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Relaxation is good for your health

Relaxation is good for your health
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Relaxation isn’t just a fun thing to do, it’s necessary to your overall health and wellbeing, says psychologist, Lisa S. Larsen.  Yet despite this basic need, many of us are really bad at relaxing.

You can thank our modern go-go-go society, she says. “A high-stress lifestyle, which many people lead, puts you constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode, which can be damaging to your health if there is nothing to actually fight or flee from,” she explains. “But when you employ the relaxation response, your parasympathetic nervous system takes over and helps you rest, digest, and repair yourself.”

Relaxation is different for every person – one person’s relaxing day at the beach is another person’s sunburned, sand-in-their-shorts nightmare – so Larsen recommends trying out a variety of things to figure out what gets you into prime relaxation mode. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take an expensive spa day or a trip to another country to make you relax.

Go to the botanical gardens

Go to the botanical gardens
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Every city offers many local attractions free to the public. And what’s more relaxing than a stroll through a beautifully curated and expertly maintained garden? You get to enjoy all the flowers, trees, and shrub animals without ever having to pull a weed.

Check out these genius gardening hacks you’ll be glad you know.

Build a fort and take a nap in it

Build a fort and take a nap in it
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Forts are a childhood staple, and for good reason: they’re fun! There’s just something so relaxing about snuggling up in a cozy little spot. Make an adult version with a nest of soft blankets, your favourite book, and decadent snacks. For extra magic, string fairy lights across the top.

Soak your tired tootsies

Soak your tired tootsies
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Foot baths are one of life’s best little luxuries, allowing you to relax in body and spirit. Your feet do all the heavy lifting in your day to day life so don’t you think they deserve a little extra love? You can use a bubbly foot bath if you already own one or simply sit on the edge of a bathtub filled with a few inches of relaxing hot water. Finish off with a little foot massage with scented lotion. (Bonus relaxation points if you can talk someone else into massaging your feet!)

Find it hard to relax? Learn how to here.

Take a swing at your local park

Take a swing at your local park
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Nothing soothes and relaxes a baby like a swinging sensation and, contrary to popular belief, you don’t just grow out of that. Give yourself a gentle rock by heading to the park and swinging under the stars.

Go forest bathing

Go forest bathing
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‘Forest bathing’ is one of the hottest new wellness trends as simply being outdoors, in nature, offers a host of health benefits, including a deep state of relaxation. Take advantage of this all-natural remedy by walking or hiking through a scenic spot near you.

Walking for exercise? Don’t miss these tricks to make your daily walking habit even healthier.

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Admire the sunset

Admire the sunset
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Sure, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west every day of your life – but this doesn’t mean it isn’t a glorious experience. It’s all too easy to overlook the daily aerial light show, especially as it normally happens during the busiest times of day. So make an effort to sit down, take a deep breath of fresh air, relax, and just watch the sun set on another day.

Look through old photo albums

Look through old photo albums
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Nostalgia can bring back some powerful feelings. Looking through old family pictures or photos can remind you of the comforting sound of your mother’s voice, the safety of your father’s hug, the laughter of your friends, or the peace you found on that island you discovered on that amazing vacation you took years ago. Remembering how quickly life really goes by can help put your daily struggles into perspective, allowing you to relax and go with the flow more.

Have some milk and cookies

Have some milk and cookies
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Milk and cookies are a tried-and-true relaxation method and it turns out there’s a scientific reason for that. The carbohydrates in the cookies combine with tryptophan, a calming amino acid found in dairy foods, to induce a powerful feeling of relaxation, according to a study published in Nutritional Health.

Find out which are the best foods to help reduce stress.

Tell a favourite childhood story

Tell a favourite childhood story
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Sharing a favourite memory with a cherished friend or loved one is a great way to relive happy moments while creating new ones. Not only will this bring a smile to your face and help you relax but it’s a great way to help children relax before bedtime.

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