Posted by: Kelley Dees | December 16, 2010

Taking A Break

Does your desk look like this???

Well, I’ll be leaving to head back east to see family for the holidays this weekend. Two and a half weeks off is not something I regularly (or ever!) get to enjoy. All this time I’ll have off has gotten me to thinking about our farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers don’t often get the opportunity to take a break. When they do, it’s usually the result of bad weather or an injury that is preventing them from working (i.e. not usually their choice!).

When we do get the opportunity to relax and take a break, many of us don’t know how! So today, we’ll be talking about how to properly relax, whether you have 15 minutes or 2 weeks!

Relaxation techniques are an essential part of stress management. Relaxation isn’t just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. It’s a process that decreases the wear and tear on your mind and body, giving you relief from the challenges and hassles of daily life.

With the busy lives that we lead, relaxing often takes a back seat to the “more important” things in our life. However, this means we could miss out on some of the health benefits of relaxing. What are the benefits of relaxation techniques?

  • Slows your heart rate
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Slows your breathing rate
  • Increases blood flow to major muscles
  • Reduces muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Improves concentration
  • Reduces anger and frustration
  • Boosts confidence to handle problems

You can pay professionals to learn more in-depth techniques, but many can be self-taught techniques that will help you de-stress. It doesn’t matter which relaxation technique you choose. What matters if that you try to practice relaxation regularly to reap the benefits. So now that we know why we should relax, let’s discuss how:

  • Autogenic relaxation: repeat words or suggestions in your mind to help you relax and reduce muscle tension. Imagine a beautiful place and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate, or feeling different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg, one by one.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group.
  • Visualization: form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to use as many senses as you can, including smell, sight, sound, and touch. 
  • Listen to relaxing music, such as classical or natural music.
  • Exercise: Exercise helps us to relax by giving us a healthy outlet for our stress.
  • Massage: Get a massage. Couples can take turns massaging each other. This can help us to relax, as well as relieve tension in our muscles.

As you learn relaxation techniques, you will become more aware of muscle tension and other physical feelings of stress. Once you know what the stress response feels like, you can make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique the moment you start to feel stress symptoms.

Remember that relaxation techniques are skills and, as with any skill, your ability to relax improves with practice. Be patient and don’t let your efforts to practice relaxation techniques become another stress in your life.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from Mayo Clinic.

Is this you?

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Responses

  1. LOL love the cat!!

    • Thanks! I think he’s a good example of how many of us feel!

  2. How do I join?

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