Because relaxation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity to operate at your full potential!
Deadlines. Meetings. Traffic jams. Bills. Arguments with your significant other. Your new diet. Red eye flights. Needy friends. Annoying appointments. Running late. Screaming bosses….
Like death and taxes, stress is an inevitable part of life. But when you’re a busy person with a million obligations pulling you in completely different directions, the stress can be never-ending! And unfortunately for you Type-As, who tend to bite off more than you can chew and then do whatever it takes to get it done, this constant stress is preventing you from achieving your health goals.
Have you ever wondered why you can’t lose those last 10lbs? Or why you continue to have digestive issues despite a clean diet? Or why those nagging sugar cravings never stop? Or why you can get rid of that belly fat even though your arms and legs are toned? Or why you can’t fall asleep and stay asleep? Believe it or not, all these struggles lead back to high stress levels.
You may be thinking,”I’m just stressed about this presentation I’ve got coming up – it’s no big deal.”
But to your body, it is a big deal.
Your body can’t tell the difference between I’ve-got-a-presentation-due-stress and I’m-running-for-my-life-so-this-bear-doesn’t-eat-me-stress. Be it insignificant stress or life threatening stress, your body’s response is the same: it shuts down the non-essential systems (like your digestive and reproductive systems) and releases a flood of the hormone cortisol, initiating a fight or flight response to give you every advantage possible to get yourself safely through the situation because your body’s end game is to keep you alive!
We humans are equipped to handle stress every once and a while, but when stress becomes all day, every day, we start to run into some serious health consequences like a weakened immune system, impaired fat burning ability, hormone imbalances, reduced testosterone and growth hormone, depression, anxiety, and eventually, cardiovascular disease.
You may have the perfect diet and the most dialed in workout routine, but if stress is left unchecked, your health may actually decline. So what can you do about it?
For all the Type-As (myself included), relaxing is easier said than done.
It sounds crazy, right? It should be easy to sit on a couch for hours and do nothing!
When you’re a go-getter, slowing down to relax can be a monumental challenge. There’s always another “to do” on your list, another looming deadline, a boss that needs something, a hundred unread emails. As Type-As, we’re programmed to feel a constant sense of urgency, competitiveness, self-criticism, and impatience… all of which can make taking time for yourself feel like weakness, like the ultimate failure.
But in fact, the exact opposite it is true: when you learn to relax, you set yourself up for success!
Instead of being total stress case, picture yourself relaxed, tackling your to-do list with a calm, collected, and present mindset. You’re in control of the situation, focused on what you need to get done. Even when you’re busy and moments of stress arise, you’re equipped with simple relaxation strategies to keep the surge of cortisol at bay. And in this relaxed state, your metabolic power is in full force, digestion is functioning smoothly, and your body is finally assimilating all the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients from the perfect diet you’re eating. Your cortisol rhythm is more regulated so you’re getting quality sleep at night, falling asleep easily and staying asleep. That sounds like a much better way to live life, right?
By being aware of your stress levels and taking just a little time to de-stress every day, your mind and body are more relaxed, laying the foundation for massive productivity on many levels!
Relaxation doesn’t have to be time consuming. It can be as quick as spending a couple minutes practicing deep, focused breathing or as long as an entire day being pampered at the spa! Personally, I’ve worked relaxation into my morning routine with 10 minutes of meditation and a few stretches immediately after waking up, and in the moments during my work day when I feel the anxiety rising, I pause work for a few moments of deep breathing or go for a short walk. There are so many ways to destress, so start experimenting and create an arsenal of relaxation strategies to keep you calm in any situation!
To get you started, here are 30 ways to de-stress. And for my fellow Type-As, give yourself permission to disengage from the hustle and put yourself first for a change, because when you do, not only will you get unstuck and crush your health goals, but you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of health and happiness, not matter what stress life throws at you!
30 WAYS FOR THE TYPE-A TO DE-STRESS
1. Practice deep, focused breathing
2. Listen to soothing music
4. Get lost in a good book
5. Relax in a hot tub
6. Enjoy a mug of chamomile or lavender tea
7. Watch your favorite TV show or movie
8. Go for a walk
9. Hug someone your care about
10. Get a massage
11. Journal (freeform or using prompts)
12. Call and chat with a close friend or family member
13. Take a long, hot shower
14. Take an epsom salt bath
16. Practice yoga (in a class or on your own)
17. Get it on with your significant other
18. Stretch/ mobilize
19. Foam roll
20. Smile (even if you don’t feel like it)
21. Spend time in nature
22. Write a gratitude list
23. Walk barefoot in the grass
24. Get a manicure and/or pedicure
25. Light a candle or burn incense
26. Spend time with loved ones (significant others, friends, pets)
27. Turn off your phone
28. Do an arts and crafts project
29. Listen to a podcast or audio book
30. Swing in a hammock
Pin this article for later!