Relaxation is defined as “the state of being free from tension or anxiety” and is synonymous with “calm” or “tranquility.” Annually on August 15, National Relaxation Day advocates finding balance through meditation and other stress-relieving techniques. This year, Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) School Climate and Culture Specialist Cierra Nickerson provides some guidance to help you relax a little every day.
Meditation and breathing
Meditation is an age-old consciousness-changing technique. It can take on different forms, but the most common today is focused or mindful meditation, which centers on remaining in the present moment rather than thinking of the future or past. Mediation can be led in silence, though most people find it easier to zero in on something auditory, such as a metronome or recording of waves, or constant, such as one’s breathing. Box breathing, or the lengthening of the in-breath, out-breath, and pauses in between, is commonly used in meditation and stress-management practices.
Creating a soothing space at home or in the office can help alleviate tension during and after work or school. Just a few simple additions will set the atmosphere, including aromatherapy diffusers, calming music, soft or warm lighting, pillows, and blankets.
What helps you
While there are widely used strategies to manage stress, everyone is different. Some may relax while reading a book, while others feel more centered after exercise. Nickerson emphasizes the importance of keeping an open mind, exploring new activities and techniques, and paying attention to what your body responds to.