Spend more time working IN vs OUT…relax, unwind and recharge your way to health!

Yes you read that right, working in or doing activities will recharge your battery or give you energy (as opposed to draining your energy)). Something I am still making a conscious effort to improve is taking more ME time…in fact, for the month of September I am taking part in a 30 day yoga challenge. I have committed myself to doing at least 15 minutes of yoga a day.  My reason for doing this is to focus on taking time to relax and unwind every day.  And yes, this is not something I usually make a priority but with the challenge I have to! I stop what I am doing and get on my mat for at least 15 minutes everyday, not matter what!   It has only been 5 days and I already notice a shift in my energy, mood, focus and discipline.  I can’t imagine how amazing I will feel after 30 days of yoga!  I am really making more of an effort to practice yoga at home during this challenge and find it to be very rewarding, and also much more convenient. 

Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs to sign up for a yoga challenge in order to practice ‘working in’ but for me, yoga is my escape from the crazy world as it’s the perfect way to turn turn my brain off, focus on my breath and nothing else but what I am doing at the present moment.  It takes practice but once you are able to completely let go of your day and your thoughts it is the BEST feeling in the world.  The feeling of unwinding or letting go is one that many people rarely experience yet if they did they would be much happier and less stressed individuals.  This ‘feeling’ of calmness and a clear mind is what keeps me coming back every time. I find that when I go too long without doing yoga (it happens, life gets busy and I don’t take time to relax) that my life seems unorganized, I forget things, skip workouts or have low to no energy or desire to train, I have cravings (and give in to them), have a hard time saying ‘no’ to people and then cancel at the last minute, etc. Basically, I feel as though I’m barely keeping my head above water.  These are all true signs that I have been working OUT too much and not doing enough working IN!

How about you? Do you take enough time every day, week, month or year to relax or better yet take a few deep breaths?  Hopefully you’re not like the lady below when it comes to taking a time out or a break from your crazy schedule…

If yoga isn’t your thing….Here are some (100!) other ways you can practice working in (or activities that will help you relax, unwind and loosen up)  Hopefully you can find a identify with a few that will work for you….

1. Drink some green tea
2. Take a nap
3. Go outside
4. Get fresh air
5. Get sunlight
6. Meditate on the breath
7. Breathe deeply
8. Watch some TV
9. Listen to classical music
10. Go to the gym (for a light workout!)
11. Eat more fruit
12. Go for a walk in the city
13. Get a fruit milkshake
14. Talk to a friend on the phone
15. Strengthen your Facebook addiction
16. Walk around the office
17. Do some deep muscle stretches
18. Look at inspiring photos
19. Read your favorite blogs
20. Call your mother
21. Read national geographic or magazines about far away places
22. Go somewhere high with a vast view
23. Reduce the amount of coffee you drink
24. Drink more water
25. Get a shot of wheat grass juice
26. Go for a walk around the markets or somewhere with lots of natural produce
27. Go somewhere where sunlight warms your face
28. Exercise before work to get the blood flowing
29. Get some healthy comfort food (hearty soups or something that makes you feel great)
30. Go for a swim or a spa
31. Get a massage at your local massage school (its cheaper)
32. Call some old friends and meet for lunch
33. Listen to relaxation mp3′s
33. Delete all the emails in your inbox
34. Clean your desk
35. Tidy your room and make your bed so it’s clean when you go to sleep
36. Open up windows and let fresh air in
37. Make a list of all the things you need to do today
38. Write a letter to your parents or someone in your family you haven’t seen in a while
39. Take a day off work
40. Go shopping for someone in your family
41. Visit an awe-inspiring monastery, church, temple or piece of architecture
42. Head down to the beach and walk in the shallow water
43. Go to a lake and skim rocks on the surface
44. Read a book you enjoyed as a child
45. Cook a lavish and complicated dinner
46. Make a lemon, ginger honey tea
47. Go to your local botanic gardens where there are lots of colorful flowers
48. Tense all your muscles for ten seconds and then suddenly let go
49. Get a stress ball or hand grippers
 50. Get off the computer and relax your eyes
51. Go for a run around the city at lunch time
53. Get a big Chinese noodle soup for lunch (warm water is good for stress)
54. Go and see a comedy show
55. Go to bed early
56. Have a sleep in
57. Take some allotted time to do nothing at all
58. Plant some trees to make your life more carbon neutral
59. Go and see a sporting match
60. Hire some comedy movies and relax on the couch with a blanket
61. Take deep breaths for five minutes
62. Join an evening yoga class
63. Go to the city library and just sit down
65. Have a big long conversation with your partner about nothing in particular
66. Turn off the television/computer and do something low tech
67. Eat a big bowl of fruit with natural honey on top
68. Pack a picnic, get in the car and drive to a new outdoors spot
69. Play some after work team sport like indoor soccer or cricket
70. Go to a meditation class (they are usually very relaxing)
71. Drink a cup of plain hot water (old Chinese method of healing)
72. Do a painting or drawing of your home
73. Call up 10 mates and organize some sport in the park and a BBQ
74. Go out to a favorite restaurant for dinner
75. Hire an Xbox 360 and have a lazy weekend
76. Study a topic you have a deep interest in but which doesn’t relate to work
75. Buy a beanbag and fall asleep watching TV
76. Take a hot shower and leave the fan off so the room steams up
78. Buy a cheap self-massaging wand and massage your tense spots
79. Get the daily chores out of the way now instead of worrying about them
80. Get a 20 minute power nap like Leonardo da Vinci
81. Light some healing and relaxation incense
82. Ride your bike to work instead of driving in the hustle
83. Get the kids off to a friend’s house for a sleep-over
84. Use some bath salts and take a long bath in a candle lit bathroom
85. Talk about your problems with someone
86. Plan a holiday you would love to take in the future
87. Cut out the sugar in your diet (it causes stress)
88. Take a relaxation supplement like Brahmi
89. Watch your thoughts without engaging them
90. Get to work early and finish the day’s work as fast as possible and then forget it
91. Unsubscribe from blogs that you really don’t need in your Feed Reader
92. Stop wasting so much time on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter
93. Spend some more time with your dog or animal (they’ll love you for it)
94. Throw out stuff around your house your really don’t need or use
95. Create a list of relaxation tips to help other people
96. Start a detox diet
97. Turn on some music and dance around your house
98. Have a warm glass of milk
99. Pick up a hobby you have neglected
100. Just relax!

I’m sure a few of those will work for you.  If not, maybe you come up with other examples?

No matter what you chose, the best way to reduce stress in your life and improve your energy is to be aware of the things you are doing (or the people you surround yourself with) that are causing stress and take the necessary steps to do things to help ourselves feel better and stress-free instead of doing activities that drain us even more. 

Here is another excellent article that shares 20 ways that can help you relax, refresh and recharge…

While I do encourage all my clients and readers to exercise everyday I do strongly believe that in order to get the most out of your workouts, your job, your life,  you MUST take time (and make time) to work in and really listen to your body, especially when you are feeling run down, tired, or (heaven forbid!) on the verge of breaking down.  Take a step back, breath deeply and relax, your body needs it and will thank you!

Les 🙂

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