Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Lori Geurin
Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to take care of ourselves. Or we deny our basic human needs and push to finish that big project, or because our family is counting on us. It’s taken me years (and chronic illness) to learn that I
need have to make time to rest and care for myself. Below you’ll find a list of my favorite ways to relax.
For years I put my needs on the back burner. I’d feel guilty even thinking of pampering myself when there were 4 tiny babies under the age of 6 depending on me 24/7. But now I see things differently.
Our bodies gently beckon us when they need downtime to rest and recover. But if you’re like the average person living in this modern age it’s easy to get sidetracked and miss the subtle signs. Or choose to ignore them altogether.
Yet without needed times of relaxation, your body starts wearing down making you more susceptible to illness and feelings of chronic stress and fatigue.
The good news is that you can do something about it. Today.
There are countless ways to relax and unwind and you can do many of them in as little as 5 minutes if you’re short on time. So if you’ve not been making yourself a priority lately, add yourself to the top of your to-do list and try 1 or all of the tips below.
My Favorite Ways To Relax
1. Take A Long Walk
There’s just something about being in nature that calms me. Breathing fresh air and feeling the warm sun on my cheeks is both invigorating and calming.
And who doesn’t love the physical benefits of exercise? The release of endorphins, increased strength and endurance and a leaner body are only some of the perks of walking.
One of my favorite things to do to relieve stress is hanging out with my family and laughing our heads off. Between my husband and all of his dad jokes and our 4 hilarious kids, it’s not unusual for my jaw to hurt from smiling so much. And laughing so hard.
Plus, I’m always down for a funny sitcom or movie. Friends, The Office and Parks & Rec are some of my favorites. What are yours?
3. Take A Warm Epsom Salt Bath
I didn’t take baths before I contracted Lyme because I never thought I had time so I always took showers. I guess I viewed baths as a luxury I didn’t have time for.
But then my doctor recommended for detoxing and because the Epsom salts are a good source of magnesium. I quickly learned that they’re also effective in easing my body pain.
So for a few years, a spent hours in the bathtub, soaking away.
Jets on. Candles lit. Prune status.
It was out of necessity due to my health but now I’ve grown to appreciate baths for their amazing ability to completely relax me and give me the perfect opportunity to catch up on my latest book.
4. Go To The Movies
There’s a member of my family who enjoys staying in to watch movies, and while I can find joy in this on occasion the ultimate relaxation I get is from enjoying the experience of going out to the movies. (Maybe he’ll read this?)
Maybe it’s because I work from home and he doesn’t. Either way, for as long as I can remember (from the age of 4?) I’ve loved going out to the movies.
The whole experience. My husband jokes with me about how I like to arrive at the theater early so we don’t miss the previews. (Previews of movies which we will likely never see because we so rarely go to the movies.)
I’m not bitter. This is just where we’re at in our stage in life. I think?
Anyhow, none of this changes the fact that going to the movies is a super-fun, relaxing activity for me. By the way, let’s keep this on the down-low, but if you know my hubby, could you please discretely email this article to him?
5. Read A Good Book
Books, books, books! How do I love thee? Let me count the way!
Okay, I’m sure by now you get the point. I geek out over books. I love to read and I’ll read just about anything. Maybe you can relate?
I have book lists for my book lists. Maybe you can relate? When I was a young girl my mom would drop me off at the public library for hours while she ran her errands. I felt like I was in heaven with all of those books.
I seriously considered pursuing Library Science as a profession but I came to the conclusion that because I’ve been shushed (and nearly kicked out) of libraries so many times for talking that it probably wasn’t going to work out.
I’m not sure how I got so off-topic here. But let me just say that reading is one of my all-time favorite ways to relax.
Read a book. You’ll be happy you did!
6. Go Out To Dinner
This one is self-explanatory. When we go out to dinner then I’m relieved of my cooking duties. AND get to sit down to an amazing, healthful 5-course dinner at the finest restaurant in all the world…
Okay, that may have been overselling it a bit because where I come from (small town, U.S.A) I’m incredibly grateful to go out for a juicy burger and fries. And lots of Chinese food.
A big salad is always nice though
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…Including you.”-Anne Lamott
7. Take A Social Media Break
While social media can be a good tool for connecting with other people it has its disadvantages as well.
Maybe it doesn’t affect you. But this empathic girl can only take the intensity in small doses. Sometimes I don’t even realize how much it’s impacting me. But the tragic stories draw me in and suddenly I find myself taking on the weight of the world’s problems and needing to set a boundary…fast.
Enter the social media break. I’ve taken several this year and will continue doing so when I sense my body and mind need a break.
If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to do it for a minimum of 3-5 days to see what you notice.
Want our FREE 30-Day Social Media Detox Challenge? Lower your stress, find more free time, & improve your health with the FREE printable calendar.
8. Practice Deep Breathing Techniques
Simple deep breathing strategies have been a game-changer for me. If I’d known how easy this was I would have done it a long time ago!
You can do it anywhere, even in the midst of a heated conversation or before you give that big presentation. It’s one of the most transformative, yet simply natural practices I’ve found.
There are different techniques but the one I learned originally and continue to use goes like this…You take in 4 slow, deep cleansing breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth.
