Modern life is stressful, but here are 8 simple ways to help you relax and find a little peace!
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21st century life can be stressful – there’s no getting away from it.
And it doesn’t seem to matter how much you try to avoid stress, eventually you end up getting sucked back in. Before long, your shoulders are up by your ears, and you’re up at 3am trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
You may already know the relaxation methods that work for you. But when you’re stressed, it’s easy to forget them and resort to slumping in front of the TV with a glass of wine. Which is definitely not on the list of healthy ways to relax!
So here are eight methods that can help you to chill out, relax and find your own peace and quiet.
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I don’t always remember to find time for meditation. But I know that it does really help me to relax, and there have been all sorts of studies which have shown that it has real benefits for both physical and health.
When I remember to meditate, I love listening to guided meditation CDs. The Guided Mindfulness Meditation* by Jon Kabat-Zinn is really good, and the Body Scan meditation really helps you to focus on each individual muscle in turn until you’re feeling totally relaxed.
And if you don’t have time for a full meditation, there are apps available for your phone. These will take you out of your stress for five minutes, leaving you ready to go on with your day.
Get Outside in the Fresh Air
Spending too long in front of the laptop is something that definitely gets me stressed. If I get too engrossed in writing, I can feel my shoulders gradually inching up towards my ears.
Sometimes all that you need to de-stress is to get away from the screen and outside in the fresh air for a while. You could either go for a walk, or even just go and stand out in the garden for a few minutes.
If the weather has been good, then standing on the grass in bare feet can feel very relaxing.
Combine the fresh air with some deep breathing exercises, and you will soon feel the knots in your shoulders loosening off.
Do Some Exercise
The next step up from going for a short walk is to get yourself moving and do some exercise.
When you’re feeling stressed you might not feel like doing exercise, but a good dose of endorphins can be one of the best ways to relax. Find the right kind of exercise to suit your body, and you’ll feel great at the end of it.
Yoga is a good option if you feel like something a bit slower – the combination of stretching and deep breathing can works wonders. If you can’t make it to a class regularly, why not try an online class? Yoga with Adriene on Youtube is a very popular way to practise at home.
Take a Bath
The best ways to relax often involve slowing down life a little. It’s too easy to rush from appointment to appointment, always keeping one eye on the clock and thinking about the next job on the to-do list.
So if you can set aside a little time, run a deep bubble bath and sink into it for half an hour, it can definitely help you to wind down. Lighting a few candles and applying some kind of facial mask helps to take the relaxation to another level.
I’m a big fan of aromatherapy, and have used essential oils for a long time. Using oils in the bath, in an essential oil burner or for massage are some of my favourite ways to relax.
Lavender is the classic oil for relaxation, and definitely seems to help me wind down. If you are having trouble dropping off to sleep at night, then spritzing your pillow with a lavender spray like this one from Cotswold Lavender* may help.
I also find that a citrussy oil like lemon or grapefruit can help me feel brighter and re-energized. It really helps on those days when stress leaves me feeling bogged down, but I still have things to get on with.
Lose Yourself in a Good Book
When I set aside some time for reading, I can really feel my stress levels falling.
I have noticed that I tend to have a good night’s sleep if I go up to bed 30 minute early and read for a while before turning my light off. Obviously, I need to pick the right reading material – a thrilling crime novel isn’t going to set me up to drift off to sleep.
Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that reading an actual paper book is generally better for relaxation than reading on a tablet with a back-lit screen.
Play your Favourite Music
This is definitely one of my favourite ways to relax, but what I find relaxing may be absolute hell for you. Obviously there are lots of chill-out and relaxation compilations on the market, I really like Instant Karma* as an example.
This kind of music is really good when used in conjunction with one of the other ways to relax listed above. For instance, after a long soak in an aromatherapy bath with a good book and some music playing, the knots in my shoulders have usually vanished!
I love listening to classical music, but also I find that any good song played loud will help to blow away stress!