In today’s world, we are praised for our never-ending work hours, commitment to multi-tasking, and juggling insane numbers of tasks at once. Life can be exhausting and hella stressful. But in order to be happy, healthy (both mentally healthy and physically healthy) human beings, we absolutely MUST learn how to relax.
Why Do We Need to Relax?
It is incredibly bad for you to come home from work, school, taking care of kids, or anything else you do with the weight of the day on your shoulders.. and never rid yourself of the stress. In order to clear your mind, fully embrace your free time with your family, and truly be in the moment, you absolutely must de-stress, relax, and rejuvenate. (even if you don’t think you have time)
When Do We Need to Relax?
Daily. You need to relax daily!!
I don’t mean that your life should be a cushy, stress-free fairytale. I just mean that you should not live your life in a CONSTANT state of exhaustion, stress, or over-thinking every aspect of your career, hobby, or obligations.
You deserve to empty your mind, focus on you, and spend quality time being present with the people you love.
Unwind At The End of the Work Day
Do your best to “leave work at work” and separate your home life and your work life.
Try some of the relaxation techniques below at the end of the work day to let go of whatever you’ve been thinking about all day.. and focus on your time alone or with family.
Relax Before Bed
There’s nothing worse than being exhausted and trying to sleep.. while your mind is racing. Stressing about the things you didn’t do today, making a mental to-do list for tomorrow. Jumping up to make sure you took care of one last thing tonight.
And not spending quality time with your partner OR getting restful sleep. Both of which you need.
Relax before bed!
De-Stress During a Stressful Day
Sometimes you need to take a minute DURING a stressful day to de-stress and relax. On days when it is all too much, and your job, school work, assignments, duties, or obligations (or the people involved) are overwhelming and pushing you to the breaking point.
You do not have to wait until bed time to relax a little.
Take a moment (or 10) during your day and use a technique below to de-stress.
Use your lunch break, a bathroom break, or ‘go get some air’ to distance yourself from the stressors around you, and relax… just a little!
This will work wonders, not only for your mental health, but also for your productivity and work happiness. Trust me.
Relax After Over-Stimulating Activities (Family Events, Parties, Conferences, Meetings, etc)
We don’t always (want to) think that “Fun” events like parties, family gatherings, conferences with our long-lost peers from school,… etc are Over-stimulating or stressful.
But for many people, these are some of the most stressful situations you can be in!
Having dozens of people around you, talking your ear off, wanting to hear your plans, telling you theirs.. it can be overwhelming.
When you attend functions like this, and suddenly feel out of whack – use some of the relaxation tips below to unwind. If you need a break during the event, refer back to the mid-workday tips above. They apply here too!
YOU NEED TO RELAX EVERY DAY!
What happens to rubber bands who get twisted too tightly.. over, and over, and over, and over?
Don’t be a twisted rubber band. Don’t snap.
You owe it to yourself to relax each and every day – at least a little.
All Humans Need To Relax
You Don’t Have to Be Exhausted, Stressed, Anxious, or Angry To Need Relaxation.
Everyone deserves to relax. Everyone NEEDS to relax.
People that don’t relax (ever), and spend 100% of their time “on” are the ones who end up with huge medical problems later in life.
25 Ways to Relax
Use these relaxation techniques to de-stress, decompress, and allow some time for rejuvenation.
Experiment with a few different methods of relaxation and see which ways to de-stress are the best for you!
Eat a Delicious Meal
Enjoy a delicious meal- not because you’re starving and haven’t eaten all day- but because it’s delicious. Take the time to savor each bite – focus on the flavors you’re experiencing. What makes that dish so delectable?
Some people even prescribe to the Chew 15 times rule (or 30 for tougher foods like steak). Consciously think through each bite you take, and then chew it at least 15 times. This will help slow you down (which is a healthy eating habit!), and also allot more time to truly relish in the tastiness of your meal!
Pamper Yourself a Bit
Take some simple steps to pamper yourself. These need not be expensive, as you can choose at-home pampering options! Paint your nails, wash your hair, eat a delicious “cheat” treat like a fancy chocolate.
