1/25/14

The Art of Unwinding


Relaxation. It's something we all know we need, but seldom make the time to actively do. Given the craziness of our lives, it's important to take time to unwind. Unwinding gives us a chance to sit back, relax, recharge, and find ourselves anew. Taking a moment to relax is not selfish or wasteful. Unwinding is beneficial to our physical well-being, mental self-awareness, sense of fulfillment, and enjoyment of the amazing lives we lead. Learning to unwind is an art form. Find the time you deserve.

Clear your Thoughts
Ever feel like your mind is constantly go, go, go? We all have. Pressing the "refresh" button on our thoughts is something we rarely take the time to do. It is something easier said than done. Luckily, there are great mobile apps like Smiling Mind that make daily meditation a breeze. I started using Smiling Mind about two weeks ago for a daily, five minute meditation session. Those five minutes a day have definitely calmed my mind by bringing some much needed peace and focus to my daily thought processes. Yes, meditating might sound a little hokey (it did to me!). But seriously, try it before you shut it down. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Slow Down
My mom has the nickname "Spring Butt" because she is constantly on the move and her booty is never seated for more than a couple of minutes. As I have grown up, I have slowly but surely inherited this characteristic. I am always on the move to classes, meetings, errands, friend's houses, you name it. Sometimes, it's important to just sit and slow down. When I wake up in the morning, I try to do basic stretch exercises for 3-5 minutes. Starting my day by stretching out my body is the perfect slow start to the morning. It gives me the opportunity to mentally focus on my day's to-do list, and put me in-tune with myself. 99% of the time, being in-tune means the realization: "I need coffee." This is where leisure comes into play.

Let Leisure In
My perfect leisure activity always involves a cup of coffee in my hand. Sometimes I'm on the couch at home with my corgi cuddled up on my lap, and other times it's sitting at the beach surrounded by morning fog. Either way, coffee is my BFF. To effectively unwind, you need to ask yourself what your ideal form of leisure is. Is it watching the Harry Potter movies? Walking into (and sampling) a local chocolate shop? Going for a walk? Making a DIY herbal facial steam? Playing dress-up in your own closet? Pinpoint whatever it is and make it a part of your daily routine. Rediscovering your favorite down-time activities is key for unwinding.

Practice Appreciation
When you have the privilege to unwind, appreciate the moment. If you practice appreciation, your five minutes of meditation, slowing down, or finding your old favorites will be enjoyed tenfold. In other words, appreciation will make the moment seem longer than the time it actually was. Appreciate those moments, and especially yourself, for taking the time to unwind and do something good for you.

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