I am the opposite of a relaxed person, so the fact that I am writing this post is a little funny. I think, though, that doing so also makes this post more relatable. These are some tips that have helped me, a person who loves being “on the go” and whose mind never stops turning, regarding relaxation for those who struggle with it! For those of us who are not the most relaxed, we may need to actively do things in order to decompress fully. Due to this, some of these tips do require some movement, but others are very sedentary. Additionally, a few of these are pretty cliché, but I am hoping that some tips are new for you all as well. I also recognize that not everyone will have the ability to do all of these which is why I provided many options! Please do not try anything that you know will trigger you. These items are things that help me relax, but we are all different. in no particular order:
I arrived at this revelation the other day. I feel a lot more peaceful when I have a blanket over me. I cannot sit on a couch without automatically grabbing one. Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed, I’ll wrap myself in a blanket like a burrito and instantly feel better (working from home has been great for this as I can do it in between meetings or during my lunch break). At this point, I will honestly bring a blanket anywhere. During high school, my mom bought me a king sized sherpa blanket! I love it so much and I even have it spread over me as I am typing this. Over all, blankets have really been a game-changer over the past few months. I was also gifted a weighted blanket by my best friend for graduation, and in my experience, it really does alleviate anxiety. I recommend getting your hands on a sherpa, weighted, micro plush, or quilted blanket and feeling cozy. If someone you know, or someone in your community, is struggling this winter season, a blanket would be a great and affordable item to gift them as well!
quite literally cross items off of your to-do list
This is a common one. People are always recommending to-do lists, and people are always saying that they never end. I would have to agree. This being said, I suggest physically crossing tasks off of your bulleted list. Not only is it satisfying, but it keeps me on track.
Visualization is a common practice in many fields, but I first learned about it during high school swim season. We would lie on the bleachers and our coach would tell us to visualize a scene. I then experienced it more during yoga practices. It is common for folks to fall asleep while visualizing, and while it may not work for everyone, it can put your mind at peace before an intense meeting or event. I am not the best at visualizing, but I actually have been more successful at it when I am trying to fall asleep. As many know, insomnia is a close friend of mine, and visualization can help combat it. With a simple Google search, you’ll be able to find many guides regarding these techniques.
If you know me, you know that I am an avid moisturizer. I cannot stand dry skin. I moisturize my hands every time I wash them, and I lather my entire body in lotion after every shower. I have sensitive skin, so I use medium to thick, unscented (often anti-itch) lotion vigorously. To feel refreshed, I moisturize my face throughout each day. Moisturizing is more important than you think!
find a body of water and sit next to it
This tip is pretty self explanatory. If a body of water is not accessible to you, I am sure a mountaintop, prairie, or grassy area would work too. I, personally, LOVE water and I fangirl over every body of water I see. Watching the waves, however large or small (clearly dependent on whether this body is a local lake or an ocean somewhere), is such a beautiful moment every time for me. On an unrelated note, water is not only healing to watch, but also to drink. Fuel your body with water often.
the Deep Sleep and Peaceful Meditation playlists on Spotify
How could I not mention music?! I love the Deep Sleep and Peaceful Meditation playlists on Spotify. I also recommend any lofi beats playlist (so many exist), and the All-Nighter playlist.
I created my own playlist to which I listen every time I need some grounding called Pause. Give it a listen!
We are in a pandemic, so you might not be able to attend a yoga class in person. In the mean time, if you are familiar with some poses, take some time out of your day to do them. If you are not, many YouTube videos and apps exist to guide you through a practice.
Movement can help when stillness cannot. Walk, run, ride a bike, play some tennis, or do an activity that suits you. If your environment is not conducive to your activity of choice, YouTube can come to your rescue with many at-home and/or no equipment workout routines. I exercise on most days of the week, and I feel as though I am not fully myself if I do not do so. If you would like some advice from me (I am not certified at all in this realm, so I would be advising you as a friend), I’d be happy to help!
let yourself feel
cry, punch something (without causing harm), laugh, dance around, curl into a ball
I love my journal. I journal every day, and even filling the pages makes me content. When I first started journaling, I told myself that I should write without any filter. I write in my journal for myself, and only myself. I do share some excerpts here and there, but for the most part, no one sees any of it. Get yourself a fun, comfortable writing utensil and give it a try!
