Everybody loves the idea of some good, old fashioned R&R — rest and relaxation. But when it comes to actually relaxing, are you… doing something relaxing? I find that it’s easy to sit and watch TV and work/do “stuff”/scroll social media mindlessly on a tablet, all in the name of relaxation, but honestly that stuff is not really all that relaxing. (And if you’re feeding your mind a lot of negative stuff from the social media feeds or whatnot, it’s very un-relaxing subconsciously.)
These following ideas may seem ho-hum to some, but in today’s digital speed race society, they’re practically unconventional. Give them a try.
Tell me, when is the last time you went somewhere and did nothing? Seriously, go to a cafe, order your favorite indulgence (something that’s hard to make at home, like the masala chai with the milk and honey and the sprinkled spices on time) and just sit and watch the world go by. No doing anything “extra” like tweeting; the only exception is if you come up with an amazing idea, you can bring along a notepad to write it down.
You can go into your backyard with said beverage and sit and relax. Or go to the local park and just watch the world go by.
Creativity is a great way to relax and forget about the weight on your shoulders. One of the best things you can do is try a creative endeavor you’ve never done before — for example, one of those painting classes at your local winery. Or for something more low key, you could do coloring, go and cut wildflowers and arrange them in a vase, knitting/crochet — there are a lot of low stress hobbies.
Move Your Body
While for some exercising may seem a counter-intuitive idea for relaxing, moving your body releases endorphins that trigger “feel good” sensations. The key here is doing something that feels enjoyable; if you’re too tired to exercise, then indeed, take a nap. But if you have some reserves available, consider going on a walking meditation or dropping a towel down on the floor for some restorative yoga stretches. I don’t know any time where moving my body didn’t make me feel great.
Have a Cup of Tea and Nap
It’s rare that I meet people in the course of my week who are getting enough sleep. Almost everyone needs 7+ hours and many people, like me, need 8-9. It’s crucial for making the hours you are awake actually functional and enjoyable. (Random, but relevant, example: If you try to meditate and always fall asleep, you aren’t getting enough sleep). So, if you want to relax, try taking a nap! In most cases, 20 minutes is plenty, otherwise you may disrupt your current sleep cycle. Also, it’s a great idea before napping to have a cup of tea — it takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to take affect, so you’ll get that nice boost perfectly timed right after your nap.
I always come back to gratitude — if you follow our blog much, you knew this was coming. You can get your brain into a positivity loop (which is very relaxing) by going through and listing what you are grateful for right now. Normally, I end each day with a list of 10 things I am grateful for. But if I’m doing something like this to relax and clear my head, I might try to get to 50 or even 100! Anything counts; you can be grateful for comfortable shoes, or grateful for coconut milk creamer — the little things count, too. Write them down or just say them softly out loud as you go through the list. You’ll feel amazing by the end of it.