Spend just a little bit of time focusing on you, and give yourself something that you want.
Take a Hot Bath or Shower
This is one of the best, easiest, and cheapest ways to relax!
Hop in the tub or shower, let the hot water do its thing, and try not to think about anything at all!
Just let the suds wash your troubles away.
Write in a Journal – Brain Dump or Vent
Sometimes we simply cannot relax if we have too much in our heads. We need to let it out.
Rather than continue to stress over the same thing for hours and hours- write it down.
Use your journal to brain dump – get out all your feelings, thoughts, and ideas (as a bonus, this will help ensure that you don’t forget the huge mental to-do list you’re making!), and then close it.
OR, if you are incredibly frustrated and need to vent- save your spouse, BFF, or poor child or fur baby.. and vent to your journal. The journal won’t be offended by your name-calling, petty annoyances or anything else.
Let. it. all. out.
Then close the journal and let it go. Be relaxed for the rest of the day!
Unplug for 30 minutes
If we’re being honest here, technology and social media are often HUGE stressors and causes for concern, worry, comparison.. the list goes on.
Instead of thinking about whether or not he’ll call you back, if she’s going to text two emoji’s instead of one.. or mindlessly scrolling through peoples’ “totally perfect lives” on FB and Insta…
Put it away.
Go outside. Read a book. Just don’t use your phone, computer, or internet for at least 30 minutes.
The real pros can go for longer… can you?
Empty your mind, relax your body. Focus on your breathing.
If you can quiet your mind, meditation is arguably the best form of relaxation.
Reflect on the Good Things
It is incredibly easy to get caught up exclusively thinking about the bad things, the difficulties of our lives, the things that stress us out and call for our attention.
After all, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
And good news makes for a boring news cycle.. or something like that.
But don’t give in to these societal norms of where your focus should lie!
When you start to get overwhelmed or tired, (or just do this daily!), reflect on the good things in your life. Find a few specific to that day or week, or think about your overall situation.
Replace all the negative energy in your mind with positive energy, and you will naturally relax.
Get to Bed Early
Almost no one gets enough sleep anymore, it seems. Lack of sleep is certainly one of the leading causes of exhaustion, burn out, obesity, anxiety, and stress.
Learn to relax by simply going to bed earlier.
Get adequate sleep.
Wake up refreshed, and ready to take on the next day.
One step at a time.
Binge Watch [a few episodes of] Your Favorite Show
I’m not saying plopping down on the couch is the only way to relax. But sometimes you need to take a load off – mentally and physically.
Chill in a comfy chair or couch, watch a couple of your favorite episodes, and let the show take you away.
Get swept up in the plot of a great show or movie – that’s how you relax! (as long as it’s not a thriller where you must escape or die.. I don’t mean go watch Bird Box…)
Read a Book
An arguably better version of the last relaxation tip- read a book! Get lost in a great story.
Learn something new!
Better yourself, or transport yourself to a different world.
Forget about your troubles and enjoy a relaxing hour reading a fabulous book. Kindles are a great way to do this without filling your house with books or breaking the bank!
Count to 10
Sometimes you just need to take a second (or 10) and remove yourself from a situation.
Close your eyes. Slowly count to 10. Ease back into reality.
Take 10 Deep Breaths
Similarly (but slower), take ten deep breaths.
This will get some fresh air in your body, get your blood flowing through your veins, oxygen pumping to your brain, and give you just a moment to yourself.
Do this slowly with intention. (no hyperventilating. That’s missing the point.. dangerously)
Trust me on this. It’ll help.
Stretching has many similar benefits to deep breathing.
Stretching helps loosen up your muscles (RELAX, GIRL!), get oxygen and blood flowing through your body, and give you just a moment to collect (or dump) your thoughts.
Stretching is a healthy part of any daily routine. It’s recommended to do at least in the morning and at night. If you have a sedentary – type of job, you should do it more often.. and of course as a way to relax!
Drink Your Favorite Hot Beverage
There’s just something comforting about drinking a delicious hot beverage. Maybe it takes us back to Grandma’s house with hot chocolate.. to romantic mornings with our loves.. who knows.
