4 Actions to Take Today to Feel More Relaxed Tomorrow

Do you ever feel like the days and weeks just blend into each other?

Posted Aug 07, 2012

Frodo practicing his relaxation. By g2boojum.

For example, if you usually come straight home from work, you might instead: go to the yoga class you've always wanted to try but never have, have a dip at your local pool, or swing by your local library.

Doing something fun that's outside of your usual routine will feel like you're having a vacation in the middle of the week, and stop the days and weeks blending into each other.

2. Go somewhere without your phone.

When I suggest this to therapy clients they often say "But what if there's an emergency?"

When people carry their phones everywhere "just in case," it creates a state of hypervigilance, which is stressful and draining. Smartphones can start to feel like the adult version of a child's security blanket.

Of course there are merits to carrying your phone but if you feel nervous when you're separated from it or you have a sense of being attacked by alerts, emails, and messages, try practicing spending some time each day without it.

3. Pack your lunch.

Show yourself the same kindness and care you'd show your child if you were packing their lunch, take something nutritious that you'll look forward to eating.

Not standing in line to buy lunch will free up extra time to enjoy eating your lunch without multitasking it with work.

Get the equipment you need to take your lunch to work successfully e.g., a cooler bag and containers that are the right size for the components you want to take (Tip: buy containers that will stack easily in your bag and fridge rather than bulky containers).

Buy the ingredients you'll need for the week, without over- or under-buying. Snacks and high quality, non-diet food will keep your willpower topped up throughout the day so you'll be less likely to binge and more likely to be able to concentrate and self-regulate your emotions.

4. Have some quiet time with yourself. Spend a few minutes paying attention to your "interoceptive sense."

Interoceptive awareness is the felt sense of the body e.g., the feeling of air on your skin, or the sensations of your body moving as you walk.

You can create your own mini-meditation and do it any way you like. For example, pay attention to the sensations of your breath moving through your body for a few minutes. Or, do "open awareness" and just let interoceptive sensations rise up into your awareness - you might notice the feeling of your feet making contact with a surface they're resting on, and then notice the sensation of air on your arm. The above examples are forms of mindfulness meditation and are very brain-healthy.

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photo credti: Frodo practicing his relaxation. By g2boojum.