By Phil-boissiere 1st March

Implementing some basic relaxation techniques into your life can be crucial to managing your stress and quality of life. There was a time when people fought for the right to take a lunch break, not work 14 hours a day, and have weekends off. Have we lost our way? In some respects we may very well have gotten lost. Our ever busy American culture is certainly taking it’s toll on our health and wellbeing. Places like San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Manhattan, and Boston are full of people working at a fevered pace to reach their professional goals.

For better or for worse, one of the most common answers to “How are you?” is quite often “Busy.” Unfortunately, many people tend to put their self-care and time for relaxation on the back burner out of “just not having enough time.” The irony in this type of statement, is that when people don’t take breaks, don’t have any downtime, and don’t recharge, they end up costing themselves far more time due to mistakes and lack of productivity.

Well, good news! With a little creativity and focused attention on stress relief and relaxation, even the busiest people can find time to unwind. Here are a few relaxation techniques you can integrate into your life:

1. Integrate exercise into your commute: Find a way to make exercise part of your daily commute to the office. This may be as lofty as running several miles to work or as small as getting off one train-stop farther away and walking a little extra. Put your sneakers in your bag and do a quick “Clarke Kent” before leaving the office for your walk home.

2. Blame it on the dog: Pets are not only a proven stress reducer and a wonderful companion, they are also a great way to find exercise. Anyone with a dog knows that you must walk them daily in order to keep them healthy, happy, and your home poop free. However, don’t go out and get a dog on a whim, like a gym membership.

3. Snooze: Taking a 10-15 minute nap in your office, car, or break room can rejuvenate the mind and body. The use of “power naps” is long practiced tradition in many cultures.

4. Unplug: Take a break from your technology. Go to lunch, sit in the park, rest your head on your desk, or talk with a friend, but no matter what you do, TURN OFF YOUR TECH! Staying plugged in to Facebook, Reddit, or other online vices will keep your stress level up big time.

5. Meditate: We often think of meditation as a long drawn out process that requires a dark room, burning incense, and soft pillows. It can be those things, but does not need to. You can take a ten minute mindfulness meditation during your lunch break and greatly refresh your mind and soul.

Take your relaxation seriously. Your mind and body will reward you ten fold.

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