Life can be pretty stressful, and we spend a lot of it trying to get everything done at 100mph. We could all do with more time to relax especially when we are feeling stressed or worried. Having some relaxation time might not make those worries disappear but it can help you refocus and give you a mental break.
There are lots of ways to relax and lots of exercises you can do to help and some of them don’t take long. Here are some tips on how you can fit relaxation into your daily life.
You don’t have to take lots of time but just stepping away from your desk or something stressful for a few minutes can help you reset and feel calmer. Clearing your thoughts and giving yourself some distance can work wonders. If you’re not at work, you could read a book or magazine or if you’ve got a bit longer, run yourself a bath, watch a film or do some cooking.
Having some relaxation time doesn’t mean you have to sit still, gentle exercise can help you relax especially if you’re having a stressful day. You could go out for a walk at your own pace, you could do a group exercise like Pilates or yoga, or you could do some stretching exercises (some of these could even be done at your desk!)
Doing some breathing exercises or even just breathing more deeply can help you feeler calmer. The other advantage of focusing on your breathing is that it only takes a few minutes to make a difference and you can do it anywhere. You could try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth and counting as you breathe. There are some other good techniques out there, you could have a look at the Wim Hof Method or box breathing.
Getting in touch with your creative side can help you calm down and reduce your stress levels. You could try painting, drawing, making crafts, playing a musical instrument, dancing, baking, or sewing. While you’re doing it try not to focus on the finished product but just on enjoying yourself.
Spending some time in nature can be good for both your physical and mental health. Take some time out in a green space if you can and make sure to notice when nature has to show around you, like the trees, plants, or animals. If you can find a local conservation project, get involved or just do your own in your garden if you have one.
Even if you aren’t able to get away from your desk, you can use your imagination to transport you to somewhere calmer. You could think of somewhere relaxing and peaceful, close your eyes and think of the details in that place. What does it look like? What can you see? What sounds are there? Is it warm or cold? Immerse yourself in those thoughts and let your body relax.
Put on one of your favourite songs, have a dance or a sing along or just close your eyes and enjoy the music. If you’re still struggling for focus, try to pick out the individual instruments or focus on the rhythm until you clear your head.
Whilst technology can be great for feeling connected, it can add to the pressure when you’re feeling busy and stressed. One way of avoiding this is to take a break from it for even a short while. You could turn off your phone for an hour, have an evening where you don’t check emails or go on social media, and you could then use that time to do something you find relaxing.
If you are finding things really difficult, it’s ok to ask for help. Try talking to one of your friends or talking to your GP to see where you can get some help. You’re not alone and if you are finding things hard, seeking out some help can be the start of things getting better. Please share if you can as you never know when one of your friends might need to know that they’re not alone.