Our body needs a break, and so does the mind. This is to enable it to get away from anxiety and stress and then, rejuvenate itself and replenish the energy it has lost.
Relaxation or having enough rest is very important to both the mental, physical and emotional health.
It doesn’t necessarily mean laying down on the couch to watch TV throughout the whole day, no! it’s much more than that.
Relaxation doesn’t imply staying at home. You can take a little break from work or studies to strengthen your muscles.
In this way, you relieve yourself of neck and shoulder pains, reduce stress and make you less exhausted, thus, increases focus and productivity.
Also, relaxation isn’t only for those who work themselves up, but for everybody, including a stay-at-home mum, students, etc.
Relaxations come with awesome benefits, here are 7 reasons you have to take a break and relax;
Slows the heart rate
The heart rate is reduced when we sleep and the production of cortisol (stress hormone) reduces. In turn, it reduces the tensions in the muscles which were tightened by stress.
Also, it helps in the reduction of blood pressure, as high blood pressure is related to stress. So, when there is less stress, the blood pressure returns to normal.
To a great extent, it helps the heart to get some rest and prevents some heart-related problems like stroke, irregular heart rhythms, coronary artery disease, heart diseases, and hypertension.
Again, when blood pressure is reduced to normal, it improves blood circulation to the body’s major muscles, including the extremities.
When you relax, it helps the memory to improve and has enough concentration, encourages a long term memory and makes it stronger.
When we relax, the neurons linked to the brain synchronize with the brain waves such as the theta waves. This occurs mainly when we sleep, rest, relax or even meditate.
Studies and experiments have been carried out in this case, and it was found that relaxation greatly helps to improve memory capacity.
It helps different categories of people, students, and workers alike. Relaxation affects mental health positively and improves visual memory as well.
Relieves muscle tensions and chronic pain
To relief yourself of muscle tension, you have to practice progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) technique. It relaxes the muscles by using breathing exercises, where you will be required to breathe in and out.
While breathing in makes the muscles more tensed, breathing out helps to relax the muscles.
To engage in Progressive Muscle Relaxation, you have to focus on the muscle groups’ one after the other, the muscle groups are;
- Triceps (muscles at the back of the arm)
- Biceps (muscles are the front of the arm)
- Quadriceps or hamstring (leg and calves muscle)
- Pectorals (chest muscles)
- Deltoid (muscles of the shoulder)
- Abs or abdominals (stomach muscles)
- Trapezius (the muscles of the back)
This means that you can choose to work on the triceps first, then biceps and so on, and this is how you can practice PMR;
- Lie on a comfortable mat or the floor
- Choose a muscle group to work on
- To tense the muscles, if they are not already tensed, you have to breathe in for a few seconds like 10sesc
- To relax the muscles, then breathe out slowly
- Try to remain relaxed for a few seconds and try out another muscle group until you finish all the muscle groups.
But for deep muscle relaxation, you have to, first of all, create a tension in the muscle before relaxing them, and this is how you can do that;
- Hands -Clench them (tighten into a ball or as if you want to hit someone)
- Shoulders -Shrug them (raising them)
- Forehead – Wrinkle them (As you would when you frown)
- Wrist and forearm – stretch your hands forward and bend your wrist so that your palm is pointed upward to form a perpendicular line with the forearm
- Eyes, Nose, and mouth – Tense the facial muscles by closing the eye and press your lips tightly. You can still choose to do that separately.
- Cheeks and jaw -Just have a wide smile
- Neck – Focus on the front and back neck separately, for the front neck, bend your chin to touch your chest and for the back of the neck, press against a hard surface like a floor or wall.
- Stomach -Tuck it in and hold it in tightly
- Lower leg -Point your toes upwards and downwards, folding them as much as possible
- Thigh -Tighten them so you can feel the contraction
- Hips and buttocks -You can tighten them by keeping both buttocks pressed again each other
This way, the body’s pain tolerance can also be increased, which helps to relieve some of the associated symptoms of chronic pain.
Relaxing once in a while is a great way to thwart digestive problems and related gastrointestinal disorders. It can protect the digestive system from acid reflux and ulcer.
When we are stressed, or under any form of anxiety, the acid in the stomach gradually increases which, in turn, leads to heartburn or indigestion.
But when you relax, the body’s accumulated stress is eased, thereby, creating no room for acidic problems in the stomach.
5. Soothes the mind
There are many ways to get relaxed, provided that your mind gets relaxed at that moment. One can engage in relaxation techniques such as meditation, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing or guided imagery.
Similarly, you can go for a massage, take a walk, practice yoga, go for a vacation, have a fun time, and even listen to music.
Whichever technique you choose depends on where you are, what you want or simply how you want it, as they all boil down in helping to soothe the mind.
6. Promotes efficiency at work
When we work, there is always a point when we feel exhausted and wish to relax or rest. No matter how little you relax, productivity can improve.
However, when we don’t, we feel blurry, less productive and not focus-minded.
The work activities may be too much to even have time for that, making it less fun and interesting. This is the reason why work is one of the factors that contribute to stress.
But even in the “no time” situation, you can devise means that’ll provide you with at least a little relaxation effect.
Like keeping your phones away from you so that you can be able to stand up, straighten yourself and walk to where it is, you can even choose to spice it up by looking out for a few minutes through the window.
This cannot take the place of relaxation, but it sure that can help take your eyes and mind off work a little, it is better than not having any at all, and can help your efficiency at work.
7. Provides more energy to work
Developing a relaxed schedule is very essential for workers (employees), as over-working one’s self is usually counterproductive as it can lead to less concentration and shabby work.
This is why it is very essential to take a few breaks during work to replenish the lost energy because relaxation is one of the ways that you can actually refill them when you must have used up the energy reserves.
As our body is designed in such a way that it has to signal the body that it’s time to take a break to recuperate, in order to balance the energy cycle which involves exhausting and recovery.
Many companies have lost millions of dollars to low productivity, as it has been observed from different studies that the energy employees’ input in their work is much valuable than the time spent.
And also, if the energy is effectively managed, it can lead to lesser time for work, as time isn’t the determinate factor for productivity, which all boils down to the fact that taking a break to relax at work is essential and beneficial.
Relaxation provides the body with great benefits beyond measures. Among others, it also can help to alleviate mood, reduce fatigue and anger, boost confidence, and many more.
Is relaxation the same as rest?
While they might be used interchangeably, they mean quite different things.
Relaxation occurs when we are awake, while rest occurs when we are asleep or take a nap, so relaxation involves more consciousness and activities than rest.
Generally, relaxation benefits are second to none, especially when it concerns our health and work. Anyone that wants to remain in good health should endeavor to relax once in a while.
That’s why it is good to make relaxation one of your priorities to avoid breakdown. Give your body the time it needs to ease tension.