August 15th is National Relaxation Day — and who couldn’t use a little extra R&R after the past 18 months? We wanted to take some time to honor all of the hospice and palliative caretakers out there on this National Relaxation Day and remind them about the importance of self-care during this challenging time. Keep reading to learn simple ways to celebrate National Relaxation Day — the best part is, these activities are so simple that they can be done from anywhere.

#1. Stretching it Out

Stress restricts blood flow — which causes tension in the muscles and lower back. When you stretch, you stimulate the nervous system receptors that decrease the production of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Stretching also stimulates the body’s production of endorphins which act as the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. All forms of exercise can help alleviate stress, but the added meditation and controlled breathing coupled with the gentle muscle stretching involved in yoga is a perfect stress buster.

#2. Take it Outside

Did you know that visiting natural environments reduces both physical and psychological stress levels? A National Institutes of Health study found that participants who visited a natural environment reported significantly lower stress levels compared to those who visited indoor exercise facilities or urban outdoor settings. So, if you don’t have time for a two-mile walk around the neighborhood, don’t worry! Even a quick five-minute jaunt outdoors will reduce stress and invigorate you.

#3. Breathe Deeply

Our third relaxation tip requires no special setting or equipment at all. In fact, you can do it from absolutely anywhere at absolutely any time. We’re talking about deep breathing — one of the easiest and most effective ways to relieve stress. Slow, deep breaths send a message to your brain to calm down. All of the negative symptoms of stress, like fast breathing, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax. So, in your next moment of stress, remember to take a few long, deep, even breaths. Try this practice once a day for at least 10-20 minutes to help you get in the routine of turning to deep breathing when you feel stressed.

Use National Relaxation Day to learn techniques that become lifelong habits for less stress and better mood!