Before summer ends, I wanted to talk about relaxation.
The longer I’m alive, the more I’ve learned that being able to relax is important to achieving optimal performance and health. Being relaxed can increase our productivity in every area of our lives. If we’re not relaxed, everything we do will be a struggle. Relaxation provides mind-body integration necessary for peak performance.
It is important to relax to get ours mind clear and our bodies tension free. It helps us regain focus and cool down. It also helps return to a balanced physical state. Relaxation is vital for a healthy mind and is required to maintain motivation and interest in our lives and careers.
Not being able to relax and unwind can be damaging to our health. Even when there are huge demands on our lives – family vacations with in-laws in tow, an important career, and home renovations competing for our time – it is still necessary to find time and space to relax. If we don’t take the time to unwind and relax regularly, we might be putting our health and well-being at risk as well as the health and well-being of others. In relation to our responsibility to others, we only have to think of driving a car, or operating machinery, and how our ability to do these tasks diminishes when we are tense, tired and stressed. So, in fact, our responsibility to relax is not just for us; it’s also for others.
If we don’t make time to relax regularly, we are putting our health and mental health at risk. Some of the effects of lack of relaxation are:
- Headaches, tension headaches and migraines.
- Chronic fatigue. Your body is in a state of fatigue. You suffer from a lack of energy and motivation all of the time.
- Cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attacks.
- Gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, constipation and stomach ulcers as well as indigestion and heartburn.
- Poor immune systems becoming susceptible to illness
Early warning signs that we need to have a break and relax
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling the urge to stretch and move about
- General drop in performance
- Feelings of stress and irritability
- Performing uncommon errors
If we are aware of the signs, take notice of them, and take a break, we can avoid a lot of stress and fatigue. We’ll also become more rational and focused, and better equipped to carry on the tasks we need to do. Ignoring the signs could impact our health, well-being and happiness as well as our relationships and careers.
Even relaxing for just twenty minutes, two or three times a day, can set us up for success. When we don’t have a lot of time, there are a number of things we still can do: reading, writing, daydreaming or just sitting quietly. Quite often whatever we do to relax will be personal to us, so we need to find what works best.
As a coach, I have worked with numerous leaders who struggle with relaxation and stress. It’s interesting that initially many find it difficult to slow down or to see the benefits of taking more time to relax. However, after a few weeks and a commitment on their part to invest in their relaxation, most changed their ways and can easily list the benefits to their lives.
Some of the common benefits of relaxation
- It improves your ability to concentrate. It will help you in your ability to tune out distractions and give you better sensory awareness.
- It improves body awareness. You need to know when you are under or over doing it.
- It speeds up healing time following an injury and fatigue. The body needs to recover fully if it’s going to perform at an optimal level in the near future.
- Learning is enhanced. It is much easier to introduce new thoughts and ideas when your mind is clear and you are relaxed. Skills are best learned when you are in a relaxed state and there is an absence of tension.
- It helps you sleep better.
- You become more efficient.
- It puts your focus back on the present and gives you a sense of control.
- It increases energy.
You are your own best resource. Spend some time today to nurture and look after yourself!