Updated: Aug 14, 2021
Yes, it's a real thing! This Sunday, August 15th, is National Relaxation Day. Cher Robins discusses some of the best ways to balance your chi and find a mindful moment this weekend.
Is relaxation good for you?
This seems like an obvious question, but if it's so good for us, why is it sometimes so hard to do? Feeling like you don't have time? Not sure what works for you? Too tired to start? Whatever the reason, learning how to relax and unwind from the day is vital to learning to live a healthy and abundant life. A whole host of physical benefits come along with the mental calm and improved focus of relaxing: improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improved digestion, pain reduction, improved sleep... So how do we get there?
It only takes a minute, girl
One of my favourite types of practice is what we call 'micro practice' the small habits that we fit in to our day when we're waiting for the kettle to boil, the photocopier to print or the traffic lights to change. This is low stakes, high gains training and can be tailored to fit your mood or training goals. I set up little routines throughout my day that help me stay focused on creating a tai chi body and a tai chi mind. These little pockets of practice set the tone of my day and fuel me up when things could otherwise get chaotic or fraught. For tips on micro practice strategies to use, follow us on Instagram.
Interestingly the average child smiles 400 times a day, while the average adult smiles 20 times a day. An average happy adult smiles 40-50 times a day. Now, I'm not suggesting you keep a tally, but faking it until you make it is definitely worth doing. Whether it is a small upturn of the corners of your mouth, or a full Cheshire cat grin, smiling has remarkable relaxation credentials. It is proven to reduce bloood pressure, pain and stress as well as strengthening the immune system.
Practising our 5 Words of Self-composure is an easy way to create a relaxation routine. The more we practise this in any and every situation of our life, the more we make it a groundstate for our emotional and metal being. I use the 5 words deliberately at key points in my day; whenever I need to refocus my attention and energy. Because I have spent so long doing it as part of my tai chi practice, it now helps me to find my feet and feel connected no matter the situation.
Be Patient with Yourself
Okay, so this one I'm still working on! Simon once described patience as the feeling you have when you hold a newborn baby. You have no expectations of them, only gentleness. Finding this feeling for myself is something I still struggle with at times. Tai chi gives me a space to find it in though. When I am running through a familiar form and finding flow and harmony in the movements, it gives me a space to find a new perspective. New learnings and a different viewpoint or a wry understanding often surface after I have worked into my body and then run though the same form a few times. Knowing I have a strategy to find that viewing point where life can become clearer is one of the greatest gifts my practice has given me.
Borrow our calm
Sometimes, we just need someone else to do it for us. If you are a current student you have access to our Google Classroom video classes, including the meditation and self-care materials. If you're not a current student we have a taster class you can check out, just email email@example.com.
There's also a range of follow along videos on our YouTube channel that you can use anywhere you have a screen.
So, how will you spend your National Relaxation Day?