Being able to relax and unwind is an important skill that is often underrated. High levels of stress are bad for our health. Relaxation helps us to combat stress and makes us better able to cope with the challenges we face in our daily lives.
Developing strategies to help you relax can be very valuable, especially during busy and difficult times. We all have different preferences when it comes to relaxing so it’s important to find out what works for you. We’ve listed some different ways to relax and unwind.
Consciously focusing on your breathing and taking slow, deep breaths can reduce stress and help you feel calmer. Find a quiet space and do a breathing exercise. Before you begin, get into a comfortable position, either sitting up or lying on your back, and close your eyes. You may like to do your deep breathing in silence or put some quiet, relaxing music on in the background.
Sometimes we can find it hard to relax when we have a lot on our minds. Write down the things that are worrying you and how you’re feeling. If you’re thinking about all the tasks you need to do, write them down and prioritise them based on what is most urgent. Putting things onto paper can give us a sense of relief, help us see things in a new way and help us to let go.
Animals and nature
Spending time with pets and being in nature have both been shown to reduce anxiety and stress. You could spend some time patting or playing with your pet. If you don’t have a pet, you could go for a walk in nature or just find a spot to sit outside.
Care for your body
Caring for our bodies is a great way to relax and help us feel better. Gentle exercise such as a walk or stretching can reduce stress and tension. Doing something to pamper yourself such as having a bath or doing a face mask can be soothing and help you take a break.
Doing something creative can take our mind off things and provide a sense of enjoyment. You could do something artistic such as drawing or painting. If you enjoy music, you might like to sing and dance to your favourite songs or try playing a musical instrument. You could also just try something new such as a new recipe or new workout.