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National Relaxation Day

National Relaxation Day was first observed on August 15, 1985. Sean Moeller, a nine-year-old fourth grader from Clio, Michigan, came up with the holiday on August 14, 1984. "Well, I was with my grandpa in the basement," he said of that day, "and I was just thinking and lying around and relaxing and I thought that maybe it would be good to have a national relaxation day." "People don't think enough about relaxing," said Sean. "They think too much about working, and that's not good because if you work too hard, then you can get a fever or get run-down and maybe even get sick." His grandfather happened to be William D. Chase, publisher of Chase's Annual Events (now Chase's Calendar of Events), so it didn't take long for the holiday to become known and gain some credibility.

Relaxing is important because it decreases the effects of stress on the mind and the body. It slows the heart and breathing rate and lowers blood pressure. It lowers stress hormones like cortisol, reduces muscle tension and chronic pain, and reduces anger, frustration, and fatigue. It controls blood sugar levels and improves digestion, focus, mood, and sleep quality. There are a number of coping methods and techniques that people use to relax and combat stress. Common coping methods include exercising regularly, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, thinking positively, managing one's time and priorities, reaching out to family and friends, and spending time outside. Relaxation techniques generally have to do with refocusing on something calming and increasing awareness of the body. Common relaxation techniques include autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, deep breathing, massage, meditation, Tai chi, yoga, music and art therapy, aromatherapy, and hydrotherapy.

How to Observe National Relaxation Day

  • Take a break from work.
  • Enjoy some tea. Chamomile, green, black, and peppermint are excellent choices for relaxation.
  • Diffuse essential oils. Some of the best for promoting relaxation are lavender, sweet basil, and ylang-ylang, which all contain the stress-reducing compound linalool.
  • Try some nervines like milky oats, skullcap, valerian, lemon balm, or passionflower, or adaptogens like ashwagandha, eleuthero, or ginseng.
  • Sample some dark chocolate.
  • Meditate.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Exercise. Go for a swim, go for a run, or go for a walk.
  • Get a massage.
  • Do some journaling.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Read a book.
  • Solve a puzzle.
  • Watch a film.
  • Watch your favorite television show.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Laugh.
  • Take a bath.
  • Chew gum.
  • Talk to a friend.
  • Get some sun at the beach.
  • Try autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization.
  • Practice Tai Chi.
  • Try hydrotherapy.
  • Experiment with music and art therapy.
  • Share what you are doing to relax on social media with the hashtag #NationalRelaxationDay.

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