National Relaxation Day Serves as Healthy Reminder

Health & Wellness

My personal calendar is the kind that indicates interesting holidays such as International Forest Day (March 21) and National Day of the Cowboy (fourth Saturday of July.) National Relaxation Day, today, Aug, 15, intrigued me. 

National Relaxation Day started in 1985 and has been celebrated annually in the U.S. since 2000. On that day we are encouraged to engage in activities that bring us calmness and a sense of peace.  We have permission to ditch the “to do” list and just be.

While I am happy to see that a day has been set aside to honor and practice some relaxation in August, ideally it is something that we would try and incorporate more than just once a year! 

Managing the Stress and Anxiety of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones typically experience anxiety about their health. Trying to manage anxiety symptoms is a frequent topic in our mesothelioma support group each month. 

As a mental health professional, I have worked with so many clients over the years to teach them ways to manage stress and their anxiety symptoms. Relaxation activities are always an integral part of those clients’ treatment plan. 

There has been a tremendous amount of research in the last several decades that demonstrates how relaxation benefits our emotional and physical health. Health care professionals commonly recommend relaxation strategies to help with physical issues like high blood pressure, acid reflux, tension headaches and to boost our immune system. 

When we’re struggling with anxiety symptoms or feel overly stressed, learning to relax our body and our mind can soothe those symptoms to help us feel calmer, sleep better, feel happier and less irritable. 

Giving Yourself Permission to Relax

Relaxing sounds like it should be easy, right? Some people have a difficult time letting themselves relax. 

Maybe we grew up hearing that we ought to stay busy and productive, keep a super clean home, maintain a pristine yard or that we should continually work to improve ourselves, taking classes or perfecting a skill. We may have an inner voice telling us that we’re being lazy if we spend a few hours by the pool, go to a yoga class or play our favorite video game. 

When we’re battling mesothelioma, we may feel guilty that we can’t accomplish what we used to because of fatigue or that we’re sleeping more than we feel like we should. So, we may convince ourselves that if we have more energy on a particular day, then we should use that energy to be productive, doing laundry or mowing the lawn, for example. 

Reminding ourselves of the benefits of relaxation for our physical, emotional and mental health may be helpful in combating those “shoulds” that prevent us from feeling like we have permission to just relax. 

The Key to Relaxation

The key to achieving a state of relaxation is to allow ourselves to let go of our worries and obligations and quiet our body and mind for a little while. 

Sometimes we may do specific activities or exercises such as deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, yoga or meditation to feel relaxed. Other times we may simply lie by the pool, take a quiet walk through the woods or curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea for the afternoon. 

Let’s take the first step today and celebrate National Relaxation Day! #NationalRelaxationDay

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