Typing can also be fulfilling. Many actually find the sound of typing keys calming (ASMR). Sometimes, I just head to typeracer.com and mindlessly type.
play an instrument or sing
I am very passionate about music, and singing is actually one of my hobbies. You will find me singing all day, every day. I played the piano for twelve years before heading to college, and every time I was flustered, I would sit down at the piano and play. I remind myself of this when I have similar feelings now, and I will push myself to head over to the piano and spend some time there. I will often find instrumental versions of songs that I like to sing and learn them.
I would like to stress that one does not have to be skilled at singing or playing an instrument to do so. If you find this type of activity fun, just do it.
You cannot go wrong with lighting a good candle. Something about looking at the warm light from the flame makes my heart glow. If you are not a fan of candles (I will acknowledge that they can be quite wasteful – please make sure to recycle/repurpose your candle jars instead of throwing them away), try essential oils/essential oil diffusers, salt rock lamps, or other low lighting such as string lights.
flip through the pages of a new, fresh notebook
have your favorite snack without scrolling through your phone, watching a show, or working
We like to distract ourselves while we eat. When you can, eat alone, and remove these distractions. Choose a snack that fuels you and tastes great. some of my favorites are: pretzel crisps & hummus, goldfish & fruit punch/vitamin water/any juice, blueberries, grapes & cheese, a PB&J, biscuits & tea
cuddle with a stuffed animal or a person
as long as the person is within your immediate circle and you are being safe (feel free to cuddle with anyone once we are not in a pandemic)
clean your room, bathroom, or car
Is your environment clean? A cluttered environment can cause a cluttered mind. At the same time, organize your things in a way that is understandable to you.
look at or draw aesthetic/symmetrical/asymmetrical/abstract designs or paintings
Pinterest and even a general Google search can provide some great designs.
read a book
Want a recommendation? Let me know! I can also write a blog post about this if you all want one.
use fun pencils, pens, markers
paint your nails
comb out your hair
As someone with curly and thick hair, this is really satisfying. I try to do this at least once a week. Of course, I comb/brush my hair every time I wash it (most days of the week), but I also like to comb it when it is dry on a day that I do not wash it.
get fully dressed up, and then get fully unready
Wear your fanciest, cutest, coolest outfit, throw on some make up if you want, and do your hair. Sit in this, take a picture or two, and just have a good time. Once you are ready, throw on some comfy clothes and wash your face.
listen to your body/mind & sleep or rest when you feel tired
call someone instead of FaceTiming/video calling them to avoid looking at your screen
As thankful as I am for FaceTime and video calling, I am prone to headaches. My headaches are more prevalent with screen time. I do miss my friends, and I do want to connect with them, so I have been trying to incorporate more phone calls rather than FaceTimes. If I am able to see them in person at a safe distance (usually in the form of a walk), even better! I threw this tip in here recognizing that many folks, like myself, are entering winter/colder months and seeing friends outside may not always be possible.
play a board game or do a puzzle with someone
My boyfriend and I have been playing a lot of board games recently, and I am loving it! I do not play board games often, so this has been really refreshing.
watch a YouTube video
I watch a lot of YouTubers/vloggers, and sometimes I find it nice to hear about someone else’s life and learn their tips rather than watching a show that has characters who are not real. I do watch shows as well, but if I have a few minutes to chill, YouTube videos are the perfect length.
do a handstand or a cartwheel
Be safe and have someone spot you if necessary! Unleash your inner kid.
mindlessly take notes on some random topic or on a book that you are reading
highlight, add tabs and sticky notes, annotate as much as you want
use your paid leave !!!
flip some pancakes on the stove
The way that pancakes fluff as you spread the mix across the pan is really nice to watch.
have a virtual game night with friends
Every couple weeks, I have a game night with my friends. We play a lot of trivia and codenames, and I actually played Among Us for the first time with them. Difficulty exists in always updating friends on your life (especially if not much is changing from day to day in this pandemic), so game night gives you the opportunity to still interact with your friends while focusing on something else. We used to have our game nights in person, but since March, we’ve moved them to Zoom. I cannot wait until we can all play in person again!
give someone a high-five
I just love high-fives. High-five someone and you will understand what I mean.