As the holiday season approaches, here at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we like to celebrate our very own holiday. We call it Campsgiving, and it’s a time for us to show our appreciation for all the dedicated educators out there, and especially those educators who make our programs including Camp Invention® a success every year. So before we say any more, we want to say THANK YOU, EDUCATORS. Thank you for your dedication, your passion, your patience and your perseverance. Thank you for ALL YOU DO!
We understand that the holiday season can bring with it a mix of both anticipation and apprehension. As inspiring as this time of year can be, it can also become overwhelming – and this can certainly be the case for educators who have been facing so many challenges.
While we all have our own favorite ways to relax and reduce stress, it can also be helpful to explore new paths toward effective self-care. So we’ve gathered a few fun ideas you might like to try.
1. Exploring nature
When we asked some of our NIHF Hall of Famers how they like to relax and recharge, many told us they like to go outdoors and explore nature. For instance, Inductee Jaap Haartsen, inventor of Bluetooth® wireless technology, said, “The best way for me to relax is to take long walks with my wife, preferably in nature. I live in the countryside and I enjoy the environment every day.”
If you find nature relaxing, you might try some new ways to explore outdoors. If you like to hike, for example, it might be refreshing to choose a new park or a new trail. Or you might change your perspective by picking up some binoculars and heading outside to try birdwatching. No matter the time or place, there are many ways to find peace and inspiration in nature.
2. Exploring recipes
Let’s face it — the kitchen is not always a relaxing place. But for many people, it can be a great place to explore, be creative and recharge your energy.
Hall of Famer Margaret Wu considers her kitchen inspiring, and she views it much like she views her lab: as a place where she can make discoveries. In an interview with NIHF, she explained, “I have to admit, I don’t follow the recipe or chemical process. I always like to change something because I always thought maybe I can do better.”
So why not get creative like Margaret Wu? Try some interesting new recipes or develop your own through some fun experimentation. You might stumble upon something delicious and find that exploring in the kitchen can offer some relaxation after all.
3. Exploring scents
If you find certain fragrances calming or comforting, you might consider trying aromatherapy, or using essential oils for relaxation. While some claims of health benefits associated with essential oils have no scientific backing, it is true that scents can help you relax.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.” Lavender is among the most relaxing scents, citrus scents like lemon oil can boost your mood and peppermint oil has been found to help with tension headaches when it’s applied topically. You can find some tips on finding and safely using quality essential oils right here.
4. Exploring music
Like scents, sounds can stimulate your brain, improve your mood and help you unwind. There is value in both playing and listening to music, whether you’re revisiting familiar favorites or exploring songs that are new to you.
According to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, music can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your memory, help with pain management, and make your exercise routines more enjoyable and effective. It can also help you tap into your creativity.
The next time you put on some music, pay attention to how you respond to certain artists or songs. What one person might find irritating or distracting, others find soothing, refreshing or inspiring, so have some fun exploring and discovering what works for you.
What are your favorite ways to relax?
We’d love to hear what works for you! If you try one of the ideas we’ve included here, or if you have an idea you’d like to add, we want to hear from you. Join us on our Camp Invention Facebook page to share some of the relaxing experiences you’ve explored.