As seasons come and go, life has a tendency to keep us far too busy and stressed out. Have you ever considered the possibility that you can stop the rat race, get off the ever-turning wheel, and decided to reboot your life with a year of rest and relaxation?
Yes! A whole year for you to focus on taking care of…YOU! By doing this, you will learn how to form new healthy habits for self-care. If that sounds as lovely to you as it does to me, let’s explore together how to plan a year that includes wonderful elements that will get you refreshed and re-energized!
Daily – Meditation and Breathing Exercises
First, let’s start with what you need to incorporate into your daily life! Primarily this includes finding the quiet space and time necessary to concentrate on meditation and breathing exercises. This will work wonders for your well-being!
Try to set up a routine, whether in the morning or evening (or both!), so that you don’t forget your special “Me-Time!” Start with 2-3 minutes, but slowly build to at least 10 minutes per session and preferably 20-30 minutes for maximum benefit.
After just 8 weeks, you will actually begin to exhibit such positive changes as more mental clarity, increased focus and memory, reduced stress, lower blood pressure, emotional stability, better sleep, deeper relaxation, and improved relationships.
When you meditate, sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe naturally and focus on each breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. If you find your mind is wandering, use that opportunity to pull your attention back to your breathing.
Specific breathing exercises are equally important to meditation and go hand-in-hand, so incorporate these as well. During these moments, you will practice various breathing patterns. There are many techniques to choose from and you can try various ones for different purposes. As you find the rhythms that resonate with your body, you will gain energy and feel more alert.
Nightly – Restful Routines
Of course, if you are going to start a year of restfulness, it is going to be super important to incorporate a nightly regiment that will help you get the maximum amount of sleep that your body needs to function properly.
Start this process by putting away your electronics and screens at least one hour before bedtime. This will allow your body ample time to begin to produce the natural melatonin that it needs to ensure that you are able to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Create a pattern that is predictable and relaxing. This can include activities that physically get you ready for bed, but also such niceties as drinking a warm cup of herbal tea, eating a light snack to ward off any late night hunger pangs, settling down with a nice book, or listening to soft music.
Consider the atmosphere of your sleeping space. Dim any lights as you prepare for bed and then, eventually, make your sleep space completely dark. Do you sleep best with a fan on or the window cracked open for fresh air? Do you prefer white noise to block out noises or to provide a cushion against total silence? Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is just right. This usually means that the ambient air is a touch cool, as your body tends to heat up at night.
Finally, plan to allow yourself a complete night’s rest by going to bed early enough to get fully rested before morning and reducing the possibility of any interruptions during the night. If you can arrange your cycle to avoid the need for an alarm clock, you will be more likely to find yourself rested when you awake, allowing yourself to be ready to get up and face the new day energized and alert.
Weekly – Yoga and Physical Exercise
To help your body build strength and stamina, you will want to incorporate a weekly regiment of yoga and exercise into your routine. These activities are important for clearing away the toxins in your body and allowing you the opportunity to get your blood pumping.
This in turn will give you vital energy while helping to brighten your mood, lift your spirits, and feel truly alive. This will balance you and help you enter a state of rest and relaxation that you would not otherwise be able to achieve.
You can definitely do your yoga at home, if you prefer, but if you find it hard to self-motivate at the beginning, you may want to join a local yoga class. This will provide you with a set schedule, camaraderie, and easy to follow instructions. I find that beginners tend to do better when they have a live instructor to help guide them and motivate them.
If you participate in moderate aerobic exercise, it is recommended to get at least 150 minutes per week. You can break this up into 30 minutes sessions 5 times a week or any combination that works for you. If you are doing vigorous exercise, 75 minutes for your weekly total is fine. At the very least, try to get active a minimum of 3 days every week.
Monthly – Mini-Getaways
One of the most important parts of having a year of relaxation is to plan ahead for a family or personal getaway once every month. This doesn’t have to be a huge outing, but it should be just different enough from your normal schedule that it really feels like a break.
Ideally, you should plan to leave for at least the weekend and find something interesting, new, refreshing, fun, spontaneous, unique, relaxing, and/or exciting to do. This could be centered around a specific activity or a location. Do something on your bucket list, go hiking or camping, splurge for a hotel room, visit someone you miss, go on a short road trip, see the local sights that you keep missing, take a spa day, or get a massage.
It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as it is something you enjoy, something that refreshes you, something that makes you happy, and something that feeds your soul.
Yearly – Vacation
Finally, at least once in your year (and more if you are able), you need a longer break. This will look different for everyone, but it is important to choose a special time, location, and set of activities that will draw you so far out of your daily routine that you can shake free from any remaining stresses.
To maximize the effect, you should plan for a minimum of 2 weeks, in which time, you should plan to spend at least half your time in a restful, peaceful state. It is fine to spend the remaining parts of your vacation actively exploring or doing fun activities that can help you clear your mind and breathe in the excitement of your time away from home.
Don’t forget to continue your daily, nightly, and weekly relaxation routines that you have already established. This will enhance the state of restfulness of your vacation and give you the greatest boost possible for your body, mind, and spirit.
Always plan to transition back to your daily home and work schedule by arriving back with a cushion of at least half a day to recuperate from your trip. Use this time to reflect on the time you have spent away.
So there you have a wonderful formula to help you experience a year filled with rest and relaxation. Most assuredly, this rejuvenation shall bring you happiness and fulfillment that will propel you forward with positivity and brightness.
Melanie is mom to five energetic kids, including a sweet little toddler. She enjoys homeschooling her children from a peaceful parenting perspective and traveling with her family whenever she can.