Sit back, put your feet up and relax – it’s National Relaxation Day! Every year on August 15, people around the country take the time to slow down, blow off some steam and practice self-care. Whether your idea of relaxation is a spa day or playing your favorite online casino games, taking the time to unwind from life’s stresses is essential to your mental and physical wellbeing.
National Relaxation Day was founded in 1985 and has since been recognized by charities, media organizations and institutions such as the US Army, the Mental Health Foundation and BBC Earth. The idea is attributed to Michigan-born Sean Moeller, who was a fourth-grader when he suggested it. Moeller proposed that on that day, people should refrain from doing anything of real value, noting that work and cleaning were not conducive to relaxation.
While it may not be possible for everyone to take National Relaxation Day off from work and other chores, you can still set aside time to indulge in a relaxing activity or set an intention to adopt a positive mindset. Let’s take a look at the benefits and importance of relaxation, as well as some tips and activities to help you chill out.
Signs you need to relax
While stress levels constantly fluctuate, prolonged stress can have a lasting effect on people’s mental and physical health. According to studies, 77% of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms of stress, while 73% report experiencing psychological symptoms (American Psychological Association, 2017). These signs and symptoms include:
- Fatigue and sleeping difficulties
- Frequent headaches and muscle tension
- High blood pressure
- Digestive issues and weight changes
- Elevated heart rate
- Anxiety or irritability
- Depression and concentration difficulties
- Panic attacks.
Benefits of relaxation
Deadlines, traffic jams, bills and to-do lists. While these things are largely unavoidable, their effect on our stress levels can radically alter the way we think, feel and behave. This makes relaxation essential to our healthcare. Benefits include:
- Decreased heart rate
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improved digestion
- Balanced blood sugar levels
- Reduced muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improved focus and mood
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced fatigue.
4 ways to celebrate National Relaxation Day
What each person considers relaxing is entirely subjective. Here are just a few things you can try out this National Relaxation Day or the next time you’re in need of some serious chill.
Meditation is an age-old practice that has gained significant scientific interest in recent years. It is the ultimate antidote to stress, working to directly trigger the body’s relaxation response, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system. Regular meditation has been proven to reverse the effects of stress, boost energy and mental clarity and improve mood and the ability to handle stress. There are also a number of different types of meditations to choose from, from guided relaxation techniques such as yoga nidra to visualization meditations, breathwork, transcendental meditation and much more.
2. Play casino games online
One of the best ways to relax and unwind is by indulging in your favorite games and activities. Studies have shown that people who laugh more experience not only negative emotions less frequently but also find stressful situations easier to handle (Kuiper & Martin, 1998). If you like to play slots online or other casino table games, you’ll want to choose games that aren’t high stakes and put you under pressure in order to get the stress-fighting benefits. You might want to choose casino card games with the best odds or nature-themed slot games and avoid high-pressure events like poker tournaments, as well as table games you haven’t tried before (at least on National Relaxation Day!)
3. Treat yourself
Whether it’s with a decadent hot chocolate and your current favorite Netflix show, an essential oil-infused bath or a therapeutic massage at a spa, National Relaxation Day is the perfect day to treat yourself to a nurturing activity that will leave you feeling grateful and at ease.
4. Spend time in nature
When measuring muscle tension, blood pressure and brain activity, numerous studies have proved that stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature. Green spaces can reduce cortisol levels and boost endorphin levels and dopamine production, leaving you happier, more relaxed and healthier. From walks and hikes to fishing, picnics and bird watching, time spent in nature is always a good idea.
If, for some reason, you aren’t able to get outdoors, spending time around houseplants is a great alternative! A 2007 study found a bacterium in plant soil called Mycobacterium vaccae that triggers the release of serotonin, which lifts mood and reduces anxiety! A 2015 study titled “How the interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults” further concluded that house plants can boost creativity, improve concentration and clear the air of airborne toxins that negatively impact your sleep, mood and energy.
Relax with your favorite online casino games at BetMGM
The top online casinos offer a range of entertainment for every taste and every day. When you register with BetMGM, you’ll be able to access live dealer casino games, online slots and much more whenever the mood strikes.