time options as well as tracker that allows you to chart your progress and earn badges.
If you are not trying to fall asleep, you really cannot beat the stress relief that exercise can provide!
Team Beachbody has some great and affordable on-demand workouts that you can do regardless of the time — from the comfort of your home.
My favorite workout is about 20 minutes so I can fit it into my schedule no matter how much is on my plate that day.
Any intense exercise that challenges you to keep moving can be a great distraction from what’s going on in your head.
Interval sprints or walks, weight-lifting, kickboxing and dance all force you to focus in different ways and get your endorphins (also known as “stress fighters”) working.
If neither meditation or exercise is doing it for you, try creating a hobby corner — whether it is knitting, drawing, journaling or scrapbooking, taking some time to engage in something creative that you enjoy will provide a distraction that you can put away or pick up anytime you need it.
Finding those creative outlets are important parts of finding our overall balance — and knowing you have it to turn to will automatically help your stress levels drop!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)