Relax, just do it

National Relaxation Day is marked every year on August 15th – a day to highlight the need to focus more on taking care of ourselves, by giving ourselves permission to slow down, unwind and recover from the everyday stresses of life as we know it these days. 

Why we need to relax more…

We know that stress is at epidemic levels in the UK and around the world… and there are many reasons for this… as the pressures of life and the many responsibilities we have at work, at home, as parents, as employees, can take its toll. This, combined with the fact that many of the natural antidotes to stress have been largely removed from our lives. Specifically, movement and mindfulness. We no longer need to move “to survive” and our lives are arguably more mindless than ever before, thanks to the constant connection we have with our devices and the distractions that come as a result.

But do we appreciate enough how the impact of this stress, if not managed consistently, and regularly, can build up and have a detrimental effect on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing?

We take a moment here to reflect on what it means to relax – as we know this is different, person to person. Read on to see how we the founders of POINT3 Wellbeing choose to relax, as well as some friends and associates of POINT3, who have also contributed their favourite relaxation tips.

Clarissa Lenherr, Founder of Clarissa Lenherr Nutrition says:

My favourite way to relax is to get outside into nature and listen to my surroundings. Growing up in the countryside, I was surrounded by wildlife and greenery. Now that I live in London, I don’t get into nature as much as I would like to, so when I get the time or opportunity, I like to go to the park or visit my grandparents in the New Forest. Although London has some fantastic parks, I miss having the ability to get out into the grass or woodlands every day. There is nothing like walking through a wood or in your garden, listening to the sounds of the environment and taking those deep breaths to bring you back to what this world is all about – nature and being present in the moment.

Read our interview with Clarissa on how to take your nutrition to the next level here.

Nicky Morgan, co-founder of POINT3 Wellbeing says:

As someone who teaches relaxation benefits and techniques for a living, sharing my own relaxation rituals has been a bit of a wake-up call. Thinking about the times when I genuinely relax – I realise these are few and far between. The time when I do allow myself to totally relax – and thoroughly enjoy the act of relaxation – is when I’m on a long journey – on a plane, or a train – with no ability to do anything other than sit, watch some movies, read a book and, if I fancy, have a glass of something. Because there is no option other than to relax – no (mis-guided) guilt to be felt if I’m not being “productive”.

So, this National Relaxation Day I’m pledging to re-create “cabin conditions” in my lounge on a more regular basis – allowing myself more opportunities to simply relax – safe in the knowledge that this is as an important wellbeing tool as any other. If you need me I’ll be at 30,000 ft 🙂

Anna Kotwinski, co-founder Shine Offline says:

I think that there is no better way to switch off and unwind than in the pages of a good book.  An age old and simple pleasure, books have the transformative power to take you to another time and place both real and imagined. But it has to be real books for me and not on a device. My shelves are groaning with scruffy paperbacks that I’ve picked up in charity shops.  Ideally I’d like to read whilst chin deep in a bubble bath or stretched on a sun lounger with a pina colada, but of course the brilliant thing about a book is you can take it anywhere. 

Read our interview with Anna on how to build a good relationship with your technology here.

Sion Stansfield, co-founder of POINT3 Wellbeing says:

In this hectic world it can be so hard to allow ourselves the time to simply relax and recharge those batteries, or as I like to say, add some matches back into my match box of energy. I’m someone that loves to be constantly on the go, so I certainly don’t find it relaxing to be sitting in front of the latest Netflix series. 

I find time to relax in two ways. I can while-away hours mixing music – a new interest of mine – creating playlists and learning new techniques to improve this skill. And secondly, from friends and family. I find the energy I get from friends and family, whether we are talking food, relationships, wellbeing or sport, is just so impactful at giving me that extra bit of energy. Getting the opportunity to do these things regularly allows me to switch off from other stresses and reload that match box in the process!

Dr Katharina Lederle, Founder of Somnia says:

My favourite way to relax is by lying down and putting my feet up (preferably onto a large exercise ball). That way I combine two sayings “put your feet up” and “in quietness lies your strength”. I spend most of my days sat still writing or standing up delivering workshops, both of which are cognitively demanding and put a lot of strain on my lower back. Lying down, simply doing nothing while listening to the sounds around me and letting different things come in and out of focus without getting caught up in any thoughts or stressful feelings, helps me to relax – and recover my energy.

Sarah Mayo, co-founder of POINT3 Wellbeing says:

I’m a contradiction in many ways, including how I relax. My relaxation comes from both moving and being still. As someone who tries to be active every day, I’m also pretty good at being still. Whether that’s in the bath soaking in epsom salts, or on the beach soaking up the rays. As long as I know I’m being active either side of being still, I indulge in the stillness. Both give me the benefits of relaxation, allowing my mind to calm and refocus in the process. 

And one thing I’ve realised recently is how restorative water is for me – whether that’s the ocean or the river. So, the winning combination for me is to move or be still near water. I often listen to the sound of the waves to help me relax and fall asleep at night. There’s a free app called “Rain” which I listen to most nights. Don’t tell Anna or Dr Kat though, as it does mean I have my phone by my bed and I know that’s not ideal!

Dr Megan Swanson, Founder of Just Breathe Counselling says:

Relaxation for me comes most naturally on a long trail run through rugged mountains. I allow myself to get lost in the scenery, become rooted to the earth; grounded. It’s a greater silence than I’m used to in my day-to-day life. And a silence that is broken by natural things like creeks rushing, twigs snapping, and wind blowing. My brain can’t focus on the daily grind; it has to focus on the next step. And the next. And the one to follow that. This is where my brain communicates with my body most seamlessly; and vice versa. And in those miles; I find my flow, my breath, and truly… relax.

Read our interview with Megan on how to find motivation here.

Kieran Lowe, Founder of Just One Body says:

Relaxation is a phrase we’re all common with. It’s a phrase that is attributed to being on holiday or enjoying the weekend. Relaxation isn’t a guilty pleasure, it’s a key part of everyday life. To let your mind unwind and become more focused, but also to let your body calm down and encourage rest and recovery. All go and no slow makes for an unhappy body, mind and soul. Whether it be listening to music, looking out your office window watching the world go by or reading a good book. These things are just as important for you as anything else. Enjoy your day, everyday!

Read our interview with Kieran on how to move more, pain free here.

Risa Gabrielle, Sleep Therapist says:

My favourite way to rest these days is with Yoga Nidra. Also known as “yogic sleep”,  Yoga Nidra is a deep guided meditation that you listen to while you sit or lie down. Amazingly, 30 mins is equivalent to one hour of sleep! Sometimes people balk at the idea of meditating, but this isn’t like other meditations you might’ve tried before – you don’t have to observe your thoughts or “do” anything. You simply listen and if you drift off to sleep that is okay. You can use it nearly anytime; if you wake up tired, after lunch when you naturally get more sleepy in the afternoon, or in the evening between work and a night out to get an energy boost before heading out. Best of all, you don’t feel groggy like when you wake from a nap. One of my favourites is on Spotify, try the Winter Robinson short practice.

Read our interview with Risa on how to maximise sleep and rest here.

If you’ve read to the bottom of this blog, take a moment now to reflect on how you find relaxation… and ask yourself if you find it often enough to combat your lifestyle? And to butcher the words of Frankie Goes to Hollywood… Relax, just do it!

Be well. Be happy. Be you.