Have you ever looked at your care-free children and thought, “Jeez, if only I could relax like that.” Well, you can. See, the thing is, most adults spend a good amount of time and money searching for peace and relaxation. They search and work so much for the cure for tension that they end up doing more harm than good. We often engage in activities that require too much time, too much money, or too much peer pressure in hopes that all this hype will magically relieve the weights of worry. In fact, most of the times stress is an unfortunate result to adults trying to de-stress. Relaxing should be is natural, easy, and simple-just ask your kids. Childlike behaviors are effective stress relievers because they recreate memories of childhood and simpler times. Mimicking children subconsciously allows us adults to decompress and revitalize their minds.
Here are 7 ways any adult can relax in 15 minutes or less AND squeeze in some quality time with the kids. That’s what I call a win-win.
- Color-Honestly, when was the last time you pulled out a box of Crayolas and just had at it? Too long, I’m guessing. Psychologists have recommended coloring as a relaxation technique for over a century; and for good reason. Coloring allows people to express themselves through creativity while releasing stress with each stroke of a crayon. Next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders give this trick a try, I guarantee you will find yourself decompressing by the time you have your page all filled in. These days they have fancy adult coloring books full of lovely intricate drawings. I’m a simple girl and I tend to just doodle on scratch paper with whatever medium is within arms reach-especially, when I’m on the phone. You know, those forever long phone calls to the insurance company that make your grey hairs sprout by the instant? I find that’s the perfect time to do a little color by number to keep my sanity.
- Build-I am a huge believer in the power of Legos. No matter what I am up against in life a few minutes of quality construction time is sure to ease my mind. Paper airplanes are another easy go-to. It’s the simple act of putting something together (the less complicated and more creative the better) that can allow the feeling of accomplishment and success that can heal a stressed soul. And I’m positive your kids will love having engineering skills to partner with.
- Solve-Word puzzles, number puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, it really doesn’t matter what type of puzzle you go with because any one will do the trick. Just having something small too focus on and problem solve can help you momentarily forget the big and often overwhelming problems lingering in reality. My personal favorites are solitaire and the daily crosswords found at www.slctrib.com.
- Swing-The gentle to & fro sway works wonders on the worried mind. Every mom has experienced the magical power that rocking can have on an infant. Well, good news! Studies have shown that the rocking & swinging motion can calm adults just as effectively as it soothes babies. This type of rhythmic activity that is used in anxiety therapies. So grab your little one and pull out that rocking chair, hop on that porch swing, or head on down to a nearby park and release your worries to the wind.
- Get out-My go-to stress-buster for my three busy energetic boys is a little fresh air. The indoors can feel so confining and sometimes all we need is a time outside to de-stress. Go for a walk, blow bubbles, ride a bike, pick up a ball, or if you’re really in a bind for time simply take your work outside. Regardless of what you’re doing, moving your body and being outdoors are two effective and easy ways to up your endorphins and relax.
- Bathe– Ok, so maybe you don’t want to do this one with your kids-that’s up to you. Research studies have found that taking a bath promotes psychological wellness, increases optimism, and increases overall happiness. It’s not something I do on the norm, but when I find my mind just can’t stop going I know that nothing will calm me like physically removing myself and escaping to the solitude of my bathtub. After a few minutes my mind tends to straighten itself out and I find I am better able to tackle the tasks at hand. A soothing bath is a full body repair; it works wonders on the mind and body. There’s no need to line the bath with scented candles and put on Celine Dion, just some water and a kid-free zone can do the trick.
Remember, the trick here is the simpler the better. Just ask your kids.