Eh, Can Relax or Not?
Relaxation is not a waste of time. It’s necessary.

What day is it today?

Feels like Day 2425246 from when we all kena WFH.

Now we’re in which phase of the phase after the Circuit Breaker phase? Limpeh confused liao.

There are too many things that limpeh don’t know. Like when I can take aeroplane again. Or when I can see my bb again. I very stressed because I want to plan things but I don’t know how to plan because just cannot plan.

I call my friend Celeste Chong, founder of The Inside Job, to ask for help. Last time, she already tell us how to avoid burnout with some sibei useful tips. So limpeh just have a sharing session with her about my stress.

I show you my conversation on the WhatApps with her. I think she break down my situation quite well. Don’t say limpeh never share!

Limpeh: Hey Celeste, these days I very stressed leh? People keep telling me to relax. Aiyah, why they say until like that? Stress then stress lor, right? I just have to do my job and take care of family mah.

Celeste: To relax means to be less tense, or to cast off nervous tension or anxiety and to seek rest or recreation. So if we don’t relax, we have nervous tension or anxiety, and we are not resting. This means we are stressed, and stress weakens the immune system. That would make us prone to falling sick.

Limpeh: Oh, liddat ah. Then issit got benefit when I relax?

Celeste: When you are physically relaxed, you are loosening tension in your muscles. When you are psychologically relaxed, stress and distraction are not at the top of your mind. When you are deeply relaxed, your brain waves slow down and can shift from the active Beta state to the Alpha (creative, relaxed state which encourage the healthy functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system — the rest and digest mode), Theta (meditative state) and Delta (deep sleep, where healing and self-regeneration occurs).

Deep relaxation can lower heart rates, blood pressure, and can improve hypertension, arthritis, insomnia, depression, and even ageing.

Limpeh: WAH! So cheem, but sounds good. Then how to be relaxed?

Celeste: We have been conditioned to believe that to achieve success we must be constantly working hard. With this mindset, we think of relaxation as unproductive and maybe a rare treat or reward after a period of hard work.

Ask a fitness coach and they will tell you that rest and recovery time for athletes training for marathons or triathlons is just as important to the physical training. Likewise, your productivity and creativity dip when we push ourselves too hard and when we are operating in a constant state of stress.

Limpeh: I see, I see. Issit must do every day?

Celeste: I definitely recommend relaxation as part of your daily routine. Coming from the ‘hustle culture’, I used to grind and say “sleep when I’m dead”… but with relaxation as part of my daily routine, I am more calm and productive. Ideas flow faster and I work more efficiently.I also look younger than 41, right? LOL.

Celeste also gives us tips on how to relax:

1. Mantra Chanting
Sit with your eyes closed and take slow deep breaths. Repeat a mantra for 15 mins. For example, if you are feeling anxious, you could repeat this line: “I am safe. I am at peace. I am okay in this moment.”

2. Meditating
For those who may be have body pain or if you have more time for deep relaxation, Celeste got this lobang — this 45-min Mindfulness Body Scan meditation by Stress reduction expert Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is also a scientist, writer and meditation teacher.

3. Aromatherapy
For quick relaxation, I find essential oils to be helpful. My current go-to is the Meditation blend by Edens Garden. I put a few drops on my palms, rub them together and inhale. I sit for 5 mins taking slow deep breaths. Remember to dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil before applying it directly your skin.

4. Stretch it out
For most of us hunched over our laptops working from home, so here’s a 20-min slow stretch for hands and shoulders that will help you relax. Your hands will thank you after!

5. Rise & Thrive
I have come up with this toolkit for a busy professional to relax and build up resilience. It is for those who have heard of meditation but don’t know where to start or have no time. Designed to be consumed in short sittings over 5 weeks, it contains practical tips and practices for daily life. Learn more here. For our CCB friends, you can enjoy 5% off Rise & Thrive (UP $133) with discount code 5OFFCCB before 30 June 2020.