Do you take time out to relax but still feel tired? How to make the most of your relaxation time!

Are you constantly tired? Does nothing seem to rejuvenate you even though you are taking time out to relax? It happens to all of us! Stay-at-home moms, those of us with 9 to 5 jobs -  even kids nowadays struggle to relax and unwind!

Our jobs have become more demanding and challenging which often causes many of us to work late or take work home. Children are feeling the pressure as well as with their school work and heavy load of social and extracurricular activities. Socialising with friends and family sometimes feels like a chore too because YOU feel so tired of always being busy. This is unfortunately a modern day phenomenon where most of us are running on empty!

Because our minds are so busy and can’t shut down, our bodies are naturally affected. As a result, we always feel exhausted, overwhelmed, uninspired, may even suffer from insomnia, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks, stomach problems, high blood pressure, loss of libido and in more extreme cases, a heart attack or stroke.

In addition to that, constant stress causes a build-up of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin in the system. Elevated levels of stress hormones can cause many problems, one of them being problems sleeping or relaxing – as the body is in a constant state of alert – called ‘flight or fight’, making it difficult to wind down and relax.

We look at the relaxation mistakes you are mistaking and what you can do to rectify them.

1. You are always on your phone

Are you glued to your phone 24/7? Frequently checking your Whatsapp messages, FaceBook newsfeeds, Twitter and Instagram notifications or watching videos? It’s not surprising that you have trouble relaxing and unwinding.

Sometimes you just have to give your brain a time-out from your phone by making a concerted effort to switch it off for a few hours when you’re home from work or over the weekends. Learning to give yourself a break from your phone will help you to actually feel calmer and relaxed. Try it! Promise, it will make a huge difference!
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2. The TV doesn’t get switched off

Do you switch the TV on as soon as you get home? Can’t live without your favourite soapie fix? Have to watch the LiverPool and Arsenal game? Catch up on the latest news?

We may often think watching TV allows us to escape and unwind. However, watching too much TV is not good for the brain and can also be harmful for your health. It affects your concentration and attention and causes unhealthy habits such as eating poorly and becoming sedentary.
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3. Saying YES to every invitation

You don’t have to accept very invitation that comes your way. Life is so busy and you can’t possibly fit in every school event, work function, niece’s birthday party, Sunday brunch with friends or weekend getaway with the girls from gym!

Many of us suffer from FOMO (Fear of missing out) and as tempting as it is to not want miss out, it is actually good for the soul. Take a step back and do nothing!
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4. Filling your mind with worry and negativity

If you’re always worrying and negative about everything, then it’s most likely that you will feel highly strung, pessimistic and unable to feel relaxed. Start changing the way you think and replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. When your mind feels happy, you will feel happy and definitely be able to relax more.

If you are a natural worrier, it may take a little work to change this pattern, as well as doing something about the situations that underlie it – but this is well worth it. Learning how to ‘switch off’  the stressful thoughts will help you to have some peace of mind, which is an essential ingredient in being able to master the art of relaxation!
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What can I do to feel more relaxed?

There are a number of things that YOU can do to relax and feel rejuvenated but the basics remain the same. Try these tried and tested back to basic relaxation tips:

1. Get enough sleep

Make sure that you are getting at least 7 to 8 hours sleep at night. Keep your bedroom dark, comfortable and serene ready for a good night’s rest. If you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep, have a long, relaxing bath, drink chamomile tea and don’t forget to switch off the TV as well as your mobile phone!
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2. Exercise

Include exercise into your daily routine. It doesn’t always have to be a strenuous work out but gentle and exercise is just as good. Go for a walk, slow jog or start doing a regular dance class, pilates or yoga. These are all forms of exercise to help you to de-stress, unwind and feel relaxed. Exercise helps to bring down systemic levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and will allow you to feel more relaxed.
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3. Eat healthily  

Eat balanced meals regularly and incorporate loads of fresh fruit and veggies into your daily diet. Cut out processed and sugary foods and drinks, including drinks containing caffeine (which often alters your mood). Including the right foods into your diet can keep your mood balanced -, you will definitely feel energised and  calmer!
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4. Practice relaxation techniques

Learn to unwind by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditating, tai chi, yoga or visualisation. These techniques will help to reduce stress and anxiety and quiet the mind when you need to relax.
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5. Embrace the silence

Have you ever sat in complete silence and shut out everything? We find it difficult to do that because we are so used to noise and ‘busyness’. Just sit in silence and feel how relaxing and therapeutic it is…do this alone and you’ll find that afterwards you will feel so much calmer, alert and more positive about life in general.
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