When's the last time you chilled out?
In today's hustle-focused world, it can be difficult to prioritize rest. Even the idea of down-time can be seen as lazy or unproductive. But experts say that's the wrong way to think about it. De-stressing through relaxation can have a positive impact in a variety of ways.
"We can be more productive, not less productive, by incorporating some of these habits into our daily lives," says Angela D. Coleman, holistic health specialist and author of "The Art of Chilling Out for Women" (out Tuesday, April 4). "It's this downtime that is actually essential to us being able to keep doing what we do, to keep being passionate about our causes... to have healthy relationships with our significant others. We need that time."
While the importance of rest and relaxation is recognized and practiced in other cultures, Coleman notes that in the United States it can be something that takes adjusting to for everyone, but especially for women.
This is because women are typically viewed as the, she explains, with the needs of children, care of elderly parents or a list of other responsibilities often leaving this demographic feeling selfish or guilty for taking time to themselves.
"If we don't put a stop to it and create boundaries and redefine how we want to exist in the world, it just never ends," she says.
In her book, Coleman shares more than 100 ways to lean into chilling out, but to help anyone get started on their journey, she shared her top three points for beginners:
Love yourself: Before anything else, Coleman says it's important to set a foundation of self-respect and self-worth in order to understand you deserve to take a break, take care of yourself and take time to relax.
"Listen to your body and don't totally allow others to validate who you are and what you need," she says.
For many, this won't come easy.
"Even when you get to the point where you have really healthy self-esteem and self-love, it still will take some work to maintain it because there will be things that cause you to question," she explains.
Focus on restorative rest: "Is doing nothing better than doing something? You bet," Coleman says, explaining lots of things that look like "doing nothing" are actually doing something beneficial such as healing, contemplating or visioning.
So instead of feeling like you "should be doing something," remember that "doing nothing is awesome," Coleman adds. For herself, as a manager of a nonprofit, she says it's an essential step to make space for envisioning future plans and goals.
"If you lead anything, you manage people and you have a vision and you're responsible for implementing that vision, you've got to take time to just have that vision and to do visioning work. It doesn't just come," she says.
Use the "CAR" method: In chapter 31 of her book, Coleman explains the benefits of using the CAR method to attain peace and balance in an ever-changing (and stressful) world. The letters stand for:
- Change acceptance
- Adaptive action
- Relaxation and letting go
Going through these steps, she explains, can help you accept change and move forward.
"If you're completely resistant (to change), you're still living in the past, you're not able to fully grasp the blessings of your present and your future," she explains, adding that not adapting to change can keep us trapped in a negativity mindset.
"When you chill out, you don't want to ruminate in negativity. That defeats the purpose," she says. "You want to really elevate yourself and your quality of life."
Coleman's book, "The Art of Chilling Out for Women," is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS's parent company, Paramount Global.
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