Wellness

National Relaxation Day: 8 Things We Forbid You to Do Today

Written by
Stephanie Lysaght
PHOTOGRAPHS BY
Laure Joliet for Parachute

Happy National Relaxation Day! At Parachute, our goal is to make your home an oasis of calm, but we know that modern life can creep in and thwart the plans of even the most dedicated relaxation aficionados. So here are 8 stress traps to avoid this August 15, so you can carpe the relaxation diem and emerge your chillest self yet.  

01

Skimp on Sleep

Even die-hard sleep enthusiasts like Team Parachute know there are times in life when a perfect eight hours is just not in the cards. But today is not one of those days! According to Psychology Today, “brain activity after periods of sleep deprivation mirrors brain activity indicative of anxiety disorders.” So prime yourself for a laid-back day by getting a good night’s sleep – or, better yet, by sleeping in.

01

Skimp on Sleep

Even die-hard sleep enthusiasts like Team Parachute know there are times in life when a perfect eight hours is just not in the cards. But today is not one of those days! According to Psychology Today, “brain activity after periods of sleep deprivation mirrors brain activity indicative of anxiety disorders.” So prime yourself for a laid-back day by getting a good night’s sleep – or, better yet, by sleeping in.

02

Eat Lunch at Your Desk

Why are you eating lunch at your desk? You are not a robot. (Are you?). Take time away from your screen/work today at lunch – and give your brain the R&R it needs to come back swinging post-break. And don’t feel the least bit guilty about it; taking a lunch break actually improves productivity. As USC scientist Jennifer Deal told Forbes, “Energy isn’t unlimited, and just as athletes have halftime to rest during a game, employees need to rest so they can do their best work.”

02

Eat Lunch at Your Desk

Why are you eating lunch at your desk? You are not a robot. (Are you?). Take time away from your screen/work today at lunch – and give your brain the R&R it needs to come back swinging post-break. And don’t feel the least bit guilty about it; taking a lunch break actually improves productivity. As USC scientist Jennifer Deal told Forbes, “Energy isn’t unlimited, and just as athletes have halftime to rest during a game, employees need to rest so they can do their best work.”

03

Stay Stagnant

Inertia may seem like the ultimate relaxation but according to every person who has ever binged a whole season of Black Mirror in one sitting, immobility actually boosts feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. So get moving. Whether your go-to is a chill Qi Gong or a heart thumping workout class, you will feel so relaxed afterwards you might think this day is named after you. According to The Huffington Post, exercise is actually more effective than quintessentially relaxing activities for stress reduction, because “chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down.”

03

Stay Stagnant

Inertia may seem like the ultimate relaxation but according to every person who has ever binged a whole season of Black Mirror in one sitting, immobility actually boosts feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. So get moving. Whether your go-to is a chill Qi Gong or a heart thumping workout class, you will feel so relaxed afterwards you might think this day is named after you. According to The Huffington Post, exercise is actually more effective than quintessentially relaxing activities for stress reduction, because “chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down.”

04

Text Your Friends

Why is it that an hour spent texting with a friend can leave you feeling giddy at first, and then empty and weird after the fact? It’s because, as studies consistently show, tech simply can not replace the face to face interaction humans need in order to feel seen, heard and as a result, relaxed. So on a day like today, it’s rosé IRL.

04

Text Your Friends

Why is it that an hour spent texting with a friend can leave you feeling giddy at first, and then empty and weird after the fact? It’s because, as studies consistently show, tech simply can not replace the face to face interaction humans need in order to feel seen, heard and as a result, relaxed. So on a day like today, it’s rosé IRL.

05

Tackle Your To-Do List

I can just hear you productivity addicts, revolting: “But tackling my chores makes me feel relaxed!”  Yeah, yeah – we’re not falling for it. Consider this an intervention, and swap that “to-do list” for a “too fun list.”  Do whatever makes you feel relaxed: a massage, a bubble bath, a bike ride… It’s National Relaxation Day, and it would be un-American not to! 

05

Tackle Your To-Do List

I can just hear you productivity addicts, revolting: “But tackling my chores makes me feel relaxed!”  Yeah, yeah – we’re not falling for it. Consider this an intervention, and swap that “to-do list” for a “too fun list.”  Do whatever makes you feel relaxed: a massage, a bubble bath, a bike ride… It’s National Relaxation Day, and it would be un-American not to! 

06

Get Sucked into the Phone Zone

You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? But ABC News says smartphone use causes anxiety, period. So, set a timer, handle the must-dos, and then turn that thing off. Yes, setting a timer sounds a bit militant and so not Relaxation-Day-approp, but otherwise you could get sucked in, and look up when National Relaxation Day is over! So do what you’ve got to and then unplug. Consider it a staycation for your sanity. 

06

Get Sucked into the Phone Zone

You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? But ABC News says smartphone use causes anxiety, period. So, set a timer, handle the must-dos, and then turn that thing off. Yes, setting a timer sounds a bit militant and so not Relaxation-Day-approp, but otherwise you could get sucked in, and look up when National Relaxation Day is over! So do what you’ve got to and then unplug. Consider it a staycation for your sanity. 

07

Put Off Romance

You’ve heard it a million times, but let’s make it a million and one: sex releases feel-good hormone oxytocin and relieves anxiety. In other words, it’s basically nature’s Xanax. So spending a little time between the sheets is a perfect addition to your National Relaxation Day agenda. We feel more relaxed already…

07

Put Off Romance

You’ve heard it a million times, but let’s make it a million and one: sex releases feel-good hormone oxytocin and relieves anxiety. In other words, it’s basically nature’s Xanax. So spending a little time between the sheets is a perfect addition to your National Relaxation Day agenda. We feel more relaxed already…

08

Reprimand your Spouse, Kids, Coworkers or Self

For today, just let it all sliiiiide.  There is a high correlation between criticizing others and criticizing yourself, and fault-finding of any kind is pretty much the least relaxing thing you can do. So challenge yourself to take the day off and see how it goes. If you miss picking apart yourself and others, don’t worry – their faults and yours will still be there to deride tomorrow! But for National Relaxation Day, focus on the good. Your family, work colleagues and blood pressure will thank you. 

08

Reprimand your Spouse, Kids, Coworkers or Self

For today, just let it all sliiiiide.  There is a high correlation between criticizing others and criticizing yourself, and fault-finding of any kind is pretty much the least relaxing thing you can do. So challenge yourself to take the day off and see how it goes. If you miss picking apart yourself and others, don’t worry – their faults and yours will still be there to deride tomorrow! But for National Relaxation Day, focus on the good. Your family, work colleagues and blood pressure will thank you.