August 15 is Relaxation Day — and with the start of the school year, this day couldn’t come at a better time! It’s a great reminder to take a little bit of time to take it easy. In honor of the day, we put together a list of ways to relax before school starts.
Play Time Play time is the obvious relaxation solution for kids, but it can be just as relaxing for you — and there’s research to prove it! Researchers at Kansas State University did a study on how mothers interact with their children. They found the more mothers engaged with their children, the less overwhelmed they felt. Keep that in mind the next time you have a pile of dishes to do and a stack of bills to pay with no time to do it all — just a few minutes with the kids and your problems won’t seem like big problems.
Gentle Hugs Taking time to relax doesn’t mean you have to stop what you’re doing to meditate (though it can be very relaxing) — just getting or giving a hug can ease a lot of tension and aggression you may be experiencing as the school year nears. Hugs and general touching releases the hormone oxytocin — the “cuddle hormone.” Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that getting a dose of oxytocin lowers blood pressure as well as lowers stress hormones. A good hug isn’t such a bad way to introduce relaxation into your schedule. If you want to take it a step further with a massage, there’s analysis to back that up as a stress-reliever, too. Australian researchers found massage reduces stress and anxiety almost immediately. If you don’t have time to go to a spa, neck massagers or massage balls are reasonable substitutions.
A Good Nosh There are a few ways eating can be relaxing — shoving a handful of cereal in your mouth on your way out the door is not one of them. Try planning out a sit down meal for the family to get everyone in one place, be present and shut out all external distractions. For one hour, ignore work and electronics to eat and enjoy a meal with the family. If that doesn’t help you relax, end the meal with chocolate! Dark chocolate in particular helps you relax. Dark chocolate contains the essential amino acid Tryptophan which aids in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for boosting your mood and improving your sleep. If chocolate isn’t a favorite, Tryptophan is found in other foods like honey, duck and eggs.
Get Active Some people like to exercise more than others. If you’re one of the others, relaxation may be an incentive to get start a workout routine. Aerobic exercise lowers stress hormone levels and releases the feel-good chemical endorphins. Not only does it release endorphins but, researchers from Princeton University found aerobic exercise restructures your brain to protect it from stress. It seems toning up is just a bonus to being more relaxed.
The Lakeside Collection has your back as the school year approaches. Whether you need ideas on how to relax or you need supplies to make the transition a little easier, look to The Lakeside Collection for inspiring products at affordable prices.