3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health on National Relaxation Day

August 15th is National Relaxation Day, and although it is important to prioritize your mental well-being all year-round, this holiday gives you a great reason to kick back and relax without worrying about life stressors.

Taking care of yourself by making time in your day to de-stress, unwind and relax is time well invested and is imperative for good mental health. Life is full of many responsibilities that demand your attention, but by giving yourself at least five minutes a day to decompress and recharge you can avoid unwanted feelings of anxiety and physical symptoms of being burnt out.

Try the techniques below to ease anxiety, depression and unwanted tension from the stressors in your life and be one step closer to calming your mind and body.

Go outside

Nature is calming and helps reset and restore your mind and body. In fact, researchers have found that going outside for a walk in a natural, green environment allows your brain to enter a meditative state, also known in psychology as “involuntary attention”. This type of attention requires no effort and when you enter this state, you are able to let your mind wander and explore other thoughts, make important decisions, and develop ideas while still enjoying and taking in your natural surroundings.

Taking a walk in nature is restorative, enhances your mood, and allows you to reflect without the distractions and frustrations that accompany busy urban areas and streets. Getting outside and spending time in nature boosts cognitive functioning by conquering mental fatigue, which is great for your mental health and performance at work and in your daily life. Nature walks are not only good for your mental health, but they are also good for your physical health, too!

Create an at-home relaxation nook

Finding a space to relax at home without distractions can be challenging, but it’s important, so choose a room in your home or on a patio and turn that space into your relaxation retreat. Use this space as your getaway when you need alone time to unwind and recharge after a long and stressful day.

When creating this relaxing space, it’s important to consider color theory, since colors impact both our minds and bodies. If you want to soothe anxiety and lower your stress level, avoid loud and vibrant colors. Opt for neutral colored furnishings, like tan or gray, to create a space that evokes plenty of cozy vibes and provides a sophisticated and simple look in a room without becoming too distracting or overwhelming. Drape soft blankets and throw pillows across comfortable recliners and small sofas are perfect for putting your feet up and taking a mental break or a much-needed snooze. For added comfort and style, drape soft blankets and throw pillows over the furniture pieces you choose.

Your relaxation nook can include some of your favorite stress-reducing items like reading materials, crossword puzzles, a record player, or plants. Including plants in your interior relaxation space is smart because not only do they look beautiful, but they also improve air quality. This is important because oxygen quality affects your mental health, so adding plants regulates the air and can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

In order to achieve optimal relaxation and wake up feeling refreshed, choose plants that are powerful in combating stress and anxiety, like lavender or jasmine. Research shows that the scent of lavender not only lowers your stress level, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Plants ability to act as anti-anxiety powerhouses is a natural and effective way to relax and unwind in your home.

Unplug

Living in a digital age has plenty of perks, but it can also become very stressful–especially if you have a very demanding career where you feel pressured and oftentimes expected to be available at all times via email or phone, even after you’ve left the office for the day.

According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), most stress stems from your job and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that 25 percent of people view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Numerous studies performed by AIS show that the main causes of workplace stress are workload, people issues, job security, and juggling work and personal lives.

To relieve some of this work-related stress, try disconnecting from your phone once you’ve left the office. Even if you commit to this for only a short amount of time you will reduce stress levels and be able to refocus your energy, allowing you to become more creative and productive. It’s important to take time away from technology in order to improve your mental health and quality of life. Engage in activities outside of work that provide you with balance and harmony, and force you to unplug outside of the office. Interacting with other people and disconnecting from your phone with reduce stress and anxiety, and inspire you to prioritize your mental health.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash