10 Easy & Free Ways to Relax in Honor of National Relaxation Day ~ 2017
Hi here, lovelies!
Tuesday of last week was National Relaxation Day! I didn’t even know it until I saw it all up and down my Instagram feed! Tuesday’s aren’t usually the most relaxing day, as we all know, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to squeeze in a bit more R&R every single day. Yes, I said every day, not every week. Some of you may be thinking it’s an impossible feat, but just trust me. Stress is a daily thing, why can’t relaxation be, as well? It can!
Okay, maybe we can’t expect to lounge poolside, jet off to a beach paradise, or spend an afternoon at the spa every single day. Not every day can be a relaxing soak in the hot tub or a luxe facial at a premiere beauty parlor. But there are other ways to relax, did you know that? Simple, easy, and, in most cases, free ways to calm down, ease your mind, release some tension, and more. Some of these are obvious and you may do it already, others you may not have thought of yet. That’s okay! There’s no right or wrong way to relax.
Well, that isn’t entirely true.
One major problem with relaxing that many people have without even realizing it is that they tend to think of relaxing as just another chore to complete before the day is done. Not only is this completely counter-productive, but the last thing a lot of us needs is yet another bullet point on our to-do list, right?
The key to fitting in some downtime each day is to first of all not consider it as a chore of any sort. If you need to think about it at all, or if you just have to put a label things, then just think of it as your “Me Time”. Think of it as your own little personal chunk of time each day, devoted strictly to you and your well-being. There, doesn’t that feel less stressful already? It’s a fabulous start, so take that feeling and keep it going! Read below and pick and choose from these 10 simple ways to relax.
The first way to relax is easy as pie. All you need to do is breathe! Okay, it’s a little more complex than that, but not at all difficult. This is probably the top of everyone’s list on how to relax, and you no doubt saw it coming on mine, that’s okay! There’s a reason that breathing is considered the starting block, if not the cornerstone or the very foundation of relaxation! From meditation to yoga, deep breathing can be incorporated into our work, workouts, and lives in general to help us maintain a sense of calm and well-being. It can help you get to sleep if you’re feeling sleepless or tossing and turning at night. It can also help to quell overwhelming anxious feelings! What works the best for me personally is trying to come into a yoga breath like I learned in all my practices, even if I’m not practicing yoga at the moment. The great part about it is that you can do it anywhere, any time, and for any occasion. Simply breathe in and out through your nose, deeply, feeling the breath expand your stomach and flow through you. You can try to match your inhales and exhales, try to go for 4-5 counts on each. Close your eyes if you really want to kick it up a notch. Try to keep it up for 3-5 minutes, or longer if you need! When breathing like this, you’ll find it very hard not to relax!
2. Meditate 🙏🏼
In the same vein as breathing, but quite different, meditation can help us calm our minds and center ourselves. You don’t need to be a monk to meditate, you don’t even have to say, “Ommmm“, if you don’t want to! First, start by sitting or lying somewhere comfortable. It can be a bed, chair, couch, floor, or the ground outside. Then, close your eyes, and continue by going into deep breathing, with long inhales and exhales, in and out through your nose. If you feel like you need to release some breath through your mouth, go ahead and throw a few of those in there, too. I personally find it difficult to meditate at times, because, like most people, I can’t really control my mind from wandering. I find it best to try to focus on a particularly calming image. I will start by envisioning pure black darkness, as if I’m standing in a closet with no light or sound coming through. From there, I either envision a single, flickering candle flame 🔥 or delicate, soft snowflakes falling gently around me ❄️ Ahhh… isn’t that nice? Now remember, meditation doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it have to take forever. A few minutes is all you need to help center yourself, but take as long as you’d like! Remember, it’s your time.
3. Listen to Music 🎶
Ah, music! Everyone loves music! From pop to opera, everyone has a favorite kind of music, and there is no “wrong” type (except disco and country hahaha). A few minutes of lounging back with some tunes playing in your headphones, blocking out the world and all of its troubling woes, can do wonders for your mood or even your mental state. I recently discovered 24/7 live streaming “lofi chill hop” on YouTube, which is like smooth, jazzy, hip hop beats that are perfect for unwinding. You can find lots of streams and vids like this on YouTube, some of which play hundreds of similar songs for hours of chill vibes. I’ve found that this is pretty much the only music I can listen to and still work and concentrate on things, as it makes excellent background music for work, workouts, chores, or, you guessed it, relaxing.
This sounds awfully like a chore, doesn’t it? Well that’s just it, it is! Or at least, it’s a relaxation technique hidden in chore form. While scrubbing the grime from the bathroom, putting away laundry, or tackling a mountain of dirty dishes in the kitchen may not seem like fun tasks, (in fact, they can be rather stress-inducing), doing some light organization can be quite soothing! I personally enjoy organizing my vanity. Makeup is fun and pretty and one of my many passions, so dusting off my vanity and re-arranging things is a peaceful, mildly entertaining task for me. I also like to organize my jewelry and nail polish, or go to the closet in the bathroom and organize my skin and hair products. Sometimes it’s nice to look at all the stuff you have, especially if it brings you peace and joy. Making your space more organized, clean, tidy, and aesthetically pleasing can do wonders for your mood, even making you feel a bit more put-together.
If you’re reading this right now, chances are that you read quite a lot, be it books, magazines, articles, or blogs. I’m going to go ahead and say that you can absolutely read any of the above, anything you like, or anything you want. It’s just that books specifically have a certain charm to them. Books provide you with an escape like no other medium can, the stories and characters surrounding you with fun, wonder, and delight. For a true practice in escapism, sit back, get comfy, ready your imagination, crack open a book, and watch the stress melt away. Read fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or even something more realistic. Anything is fair game to read so long as you’re interested in it and you can relax and enjoy your time immersed within its pages.
6. Watch a Movie 🎥 🍿
While marathoning your favorite show on Netflix for hours sounds like my idea of a good time, (heck, it’s all of our ideas of a good time, am I right?), that kind of binge-watch mentality can be counter-productive to a goal of relaxation, peace, and centering. Why is that? Well, it’s too easy to zone out, get distracted, or lose yourself while binge-watching a television show, be it 22 minutes or 53. You end up just rushing through each episode without really always grasping what’s going on, or fully experiencing what you love about the entertainment in the first place. Now movies are different. Think about it. When’s the last time you sat down and watched a movie by yourself, at home, without anyone else’s opinion about the selection, that you didn’t fall asleep on halfway through? Choosing and then viewing a movie by yourself, that you want to watch completely, and not just to fall asleep, is a great experience, and a relaxing one, at that. Unfortunately, it’s just not an activity many of us get to partake in and enjoy very often. A lazy afternoon spending a couple of hours immersed within a film that has interested you but that you may not have previously had time to watch is very fun, and can take stress away in spades, if only for a few hours.
7. Play a Game 🎮🎲
You all know me by now, and you all know that I love to play video games. It is honestly my favorite hobby, or leisurely activity, whichever. I would highly recommend trying it if you haven’t already, but I do understand that video games most certainly aren’t for everyone. Playing board games like Monopoly or chess, or card games like Go Fish or poker can be relaxing. The only caveat is that you usually have to play most games with at least one other person, so this is unfortunately not a relaxing activity that you can do on your own. It’s still fun though!
8. Write it Out ✏️ 📝
It doesn’t really matter what kind of writing you choose to do, getting your thoughts and rambles out on paper can have a soothing effect. If there’s something on your mind, jotting down a few sentences can certainly help to relieve you of tension or negative vibes, especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to about it at the time. From a creative standpoint, typing on a computer any fun thing that pops into your head can give you a much-needed break. Bullet journals or dream journals are also good ideas, and don’t take much effort, at all. Little commitment and ease means you’ll most likely stick to it, and begin writing at least a little bit each day. This can have very therapeutic effects, so keep at it!
9. Do Some Self-Care
You guys also probably already know that I looove me some self care. I even wrote an entire blog post about how to have the best self-care ever. You don’t have to go all-out, nor do you have to shell out lots of bucks to get a pampering experience. For example, facials, hair treatments (like deep conditioning masks), and mani-pedis can all be done fairly quickly and easily in the comfort of your own home, by yourself, to effectively treat you to a relaxing spa-like experience. Who doesn’t feel better when they get a facial or their nails done 💅🏼 ? It’s kind of impossible not to.
And finally, the big one, a great way to relax is by going outside. Being outdoors and surrounded by nature has loads of great benefits. Not only do you get sweet fresh air and Vitamin D from all that glorious sunshine, but it’s also been proven that your mood can increase just by being outdoors among the green. Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to lounge by water, (be it pool, lake, ocean, or river), or you just want to feel the grass between your toes and enjoy an afternoon at the park, going outside is as pleasant as it is relaxing, and should be done by everyone at least once a day, whenever possible.
So what did you guys think of this post? It’s pretty straight forward, but do you have any other simple and easy relaxation techniques and activities to add to this most basic of lists? Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear from you ❤️ hope this helped!