25 Relaxation Tips for Overachievers
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What’s this you say? RELAX??? Don’t be RIDICULOUS! I don’t have time for such things!!!
Ahem, sound familiar? Well, if you’re like me, you might struggle a teensy weensy bit when it comes to relaxing.
I have to confess there are times when I find it literally IMPOSSIBLE to stop. I just can’t stop myself. I get so over excited about things, that I want to get out there and do more, see more, achieve more, learn more!
Actually it’s usually the ‘learn more’ one that gets me…I’m just addicted to learning. I can’t stop. It’s like a disease.
Oh look there’s a new thing I can learn! Oh look there’s a new thing I can go to! Oh look there’s a new book to read…a new course to take, a new person to meet…a new technology to master…a new something!
Choice is an amazing liberator…but it can also drain the life force out of us.
When there are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES grabbing at us, how are we ever supposed to find the time to relax?
Let me ask you a question.
How often do you relax?
Think about it.
Be honest with yourself.
When do you find the time to relax?
And more importantly ‘how’ do you relax?
What do you do to recharge your body?
The pace of life is so damn fast now – it’s like we’ve forgotten we ever needed to relax!
What is this relaxation thing you speak of? I’ve heard of that? Is it any good?
Relaxation and cars
I like to think of it like this:
The body is like a car.
It will go….as long as there is fuel in the tank.
And what happens when we run out of gas?
The car stops.
Human beings are no different.
If we continuously push ourselves forward without stopping to refuel every now and then, guess what happens?
We break down.
In other words – we burn out.
I can tell you that if you don’t stop at some point then your body will stop for you…and you’ll get sick.
I know all of this because it’s happened to me.
After over a decade of constant overachieving, one day I found it hard to get out of bed.
And then the next day was the same.
I kept on going of course and after 2 years of wondering ‘why am I so tired’, I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
I’ll bet many of you reading this now are suffering from adrenal exhaustion without even knowing it.
And I want you to fix it while you have the chance.
Because autoimmune diseases are no fun kids!
So, how can you build more relaxation into your life?
Well, you need to start by figuring out the easiest way for YOU to relax.
Not someone else.
We tend to see other people relaxing and think we should be just like them.
Well we’re not.
You have to do it your own way, just how YOU like it.
And if you’re an overachiever, then you’ll probably need to pick some kind of ‘active relaxation’! That’s right even your relaxation needs to be active!
For me, I now have a ‘go to’ list of ways to relax like meditation, yoga, acupuncture, running a hot bath with Epsom salts, taking a 20 minute power nap, getting a massage or lying in the sun for 20 minutes.
I find that if we have a list of things ready that we enjoy and that work for us, then this makes it easier to relax.
Secondly, we need to schedule relaxation time.
I used to be a chronic over-planner. Still am actually.
I would literally fill every single hour of the day with an activity.
And then when I’d get tired, I wouldn’t have any room in my calendar to relax. So I would have to just keep on going.
The best thing I ever did was to leave a few windows of blank activity that I could use up for relaxation if I needed it. And if I really felt like I had the energy, I would allow myself to fill these windows with an activity.
And one more thing – sleep by the way, is not a form of relaxation. It’s different. So you can’t tell yourself that getting enough sleep counts towards your relaxation.
We really need to have awake relaxation periods as-well as good quality sleep! So don’t think I’m letting you get away with that one!
I’ll tell you what, how about I list 25 ideas that will help you to relax? Would that be helpful?
I hope so.
I’ll list them below so you can pick and choose the ones that work for you.
Don’t make the same mistake that I did and keep on pushing yourself.
If you take the time now to recharge a little, then believe me, you’ll be SO thankful that you didn’t end up in a position where you’re forced to stop.
Simple Life Strategy: 25 Relaxation Tips for Overachievers
1. Take a 20 minute power nap – you’ll feel way more refreshed afterwards
2. Run a hot bath with Epsom salts (the magnesium in the salts help your muscles to relax – this is great for a before bed option)
3. Unplug – turn all digital activity off for 10 minutes and just breathe!
4. Take a restorative yoga class – this is great for activating your parasympathetic nervous system
5. Get a massage – I like Thai massage to eliminate the nasty toxins
6. Meditate for 5 minute intervals during the day – I meditate every day and this has literally saved me from going insane
7. Do a backbend! (In my corporate role I used to sneak off to the bathroom and do backbends in the cubicle! This would energise me!)
8. Stretch at your desk. If you’re sitting down all day then take a few minutes to stretch your arms up every few hours
9. Have a pamper session – treat yourself to a facial, mud mask or a pedicure
10. Hug someone you love – hugging releases oxytocin which is a feel good hormone that de-stresses you. So a hug will literally alter your body chemistry and leave you feeling more relaxed
11. Take a meditative walk. Go out barefoot and walk slowly, feeling every sensation on the sole of your feet. Take in your surroundings and just slow down for 10 minutes.
12. Spend time with a pet – people with pets are less likely to get heart diesease
13. Cook a new meal. For some people, cooking is very peaceful & meditative (hint: don’t do this one is cooking gets you into a flap!)
14. Take a long hot shower. Water is a great relaxer.
15. Have a chamomile tea. Herbal teas can relax the nervous system (definitely avoid caffeine!)
16. Lay on the grass and do nothing! Go outside into your garden and just soak up the sun & fresh air for 10 minutes.
17. Turn off the lights & lie in Shavasana. Simply lie down on your back, palms facing upwards and do nothing. By turning the lights off, we are signaling the brain to slow down.
18. Get help. If you’ve over committed, then can you ask a friend or your partner for some help? Stop trying to do everything on your own
19. Laugh! Stop for a minute and allow yourself to have some fun! Call a friend who you know will make you laugh or watch a funny youtube clip
20. Eat a mindful snack. Instead of gulping down your food and racing onto the next thing, make a point of being mindful and slowly chewing each mouthful.
21. Listen to relaxing music. Create a relax playlist.
22. Take a sauna. Sweat out those toxins!
23. Get acupuncture. This is a great way to force your body to relax and all you do is lie there.
24. Use aromatherapy. Lavender oils immediately help to relax the body & mind.
25. Do breathing exercises. As a yogi, I love pranayama exercises like breath of fire & alternate nostril breathing. If you’re unfamiliar with these, simply take a slow even inhale & exhale. Or you can try inhaling, holding your breath for 3 seconds and then exhaling slowly. Repeat for a few minutes and notice the difference.
Choose your 5 favourites now and then schedule them in.
You’ll feel better for it, I promise you.
Right I’m off to book in a massage!