The importance of learning how to relax
In the ever stress-infused world we live in, it’s comforting to know we’re never too far from a well-earned rest.
Ideal times like seasonal bank holidays offer a chance for people to take a break from the daily grind and just chill.
However, many of us have lost the art of relaxation, which, in reality, is often different to the image sold to us by corporations.
I see this more and more with the clients I support as a counsellor, hypnotherapist and coach.
When presenting their issues, many clients will say they don’t have time to relax or can’t step back from their responsibilities.
As human beings, we need time to relax and recharge our mental and emotional batteries.
The good news is we have the power to do this!
By recognising that we can control our time, we can create a positive impact on our state of well-being.
For many, the idea of banking their relaxation for the holiday period is still a common trait, rejecting the idea of “chilling out” in the present.
By the time the holiday season comes around, the reality is that these people have either forgotten how to relax, have an emotional downer about taking time off, or fill their time with a list of jobs.
Without relaxation, we become stressed, anxious and depressed; we forget how to chill, feel happy or enjoy the life we have.
Many of my clients are surprised just how much better they feel when relaxation is introduced back into their lives.
With that in mind, here are fifteen ways to chill…
1. Take a walk
A simple walk around the block or park is sufficient to allow your mind and body to relax, and if done regularly, it benefits you physically as well as mentally and emotionally.
2. Listen to music
Sort out those old CDs or vinyl’s you’ve not played in a while, or stream some new tracks!
Allow yourself to be engulfed in the music and the memories that come with it.
Maybe pick your ten or twenty most relaxing tracks and put them on your phone so you can chill when you’re on the move.
Whether it’s with friends or family, make an effort to visit them or spend time with them!
Sharing time with others not only benefits our sense of belonging but also improves our general well-being.
6. Visit somewhere
We often forget about the beautiful and fascinating places we have right on our doorstep.
Look in local newspapers or online to find interesting events or places.
You don’t have to travel miles to see something new!
7. Do something different
Think of something you’ve not tried before, cooking a new dish, creating something or maybe even running a marathon!
As the old saying goes “variety is the spice of life.”
Variety also helps us to release pressure and relax.
8. Time out
There are many important people in our lives but, in essence, we are the most important to ourselves.
Spend some time by yourself, not in a selfish way but in a self-care way. After all, we are the only ones who can really change ourselves.
Find somewhere you feel comfortable that allows you to unwind. Even if it’s only for ten minutes a day, make some time and space for yourself!
9. Turn off your phone
For many people their mobile phone is an extension of their body, constantly checking social media for updates and texting all and sundry about the minutest of happenings in their lives.
Whilst handy tools, mobiles can be the harbingers of stress and distract us from reality.
Try switching your phone off for an hour or two and learn to relax without its constant intrusion.
Mild exercise can be really beneficial for you physically and mentally, but it also helps you chill out, forget the pressures of every-day life and interact with others.
Exercise helps get rid of the pent-up stresses and anxieties our bodies hold on to, helping us relax as a whole.
11. Read a book
As any book-reader will tell you, when you begin to read, you find yourself drifting away from the world around you.
You become immersed in exploring the created world in print that lies before you.
Being captivated in a journey of imagination allows you to escape the anxieties of life and, in doing so, creates a positive sense of well-being.
Gardening is a great way of therapeutically supporting our mental and emotional well-being.
It helps us get out into the fresh air, work with nature and focus on the moment; therefore, developing an organic way of relaxing.
13. Colour a picture
Children love colouring pictures, but it’s something we stop when we hit a certain age.
Colouring-in is an extremely relaxing activity and something I would recommend, regardless of age.
With this in mind, check out the numerous available mandalas on the internet!
We take our breathing for granted when in fact we should take more notice.
Our breathing has a real impact on how we feel and it’s something we can manage.
Find a quiet spot and just focus on your breathing. Count how long it takes to breathe in, and then breathe out to the count of an extra two. Let your shoulders drop as you do so, and your muscles relax.
See how quickly you feel calm and chilled.
Just as with our breathing, we can also take our sleep for granted.
A poor or disturbed night’s sleep can significantly affect our mood; whilst a good night’s sleep aids our sense of well-being and helps relax our minds and bodies.
Develop a regular sleep pattern, don’t work on you PC or phone too close to bedtime and begin the process of calming down (maybe focusing on your breath) just before you go to bed.
Whatever technique you attempt in trying to relax, remember to do so in moderation. The whole point of chilling out is to do just that – taking time out so you can perform optimally in day-to-day life!
In addition, do things in small steps. This will lead to a greater sense of achievement in the long term.
But most importantly, look after yourself and enjoy that fact that you’ve made the choice to take time to chill!