“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it”
-Sydney J Harris
This is a brilliant little quote that’s worth sticking on your fridge / dashboard / desk / wherever you’ll see it most often. It’s so true that the people who struggle to find time to relax are the ones who probably need it most. If you’re used to being busy all the time, taking time out to relax and recharge is not easy; muscles start to twitch and the mind wanders – frantically searching for the next job that needs to be done! Sound familiar?! Do it regularly however and you’ll soon start to reap the benefits; a calmer mind, a clearer head, feeling more energized, productive and more focused too. As well as taking time out to relax you can feed your body with nutrients to help to induce a state of calm too. Put the two together and you’ll be floating around in no time! Here’s our quick guide to instant calm….
Top 5 Calming Activities
The best place to start if you're a novice and want to have a go is www.headpsace.com - in just 10 minutes a day you can learn simple mindfulness technicques that will keep you calm and clear.
This ancient Movement practice has been around for centuries and seems to be enjoying somewhat of a revival of late. Perhaps because it is the perfect antidote to 21st century 'busy'ness. Treat yourself once a week and you will instantly reap its calming benefits.
Fast becoming the sport of the moment; the benefits of swimming go far beyond phydical fitness. Millions agree that swimming is a very peaceful form of exercise; swimming sharpens the focus on your breath and has an almost meditative effect. Being immersed in water takes you away from the outside world and allows you to switch off from everything else. Many liken swimming to yoga or mindfulness meditation, with added fitness benefits too.
Any kind of exercise that gets your heart pumping and leaves you out of breath has huge benefits for stress reduction. Do it regularly and you will benefit from a calmer, happier and more focused state of mind.
Read a Funny Book/Watch a Happy Film
Anything that takes you away from the outside world and focuses your mind on something positive for a period of time can have a calming effect. As soon as you switch off the mind starts to calm down. Build in time each week for focused activities such as this to experience its calming effects.
Top 5 Calming Nutrients
Magnesium has to be the number one calming nutrient. Often nicknamed 'nature's tranquiliser', magnesium can have an instantly calming effect. Unfortunately, magnesium is often completely lacking from a typical Western diet and is used up in huge amounds during times of stress. Supplementation with magnesium glycinate can help to restore levels and can lead to feelings of almost instant calm.
This important complex of water-soluble nutrients are a vital component of a healthy functioning nervous system. B Vitamins are found in fresh, whole foods and are often lacking from a typical Western diet. The B complex are used up rapidly during stress and can help to support a calmer state.
An amino acid found naturally in tea which has been shown to have a soothing and calming effect. Unfortunately tea also contains caffeine, which can have the opposite effect. You can take l-theanine in supplement form to experience its gentle benefits in isolation.
A little referred to, naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid yet important for its role in the sleep cycle. It has been found to be particularly useful for those prone to waking in the middle of the night and may hel yo support restful sleep, an important aspect of general feelings of calm and wellbeing.
This essential nutrient helps to support the adrenal glands and helps you to deal with stress. 1000mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids taken twice daily may have a calming effect on the nervous system.
About Rachel Bartholomew BA (Hons) Dip ION, MBANT, NTC, CNHC
Rachel runs a successful nutrition clinic, in a converted barn, based at a beautiful site called Cedar Farm in Lancashire. Rachel started work for Nutri in 2001, graduated from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in 2004 and since then has combined a busy practice with a Freelance Research & Writing Position for Nutri and, most importantly being a mum to Amelie 8 & Tom 6! With a particular passion for children’s nutrition, Rachel is also the resident nutritionist for Child’s Talk magazine.