Let's be honest, 2020 hasn't been kind to us. Physically and mentally, we've been pushed to our limits. Sometimes we've thought we might break. Many of us have been faced with unemployment and the extra stress that brings. Many families have had to learn to navigate virtual school as COVID prevented children from being in the classroom. There is the stress associated with simply leaving home for some- the fear of being exposed to the virus.
Whatever combination of factors might be causing stress in your life, it's important to fit in time to relax. We all know stress isn't good for us; we know it can lead to fatigue, aches and pains, weight management concerns, appetite changes, and so much more. Yet, many of us still don't make time to take care of ourselves.
Stress also disrupts our ability to fight illness. As we enter into "cold and flu season" while still struggling with COVID, it's more important than ever to care for ourselves. It can weaken our bodies over time and cause us to be less likely to fight things off, and to recover more slowly.
Why should I even care about relaxation?
Illnesses run rampant this time of year. Rest and relaxation are important for you to keep your immune system healthy and keep illnesses away. When your body is run down and tired, your immune system may not be strong enough to keep seasonal ailments like the common cold and the flu at bay. It is important to make sure you’re at your best so you can stay healthy.
You should also pay attention to your mental health as we head into the holiday season. In even the most festive of families, the holidays can be a stressful time. It is important to decompress and relax so you aren’t stressed out and moody. Everyone wants to end the year on a positive note. Make sure you're taking the time to care for yourself so that you can be fully "there" with your family this holiday season as we wrap up a crazy 2020.
Where do I start?
1. Enjoy some time with your family: Sure, you're all spending A LOT more time together these days. Thanks, lockdown! Why would you want to spend more time with them? Because you need to focus on FUN time together. Time away from virtual classrooms and offices. Take a walk, even if it's just around the neighborhood. Find a socially distanced activity and just get out of the house. You and your family need time outside the four walls of your home.
2. Don't obsess over house chores: I am preaching to the choir here, I'll be honest. "I'm going to mop the kitchen" typically turns into, "I mopped the entire house." While I love having a clean house as much as the next person, it's a little disheartening when I look up and realize that it's now after 3 pm on Saturday, and I've spent my entire day cleaning. Half the weekend is shot, and I didn't spend any time just taking it easy. Break up housework, and if it can wait, let it. Sit outside and enjoy the nice fall weather instead. Your mind and body will thank you.
3. Take time to enjoy a favorite hobby: Do you like to sew? Whip up a quick project. Maybe something pretty to decorate your kitchen. (It's one of my go-to projects.) Are you into gaming? Have you missed some episodes of that show you've been bingeing? Spend a few hours vegging on the couch! Maybe garden therapy would be good, or simply reading a book. Whatever your hobby, spend some time doing it. Focus on it, and leave the stress for another day.
4: Order dinner and have it delivered: Sometimes you just don't feel like cooking. Don't feel guilty- hit up Doordash and have your family's favorite food brought to you. You won't have to spend time preparing, cooking, or cleaning up after a meal. You can enjoy the evening and not worry about a thing. Bonus points: you can also support a small local business that could really use your help right now.
5. Work out or meditate: Whatever form of exercise or meditation you enjoy, spend a while doing it. Run the cares away; stretch the worries out with some yoga, or pound them into oblivion with a punching bag. Not only will exercise take your mind off your stress, but it's also great for your physical well-being. Win, win!
I know how hard it can be to decompress and relax. I struggle with it, too. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to tune the world out for a minute. With so much uncertainty going into the fall/winter months this year, it will be easy to get lost in a sea of worry and "what-ifs." Don't let that take you over. Rest, relax, and keep up with you so you can keep up with the world!
What do you do to relax? Share your favorite stress-easing activities in the comments.