Kick back and relax, take a load off, put your mind at ease – ‘tis the season! National Relaxation Day is August 15. Yep, that’s a thing.
Did we just give a new favorite holiday? Who doesn't love to relax? Of course, the importance of relaxation goes far beyond having a good time. How often we relax has a big effect on our physical and mental health. Not to mention that how we relax potentially has an impact on the planet, too.
Why is relaxation so important to health, you might ask? And how can your personal relaxation affect the planet? Let’s unpack – read on for the breakdown.
Why is relaxation important for the mind and body?
Amidst the hustle and bustle of life in the modern world, relaxation may seem like a luxury. But it’s actually a vital part of maintaining your health! Relaxation leads to a clearer and calmer mind. It breeds positivity and better concentration. It prevents burnout in a busy, busy world.
Most importantly, relaxation is a vital component of stress management. Without relaxation, you’re susceptible to chronic stress. Chronic or prolonged stress can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health, and it can lead to symptoms like:
How does stress affect sleep?
Why does stress make it hard to sleep at night? The physical and mental effects of stress can both be blamed. Physically, stress causes muscle tension, which can make it difficult to sleep. Mentally, stress causes anxiety, which also can make it difficult to sleep.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep can also raise stress levels. This creates a vicious cycle of stress leading to insomnia and insomnia leading to stress that can be difficult to break – making the task of active relaxation all the more important. (Psst … get tips for sleeping better when stressed.)
Not all relaxation methods are planet-friendly
In this age of consumerism, social media and the world wide web, relaxation has become a commodity. If you want to relax, you need the skincare your favorite influencer is promoting. You need that hot celebrity’s sleepwear line. You need that meditation app you keep getting advertisements for on your phone.
And this isn’t always a bad thing – everybody loves a quick fix in a busy world, right? But when products are manufactured with toxic chemicals, marketed with shady business practices or packaged in single-use plastics, your self care can cause major harm to the planet.
5 Easy ideas for eco-friendly self care
There are so many ways to relax that don’t require hitting “Add to Cart.” Here are our top five ideas for doing right by you and doing right by the Earth. Happsy relaxing!
1. Take a hike
Feeling stressed? Take a walk! Walking promotes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood. Not to mention that being outside helps your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night.
Get outside, move your body, look at the sky and the trees and the clouds, breathe in the fresh air. You’ll feel a lot better afterwards. (And you get bonus points if you bring along a furry friend – instant serotonin boost!)
2. Practice meditation
Have you tried yoga? This popular meditation method focuses on stretching, bending, balancing and deep breathing to help relax the body and the mind. It’s a great way to move your body, quiet your mind and relax a little.
But meditating can be so much simpler than that, too. For some people, meditating just means finding a quiet place to sit down, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It takes practice and patience, but it’s a great way to provide some much-needed space in your life.
3. Unplug for awhile
This is probably the toughest item on this list – but also the most rewarding. If you want to give your minds, body and soul a break, then it’s time to unplug.
Smart watches, smart homes, smart phones … sometimes it feels like technology is life. But it wasn’t always this way, and it doesn’t always have to be. Constant access to the internet means constant access to bad news when you’re not looking for it, to your job when you’re at home, to your friends when you need alone time. Not to mention that blue light and small screens can be harsh on your eyes, making it harder to fall asleep at night.
We know it feels impossible to unplug. But try it! You can start with 20 minutes, an hour, a day. Unplug from the world inside your phone and rediscover the world around you for a little.
4. DIY face mask
Nothing says self-care like a face mask does. Face masks can be a great way to help your body relax – and while it’s drying, you can take the time to meditate or practice deep breathing to relax your mind, too!
Sheet masks and other store-bought masks sold in single-use plastic packaging aren’t exactly planet friendly. So why not try a DIY face mask made with ingredients you probably have at home already: aloe-vera is anti-inflammatory, sugar is a gentle exfoliant, coconut oil is moisturizing, the list goes on and on. Here are some ideas for DIY non-toxic body scrubs, too. Treat yourself!
5. Deep clean and declutter
Deep clean, declutter, destress – sometimes it really is that simple! You can hone your home environment in a way that honors your organic lifestyle by using natural or DIY cleaning solutions that limit the chemicals in your home.
And decluttering doesn’t have to mean waste – reflecting on what you really need allows you to share and redistribute what you already have. Sell old clothes at consignment shops, list household good on your local online marketplace or partner with organizations like Humble Design to see how you can help families in your area who are in need.
Let Happsy put your mind at ease
We mentioned before that stress and insomnia can become a vicious cycle. Another major cause of insomnia is discomfort while trying to sleep – which could be a result of a bad mattress!
That’s where we come in. Happsy’s organic bed-in-a-box offers a hybrid design featuring latex and pocketed coils to deliver a refreshingly comfortable night’s sleep. Plus, our certified organic and nontoxic mattress is not only healthier for you, but healthier for the planet, too. So, you can rest easy and comfy knowing that your relaxation isn’t harming our planet.
Looking for more ways to honor our beautiful Earth? We have plenty of ideas!