But drinking .. no.. sipping! A delicious hot beverage can do wonders for you when trying to relax.
*Remember, coffee isn’t the only option. Hot chocolate (my fave) and many teas are out there for you as well.. and not all are caffeinated!
Rant or Vent to A Pet, Stuffed Animal, or Inanimate Object.. Then Let it Go
This is quite like writing in a journal to let all of your thoughts, feelings, and frustrations out.. except it’s audible!
If you need to cry, yell, or just talk through a situation but don’t wish to burden your loved ones.. tell it to the dog! Go yell at your stuffed rabbit.. tell the cactus what a JERK Bob from work was today!
Do what you’ve gotta do. Get it all out.
Then let it go.
Go spend quality time with your loved ones.. without burdening them with your problems, and without the weight of your problems squashing all the fun out of you!
Look Through Fun Old Photos
Go find an old photo album (the older, the better) and look through.
Not the perfunctory fast-flipping.. I mean take your time, and look at each picture.
Remember the story of what was happening that day (or what your Grandma told you happened back then) – think back fondly on your family members.. what was so hilarious that made everyone laugh?
What event got you all together that day?
Get lost in another world.. but your own world!
This exercise will not only take your mind off of the current situation, it will also (hopefully) remind you of great times with people you love. And gratitude is the best relaxation technique of them all!
Play a Game (low intensity)
A word to the wise: only do this if you:
- A: are not an incredibly competitive person.. and will not become further stressed out by possibly losing a game
- B: can find a non-competitive game that will not turn you into the person I mentioned in letter A;
Listen to Calming Music or Sounds
Find a playlist of Brahms piano sonatas, Mozart symphonies, Jack Johnson, or something else you find utterly relaxing.
Put it on, close your eyes, and learn how to relax!
Alternately, you can try soothing sounds like rain, rainforest sounds, etc.
All of these are available in Amazon Music.
Do a Puzzle
You’ll use all of your focus and energy working the puzzle, rather than on your problems.
Trust me, this is more relaxing than you’d think.
Practice a Craft
Practicing a craft can mean “crafting” in a traditional sense. Cross stitch, sewing, painting, etc.
But, it can also mean something else that requires skill and focus, such as playing an instrument, building furniture, etc.
The idea is to put loads of energy, effort, and intent behind “work” that you love.. but is fun and lets you unwind.
Cook a Healthy Meal
Cooking can be a fun, relaxing hobby, and it also provides the added benefit of an edible (hopefully delicious) final product.
Having something to be proud of and enjoy at the end of a ‘work’ session can be wildly rewarding.. so go ahead and cook yourself a healthy meal.
Your body AND mind will thank you for it!
Go for a Walk
Get outside. Move your body. Get fresh air. Exercise.
Go for a walk to relax.
Call Your Best Friend
Best friends have this way of fixing all of your problems if you tell them what they are. OR, of distracting you by telling you their problems, a hilarious story, or juicy gossip!
If you need to relax, call your best friend. They’ll know just what to do.
There’s no need to spend a fortune on getting a massage just to relax a little at home.
If you grab one of these awesome self-massaging tools, you’ll be able to get rid of those pesky knots in your back, shoulders, and feet and finally CHILL.
I also personally love the head scratcher. It seems so simple, but it works wonders. Truly.
Have an In-House Dance Party & Sing at the Top of Your Lungs
Sometimes relaxing doesn’t mean being still and quiet – it means letting all of your bad feelings go, and bringing good ones in.. screaming and shouting!
Find a great playlist of your favorite music, crank up the jams – and sing and dance your heart out.
Trust me. This is my official favorite way to destress. I know you’ll love it too!
Learn YOUR Best Way to De-Stress and Relax
Once you figure out which one(s) of these relaxation techniques and de-stressing methods works best for you, practice them often!
Some should be used on a daily basis as part of a daily routine – and others you’ll probably want to have ready for particularly stressful or exhausting days.
Whatever you do- figure out how to relax.. and do it. For me, do it for you, and do it for the people you love.
and remember – make good life choices!