Celebrated on August 15th, National Relaxation Day draws our attention to the importance of taking care of ourselves and making moments of relaxation an essential part of our daily routine.
Sean Moeller, the grandson of William D. Chase, founder of Chase’s Annual Calendar of Events, founded National Relaxation Day in 1985.
Our lives move at a rapid pace. Between work, home, family and community commitments, our personal time is often scarce. By taking the time to restore and relax our bodies, learn stress-relief and time-management techniques, we can recalibrate ourselves and feel more focused and grounded.
While relaxation restores our psyche, there are also many physical benefits to relaxation, such as:
- Relieving muscle tension
- Reducing anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Decreasing heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure
- Increasing blood flow
- Reducing pain by decreasing muscle tension, aches, and pains
A great relaxation strategy is known as The Relaxation Responses technique from Dr. Herbert Benson's book, The Relaxation Response. The main goal of the Relaxation Response is to deeply relax your body and to maintain a calm, positive attitude. You can check out the specific steps for the Relaxation Response here.
Another relaxation strategy is known as the S.T.O.P Practice for Stress Reduction. Mindful Magazine published an article that includes a guided meditation to help you reduce reactivity and come down from a hectic day. The steps of the S.T.O.P. practice include:
- STOP - Stop what you’re doing and get in a comfortable position.
- TAKE - Take a few deep breaths, through your nose and out through your mouth. Relax your body with each breath.
- OBSERVE - Observe yourself both physically and emotionally. Take notice of any physical tension and allow it to soften. Be aware of your emotions - happiness, irritation, sadness - and notice how they feel in your body. Just be aware of your experiences at the moment.
- PROCEED - Ask yourself these questions: “What’s most important for me to pay attention to right now?” or “What am I needing right now?” Allow that answer to arise and proceed with it in the next moment. Acknowledge yourself for taking time to focus on your body and its needs.
If you’re looking for some more relaxation inspiration, here are a few suggestions:
- Start or deepen a Yoga Practice
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook
- Go for a walk
- Listen to Music
- Watch a Movie
- Look at old photos and reminisce about the good times
- Call up a family member or old friend to reconnect
- Make a new friend by joining a meetup group or attending a library program
Relaxation can help clear our minds and induce a sense of wellbeing. You can check out a wide variety of relaxing reads (or books you can read while relaxing!) from the library and take advantage of the collection of ebooks and audiobooks available on Libby.
The Yonkers Public Library also has a wide variety of online wellness programs, some of which have recordings on our YPL Library YouTube Channel. Be sure to check out our playlists of past wellness sessions for you to play available 24/7:
- Body/Mind Fitness
- Chair Yoga and Meditation with Nancy Guzman
- Chair Yoga with Dr. Heptulla
- Mindful Monday
- Mindful Mondays with Andrea from Thrive Reiki
- Pilates with Alina
- Sound Meditation with Michelle Clifton
- Workout with Coach Elaine
- Yin Yoga with Shannon Reilly
- Yoga for Yogis
You can also check out all of our other Health and Wellness events on our monthly calendar. You can also help spread the word about this important day by using #NationalRelaxationDay to post on social media.
This is a collaboration from A to Z!
Alison Robles is a part-time page at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for YA lit, historical fiction and fantasy. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations. She is pursuing a Masters in Information and Library Science from the University at Buffalo.
Z is the Branch Manager at the Crestwood Library. She enjoys cultivating library experiences for patrons of all ages and connecting people with resources and has been doing so for over 30 years.