Taking time to relax is a crucial part of self-care. I used to feel guilty about relaxing, convincing myself that my worth was intrinsically linked to my productivity.
However, with the help of therapy, I am now more comfortable with allowing myself to relax and giving myself the opportunity to slow down my mind and recharge my batteries.
I’ve put together a list of ten of my favourite relaxation techniques. I hope you find them helpful.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos are a great way to relax because the trigger sounds coupled with the personal attention roleplay give a feeling of platonic intimacy and affection. It’s almost like someone is looking after you, which is always nice.
2. Guided meditation
I choose guided meditation over ASMR when my mind needs to be quietened. Focusing on the person’s voice helps me to zone into the relaxation, and I often find I get so relaxed that I drop off to sleep for a bit. It’s a good way to observe how you’re feeling, both mentally and physically, reminding you to stretch, unclench your jaw, release your frown, and it just generally makes you more aware of what’s going on in your body that is making you feel tense.
3. Hand cream
My favourite hand cream is the Lush “Sleepy” lotion, because a) it smells amazing, and b) it makes me feel so calm. I try to apply hand cream in a mindful way, taking notice of how it feels on my skin, how it smells, and so on. This helps me to focus and then once it’s done, I can still enjoy the smell for ages afterwards.
I find knitting a good method of relaxation because it’s a simple, monotonous task that draws my focus onto one thing. I often feel very fidgety, especially when I’m trying to relax, so having a simple task to focus on that doesn’t require a lot of brain power or physical exertion is a great option.
Napping isn’t just for toddlers – sometimes adults need to catch up on some sleep too! If you’re tired, allow yourself to sleep. Give yourself permission to rest your mind and your body if you need to.
6. Cups of tea
Mindfully drinking a cup of tea is super relaxing for me. I love holding the mug and feeling the warmth travel into my palms.
7. Cuddling my cats
When I’m feeling low or anxious, cuddling with my cats is a great way to relax. They come and curl up on my tummy and start purring, and the sound is very soothing. It also helps to regulate my own breathing so I feel calmer.
I used to really enjoy reading physical books, but nowadays when I’m feeling overwhelmed I find it impossible to focus on reading. I decided to try listening to an audiobook and I’m so glad that I did. It means I’m able to entertain myself without having to focus on the words on a page. It also means I can sit back and close my eyes and just listen if I want to.
9. Email clearing
I find clearing out my email inbox very therapeutic and relaxing because it feels like I’m decluttering my mind at the same time.
Having a cosy atmosphere is really useful for me in getting relaxed, so I’ll light at least one (preferably scented) candle and turn off most of the lights, and just enjoy the ambience.
What are your favourite relaxation techniques? Let me know in the comments below.