Today is National Relaxation Day! (It is also Lemon Meringue Pie day … happy coincidence?) August 15 is the perfect choice for National Relaxation Day — the kids are going back to school so the mad rush of buying school supplies and battling rush-hour traffic is on, vacations are for the most part behind us, and those long, lazy days of summer are suddenly getting shorter. So now really is a good time to stop, relax a little, and perhaps plan a fall getaway that will help you unwind as things get hectic.
Perhaps having a slice of lemon meringue pie while watching a movie will be enough of a break, but if you need more, consider going on a trip -- now that the mad summer rush is over, hotel rates are cheaper -- meaning you can visit the beach or your favorite city for a fraction of what you would have paid just a few weeks ago.
Take advantage of the slightly cooler weather and plan a late summer camping trip. The Smoky Mountains -- with crisp, morning air and wispy fog between green, rolling peaks -- is a great place to relax. Picture an early-morning campfire, complete quiet except for the intermittent songs of birds, a hot cup of coffee, and a nearby mountain stream. In a couple of weeks, campgrounds will be filling up with leaf-peepers admiring fall's colorful show -- but for now, there's a nice lull between crowds. Perfect!
A quick weekend getaway before school starts may be just the thing your family needs to decompress before homework and soccer practice fills what's left of already busy days. Choose a destination less than four hours away so you can leave Friday after work and return home Sunday evening. Explore a nearby city that you've wanted to visit, rent a mountain cabin for the weekend, find a cozy bed-and-breakfast, or find a nearby historic site or museum you'd enjoy visiting and book a hotel.
No time for even a quick getaway? That's okay! Plan a picnic -- find a great local park and pack a picnic lunch (don't forget the blanket!). If you can, try to find a park near a lake, river, waterfall, or beach and after the picnic, go hiking or swimming. Take your bicycle along and go biking, or find a park with a disc golf course or a tennis court. Or, just find a quiet spot under a tree and stretch out for the afternoon.
Still not feeling relaxed? Then maybe it's time to make a more long-lasting change. In honor of National Relaxation Day, go sign up for a yoga class or try tai-chi. Stress can cause anxiety, insomnia, depression, and can even lead to premature aging and weight gain, so taking even a small step toward relaxation will improve your mood -- and maybe even your health.