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8 Ways to Relax You've Never Considered

Paula Gurnett, C.C.C. December 15, 2021

Our world is full of stress. When you live in a society that encourages competition, achievement, and success, you’re going to have to learn how to decompress effectively. If your daily routine doesn’t include time for relaxing, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.

Relaxing is important, and you’re not going to be at your best each day if you fail to give relaxation the attention it deserves.

Consider these relaxing techniques:

1. Take a cold shower or walk in the rain. Exposure to cold might not sound relaxing, and you’d be right. It’s not the cold that’s relaxing, it’s the feeling after you’ve allowed yourself to warm back up. It’s as if the stress has been drained from your very soul.

● Cold can also snap you out of your current mood. It’s not easy to think about how much you hate your job when cold water is creating a physical distraction.

2. Clench your entire body. Start with your toes and move up your body one muscle group at a time. Clench and flex that muscle with maximum effort. Hold it for a few seconds, relax, and repeat. Flex each muscle 3-5 times and move on to the next. Introducing more stress into your body can help to release that tension that you are holding on to.

● Alternately, try flexing all of your muscles at once. Try both methods and see which provides more relief.

● Check out the link to a guided Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise and give it a try!

3. Pull out the crayons. There are adult coloring books designed to help take your mind off your troubles. Don’t like crayons? Try colored pencils or markers. Use whatever you like and give coloring a try.

Coloring puts your attention on something neutral. It can be a form of meditation or mindfulness. You also have the added boost of having created something when you’re done. You might not want to hang it on your refrigerator for the world to see, but you will have a sense of accomplishment.

4. White noise. Consider the recorded sounds of ocean waves, rain, a crackling fire, or any other sound you might find soothing. These types of sounds can be very relaxing.

5. Stare at a fire. If you don’t have a fireplace, a candle will do. Even high-quality video of a fire will suffice. There’s something primal and hypnotic about fire. Staring into a fire can be a great way to relax and give yourself the reset you need.

6. Stretch. Stretching your body is an effective way to release tension and relax. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Just relax on the floor and do all those stretches you used to do in gym class.

7. Buy a plant. Plants are relaxing. Walk around the local nursery and find the perfect plant. Take it home, put it in the sun, water it, fertilize it, look at it, and maybe even talk to it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact a single plant can have in your home. You might even want more than one.

8. Do a puzzle. Mental puzzles are a good way to occupy your mind and give it a chance to relax. Crosswords, sudoku, mazes, or any type of brain teaser can be an effective way to relax. There is also the added bonus of contributing to your brain health.

Create a routine that will allow you to relax at least once each day. Relaxation is important if you want to be at your best. Stress is damaging to your body and mind, so make relaxation a part of each and every day. There are plenty of ways to relax that you’ve never considered. Give one of them a try each day!

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

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