Finding ways to relax is one key to enjoying life. Relaxation calms your fears and helps you release stress. Having less pent up stress can be helpful for fighting disease and staying healthy.
If you haven’t been good at relaxing, how do you start? First, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. Negative vibes from friends and co-workers can spread, making it hard for you to relax. Avoid them or, even better, have them join you in some spirit-raising activity!
Here are top 20 good ways to relax:
Yes, you heard me just fine. When you live in a tiny, shoe-box shaped apartment in the middle of Manhattan, your bed takes on many titles. Multi-tasking becomes a must, and eating in bed happens often. I’m not talking full-blown meals, but I am talking Buttercup cupcake parties with a glass of wine, a paper-towel wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a snack-pack cottage cheese to comfort a late night growl and of course, snacks of various assortments during movie time (I’d prefer watching a movie in bed over the couch any day).
2. USE AROMATHERAPY
The sense of smell is actually one the best senses to use when you are looking for ways to relax. Lavender, lilac and even the scent of vanilla and jasmine all have calming effects and can instantly help your body calm down and your brain to shut up. I know that when I sit in a room and it is filled with lavender scent, I instantly feel more relaxed than before.
No, no… not what you think. My bed doesn’t so much double as a washer/dryer as it does play host as I sort, fold and pile all of my clothes that are ready to be laundered or have come from the fresh from the cleaners.
I’ve always had a hard time turning my brain off. I think about everything from what I am going to wear tomorrow to money problems. It’s hard to relax when you have so much on your mind, but that is why meditating is so important. Taking time out each and every day to sit somewhere and meditate is a great way to turn your brain off and truly relax.
5. CREATING SPACE FOR YOURSELF
What I have found from my own personal experience, the best way to relax in today’s modern age, you need to consciously create space for yourself to manage and reduce stress. You have to learn to put yourself and your health first, rather than last on your daily list of to dos.
This sounds easy, but in reality it will be one of the hardest things you commit yourself to and it will require daily reaffirmation, dedication and persistence. You are going against the grain of modern day society. In our sped up world, we are asking you to make a conscious choice to slow down.
If you feel like you need to be moving in order to relax, yoga is a great exercise. Yoga teaches you to concentrate on breathing and truly allows you to relax through movement. This is one of the fun and healthy ways to relax that I use all of the time!
7. FIVE MINUTES OF QUITE TIME
Retreat to a room alone and close the door behind you. Sit comfortably in a chair, on a bed, or cross-legged on the floor and practice deep-breathing. Simply taking five minutes to retreat to your own space can provide a calming effect. You will begin to feel your body relax almost immediately.
8. USE COMEDY
Laughter is the best form of relaxation. Not only does it trigger your brain, but it does make your body relax too. Go to a comedy club, rent a funny movie or have a conversation with your BFF and bring up something funny – you’ll have fun and laugh your way to relaxation!
9. PAINT WITH WATER COLOUR
Painting is a great way to relax. Watercolors are especially recommended because there is no “right” way to use them. Allow your mind to relax as you move the brush over the paper and paint away your stress. Think and paint like a child, by letting the colors flow and mix together.
10. BUBBLE BATH
I have an unhealthy obsession with baths – I love them. I love the idea of just slipping into a bath after a hard day at work and relaxing. Typically – I fall asleep in my bathtub (because it’s a claw foot tub and it’s huge!) but did you know it’s also a great way to unwind? So throw in some bubbles, slip into the hot water and grab a good book!
Journaling has many stress and health benefits, making it a great way to end the day. Writing in a journal before bed can clear your mind, help you process emotions, solve problems, mentally prepare for the next day, make plans, and get your thoughts out of your head and on the page, where they can be picked up the next morning. A gratitude journal can get you in a positive frame of mind for sleep, and over time helps you change your whole frame of mind to a more positive, less stressed one.
Think about it: clearing your mind and just focusing on the storyline of a really good book? It’s one of the best ways to relax! I love curling up in bed, no TV just me and my book, it’s a great way to let my mind be somewhere else and for me to really lose myself in the characters. Right now – Harry Potter has all of my attention, what books are you guys reading?
For those in a committed relationship, sex is known as a great nighttime stress reliever for a reason! Not only does a healthy sex life enhance your relationship, but it relaxes your body, releases ‘happy’ chemicals, and even promotes wellness. And, of course, it welcomes sleep. Unfortunately, excessive stress can also be a libido dampener.
14. DRINK GREEN TEA
Green tea has a ton of different benefits, but did you know that if you drink hot or cold green tea, it could actually help you to relax? The reason for this is because it is packed with all sorts of different relaxation properties inside of it. So just grab your tea bag, some hot water and curl up on the couch – instantly, you’ll feel relaxed!
15. BREATHE DEEP, THEN DO IT AGAIN
Ever see someone sitting criss-cross-applesauce and saying “OM” over and over? That’s meditating, and it can help you relax. You don’t have to sit cross-legged to meditate — just breathe deep. Try this for 10 minutes: Pretend your stomach is a balloon, and slowly fill it up as you breathe. Or pretend you’re inhaling a rainbow. Repeat a happy word as you breathe out.
16. CREATE A RELAXATION ROOM
My idea of a relaxation room is a room that is painted up in calming blues, has fabric draped from the ceiling and is filled with huge comfy chairs and tons of pillows. Even though I can’t necessarily create my own relaxation room to that extent, I it’s still a great idea to just create a space for you to relax in. For me, right now, I have a big pink round chair with an awesome ottoman – that’s where I go when I want to relax.
17. LAUGH IT OFF
Who doesn’t like to LOL? Scientists have shown that laughing can lower your stress or even help keep you from getting sick. So figure out a way to start laughing. At lunch with your friends, see who can tell the funniest joke. If you’re watching TV, pick a funny show instead of a serious or scary one. Or after dinner, ask your parents to tell funny stories from when they were kids.
18. MAKE A CD
Next to aromatherapy, music can actually help change your mood from stressed to calm in just a matter of minutes. Creating a CD or changing out the music on your MP3 player is a great way to jam out to tunes you might not have heard in a while! Placebo is the band that makes me relaxed, what about you?
Ladies, I know that we have a ton on our plate constantly, but you have to find small ways to relax that can work flawlessly into your lifestyle. Relaxing is important, especially if you are in a high-stress job. I know that these tips and tricks for ways to relax work, so give some of them a try!
19. SMELL SOMETHING GOOD
Scents like lavender, rosemary, and sandalwood don’t just smell good — they can actually lower your body’s stress hormones. You can find these scents in lotions and bath products. You may be able to find dried rosemary in your pantry. Or try growing your own rosemary or lavender plant for a natural, stress-busting air freshener.