Written by Rachel Dong
5 minute read
August 15th is National Relaxation Day, a commemorative holiday for repose and tranquility. This year, it conveniently falls on a Saturday, presenting some amazing free time to really relax, unwind, and recenter your mind. For example, sit down and go through this simple relaxation routine from PsychologyToday, which focuses on calming down the physiological factors that lead to stress and anxiety.
Mentioned above is only one idea; relaxation takes on different forms for everyone. Some look towards mindfulness and breathing exercises, while some relax through binge-watching Netflix or Youtube. However, there is one thing that all forms of relaxation should have in common: Sean Moeller, the founder of National Relaxation Day in 1985 as a fourth-grader, stated that he did not want people to do anything of real value. Therefore, working and cleaning is not relaxing! This serves as a necessary reminder to those workaholics (including me!) who tend to want to fill any free time with doing useful tasks and chores. Remember that the first priority for today is to unwind and restore yourself mentally; cleaning the house can be postponed to another time.
So now that we have an idea of what relaxation isn’t, how about some ideas of what it is? Well, National Relaxation Day is for purely recreational activities, ideally ones that bring you mental peace and repose. Think about what helps to calm down after a stressful work day, whether it’s reading, baking, drinking tea, or listening to music. These are merely some common examples, so make sure to think about what specifically works for you. Whatever activities that come to mind are some examples of things you could engage in this National Relaxation Day.
Aside from the ideas you come up with through self-reflection, there are some general tips we can offer you for optimal relaxation. For one, decreasing your screen time would likely be beneficial. Research shows reducing screen time lessens eyestrain and headaches, while improving focus and productivity. It is especially crucial before bedtime for improving sleep quality. One common manner to celebrate National Relaxation Day is unplugging from devices altogether for the duration of the day, and transferring the time spent using technology to outdoor activity (such as jogging or taking a walk).
Another tip: eating certain foods can help you relax and make you happier! For example, consuming chocolate releases endorphins, which have a pleasuring and positive effect on one’s mood. In fact, research demonstrates that eating a modest 40 grams of dark chocolate a day can help you de-stress. Some other foods that help with relaxation: bananas and citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons! Bananas contain potassium, which help your body regulate blood pressure, and the vitamin C in citrus fruits has been shown to alleviate both physical and psychological effects of stress. Drinking green or chamomile tea is also a great way to unwind, with proven psychological de-stressing effects.
Here are some other common ideas for enhancing relaxation:
- Yoga, meditation, or mindfulness exercises
- Taking a walk (alone, or with family and friends)
- Listening to classical music
- Taking a nap
- Doing a crossword puzzle
- Taking a bath (perhaps with a bath bomb, or scented oils)
- Journal, or doodle
- Take a hike, surrounded by nature
- Get a massage
Remember: as long as the activity is something you enjoy doing, and it isn’t work, it’s perfectly valid to engage in for this National Relaxation Day. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or picturesque, but it should relax and soothe you to the core. After all, National Relaxation Day is dedicated to re-centering yourself, recouping from any stress in your life.
What are your ideas/plans for this August 15th? Share by using the #NationalRelaxationDay hashtag, or simply comment down below!