School’s out, Christmas and New Years’ are done and you’ve stopped.It feels a bit weird, but nice at the same time. You finally get a chance to chill out, relax and take a breather from exams and teachers and shopping, you might even be heading on a holiday with your family… but how do you relax? How do you actually stop thinking and planning and filling every second of your holidays with stuff that makes you just as busy and tired as you were during the school year?
For some of you, stopping is almost impossible, but giving yourselves a break from stress can be one of the most important things you do this summer!
What does stress do?
It’s a good thing to take a rest. Our bodies are wired to need a break fairly regularly! With the brain-drain of study and end-of-year exams, you especially need to give your mind a good rest whenever you get the chance for some down time.
But why? Why can’t you just keep powering on?
Our brains work by firing a whole bunch of fancy-smancy transmitter like hormones when we do our everyday activities. They fire a bit more when we get excited and there are others that fire when we get a bit stressed or anxious, which has been the case for many of you who have just been through your study and exam period.
If you’re into your science and biology, you’ll know all about your body’s ‘flight’ and ‘fight’ response ; the system that is alerted when you get all anxious and worried or afraid. Not surprisingly, you get tired when you ask your body to be alert and ready to fight all the time. Letting your brain step away from fight mode and take it easy for a bit can have positive effects on your entire well-being.
Everything inside us is so amazingly interconnected, so by helping your brain chillax, you are also helping your body and creating some really important health benefits, from lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, to better controlling your thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviour. What your minds and bodies learn from your own personal experiences, makes you react in different ways to stress , so it’s really useful to know how you react and to learn how to turn off your body’s natural alarm system so you can rest and enjoy this time over your holidays!
How to relax
Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is a good habit to form for a lifetime. Rest allows your body to triple RRR repair, rebuild, and recuperate.
Take in that breath of life – literally – you can’t live without it. Breathing deeply helps encourage a full oxygen exchange and spark your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms. Fill your lungs with air now and say to yourself, ‘I’m breathing in peace and rest’and as you breathe out, say, ‘I’m breathing out stress and tension’. Say it like you mean it. Give it a go — seriously, it works!
A simple activity like this can goa long way to wiping that stress status by lowering your heart rate and switching off that alarm system. For a little added exercise, as well as an important daily routine addition these holidays, check out the ‘How to’ of squeezing, releasing and breathing.
Catching up on sleep in the hols can seem like a bit of a cliche (especially when there’s more fun things to do), but it’s always important to get in some extraz’s whenever you can.There’s a chance you’re still catching up from all that high-stress cramming for exams, or completing assignments, or late night Christmas parties, so at this time of year especially, it’s obvious you need to put some time into topping up your sleep-fill so you can really re-energise.
Take time to fuel up
Eating well is one of the most most important things you can do to look after yourself. Allowing yourself a few, well-deserved treats is of course ok, but keeping a close eye on your nutrition and making sure you’re also giving your body what it needs to heal after a big year of stress can mean the difference between starting the new school year tired, or packed full of energy!. Healthy arvo snacks and recipes can be fun to prepare and provide wholesome fuel to your body! Check out our recipe challenges for some great ideas.
For some of you, this time of year might also mean a few drinks with friends at parties or family holiday events. Everyone’s different, so be aware of your own limits and take care. Alcohol can wreak havoc on your body the next day and make it take even longer for you to recover and repair from a busy year. . Look out for each other and have fun, but rest your body by stopping at only a couple of relaxing drinks (or just sticking to water) so you avoid those out of control moments and next day blues .
What do you love?
Doing things you love and haven’t had the opportunity to do during busy times can have a good effect on your soul and chill mode. If body pampering is your thing – get that massage or mani-pedi you’ve always wanted. If reading is your thing raid your families bookshelf or head to that library. If its writing, get out your pens and paper and start pouring out your ideas. Movie watching, lazing on the beach or that patch of grass, doing some stuff that’s artsy crafty, climbing a mountain or doing a hike are examples of doing things you might enjoy that can really help beat stress.
Get outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and what surrounds you. Beauty is to be found in many things and forms. Volunteering your time to help others who you know might be going through a tough time or just for a worthy cause always goes a long way to reminding us we can make a difference and life is not just about us and our own bubble; getting some perspective can be a great tool!
Everyone knows we’re not meant to go through this life alone. Sure, it’s important to have space and time out just with your own ‘no one else in the world like you’ company, but it’s also helpful, healthy and re-energising to have time with friends; the ones who love you no matter what and who have no hidden agendas; people with whom you can truly be yourself.
Dreams and vision
Making time to actually gather your thoughts can be great for focusing on who you are and what you might want to become. Discovering your dreams for the future and thinking on things that make you passionate and get you excited is the best way to find energy you didn’t know you had. No matter how you’re feeling now and what you’re going through and even what others might be expecting of you, having even a simple dream for tomorrow, next week or next year, can boost your motivation to keep going. Be reminded to stay true to you. Your uniqueness in who you are and what you can do, even if you don’t know it yet, might be a game changer that sets you on the history-making path to #GoAgainstTheFlow!
Rest, restore, rebuild and replenish Queens!