Chill Without Guilt: Unwind On Your Own Time With These Tips

I’m not one to make resolutions when the new year comes around. Instead, I like to set achievable and quantifiable goals for myself. This year, I just want to slow down a bit.

You get it: the incessant buzz of work, then there’s the angel on your shoulder begging you to work out after an eight-hour workday, not to mention the necessary chores like grocery shopping and laundry. It’s hard to relax when it feels like there’s always something to do.

So one of my goals is to say no to more events and yes to more me time. I don’t need to attend every event, check off my entire to-do list, or do anything at all. If I don’t want to go out one weekend, I don’t have to.

I’m also doing three self-care events a month—whether that be a spa night at home, a manicure, or a massage. If I'm feeling sick, I’ll take the day off work and spend the day in bed watching Netflix and ordering delivery.

So, if you want to know how I’m feeling less guilty about just relaxing…Here’s how I got here.

Why Do I Feel Guilty For Taking A Day Off?

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You may feel this way because you’re inherently a people pleaser. You don’t feel comfortable resting because you always want to work towards making others happy. You feel like a failure if you’re not doing something.

But doing nothing and taking much-needed rest is doing something. It’s investing in yourself. If you exercise frequently, you know that rest is essential for recovering your muscles and preventing injury. Well, guess what?

Your brain works the same way. If you’re working hard to complete every task, meet strict work deadlines, and deal with personal life issues, you need a break! In fact, stress can lead to further health problems, such as chest pain, headaches, nausea, and more.

So, yes I’m telling you that it is literally necessary to do nothing. You shouldn’t feel guilt for taking care of yourself - and you’ll feel a lot better if you take time out of your day for just you. It’s time to be selfish.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Relaxing?

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According to a study at Yale, there are a ton of health benefits that come with relaxation. In an online resource, they state,

“Research shows that relaxation keeps your heart healthier, cuts stress, reduces muscle tension, improves brain function and memory, and helps you avoid depression, anxiety, and obesity. It boosts your immune system and helps alleviate the symptoms of many medical and psychological disorders.”

Even practicing deep breathing and meditation is a form of relaxation. It can be as small as a three-minute meditation, or an hour-long yoga class. You can get creative with how you want to relax, but by viewing it as less of a commitment and more of a routine, it’ll become easier to find time.

How Can I Relax Stress-Free?

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For the busy bee, it may seem borderline impossible to make it to a guided workout class or even spend an hour alone. If you’re a parent who can’t seem to escape their kids long enough to get a nap in, or just the type who is always moving, finding time seems impossible.

This is why splitting up your relaxation time throughout the day can be extremely beneficial. Take five minutes when you wake up to journal or meditate, turn your phone on Do Not Disturb for a half hour while you follow a guided YouTube workout, and take five minutes to work on deep breathing before bed.

Find what works for you, not for everyone else. Use a sheet face mask and blast your favorite song while driving to work in the morning. Watch an episode of your favorite show, do something as simple as light a candle, and sit in the dark.

The ultimate goal of relaxation is to clear your mind of any stressors, let go of everything going on around you, and just be present. So do whatever makes you feel at ease. For me, that’s laying with ocean sounds and my favorite VoluSpa candle-lit. It’s going to yoga in the mornings before my day starts.

Your challenge: Find a total of 30 minutes each day to relax. Whether it be cleaning, dancing, reading, or knitting, just do something solely for yourself. Chill out!

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