So that’s 4 deep breaths in and 4 exhale breaths out.
As you’re inhaling, count slowly to 10. (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, etc…) Then do the same as you exhale.
When you’re done with each set, think about how you feel. Are you more relaxed? If you don’t feel fully relaxed then repeat the process until you are.
I also love EFT, or tapping, which is kind of related so I’ll throw in a link here so you can learn more. More on EFT later. Just don’t let it freak you out if you follow the link. When I first discovered it during my Holistic Wellness Coaching Program I skeptically thought it must be a bunch of hooey…but boy was I wrong!
Now EFT is one of my favorite ways to relax. I’m always yawning before the end. I have the Tapping Solution app on my Android. I highly recommend it.
9. Drink Coffee Or Green Tea
Despite what you may have heard drinking coffee and tea has excellent health benefits. In fact, coffee has more antioxidants than any food on earth. Plus, who doesn’t love the scent of a fresh pot of joe brewing in the morning?
As you may have heard, I’m not a morning person. But thanks to that beautiful pot of coffee each and every morning I’m able to face each bright new sunshiny day with a big grin on my face!
A big swig of my homemade kombucha tea around 2 in the afternoon really hits the spot. And then a cup of green tea in the late afternoon is so healthful and calming. (Just watch the caffeine, if you’re sensitive, or you might have trouble sleeping.)
For more coffee information, check out 9 Impressive Health Benefits Of Coffee.
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
10. Get A Massage
Though this isn’t something I do super regularly I don’t know why not because it’s definitely one of my favorite ways to relax!
Have you had a deep tissue massage? Once you do there is no turning back. I mean you can’t erase that feeling of pure bliss when it’s over and you’re fully relaxed.
Plus the health benefits are compelling:
- improved circulation
- deeper sleep
- reduced body pain
- toxin elimination
- increased immunity
- reduced anxiety and stress
11. Listen To Music
Jamming to the oldies (or whatever genre you’re into) is proven to reduce stress. So crank up the volume!
Growing up I played the piano and played a couple of instruments and it was therapeutic for me. Not only is playing an instrument a great outlet for self-expression but making music can bring peace to your weary soul.
Or, if you’d rather, grab your earbuds and Spotify playlist because that’s an excellent plan too.
12. Play With My Dogs
Our Boston Terriers, Max and Rudy, are quite the pair. They’re always up to something mischievous, but despite that, I’m their biggest fan.
Max got sprayed by a skunk the other night right before he ran into our house. And right before things got a little nutso.
And a lot smelly. Whoo-whee!
That’s one of those life experiences you don’t plan for.
But stinky skunks aside, playing with these guys and taking them on daily walks is (usually) therapeutic. Here’s a video of Rudy “helping” me doing planks.
13. Travel To A New Locale
Especially the beach. Any beach.
I just love getting out of town and going somewhere I’ve never been to see sights I’ve never seen before. Can you relate?
I realize that some trips may be anything but relaxing, but I’m talking about the super chill, lay in a hammock, lazy day at the beach kind of trips here. Those are my favorite trips anyway. Beach trips. Did I say that already? oops
The rest of my family prefers mountain trips. Or no trips. So I’m a little outnumbered when it comes to the beach. But I’m thankful to go anywhere. Pretty much.
You wanna go to the beach?
14. Talk To A Friend
When I said *talk I also mean text or email but talking to my friends is always the best. I love to spend time with friends!
Can I be real with you? Since getting Lyme many of my friendships have changed. Not for the worse or better necessarily. Just different.
When your friends are used to you hanging out and going places together and suddenly you’re stuck in bed with a chronic illness it changes things. I hate having to turn down plans or cancel last-minute because I’m having a Lyme flare or I’m too physically exhausted to do anything…when all I want to do is go out with my friends and have fun spending time with them.
It’s even more difficult to explain when you look like you’re moderately healthy. (#invisibleillness) But this is life with chronic Lyme or other chronic health conditions. It can be very lonely.
I can assure you I’m not having a pity party. Just thought if I shared this maybe it could help someone else who’s going through a similar situation. You’re not alone.
To be clear, I have some awesome friends and I’m incredibly grateful for them. They’re caring and supportive and I cherish them so.
15. Read My Bible And Pray
Having a close relationship with God brings me peace like nothing else. This is because His peace is perfect.
When I think of everything I’ve experienced in my life – from the celebratory heights of joy to the depths of despair – I’m reminded that Jesus has been the One constant who has always been there. Even through my mistakes and bad decisions…He’s never stopped pursuing me and for that I’m so grateful.
Giving me comfort, wisdom and strength when I had nothing left in my reserves. Reading my Bible, praying to Him and writing in my gratitude journal brings a flood of Peace into my life that doesn’t compare to anything else.
Summary – Favorite Ways To Relax
So there you have it, friends. Fifteen of my favorite ways to relax and unwind. Hopefully, some of them resonated with you and even sparked some new plans for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Please remember the importance of caring for yourself whatever life stage you’re in. If you don’t take care of yourself then you cannot be at your best – for yourself and for those you love.
So what may seem like a small sacrifice of your time now can pay off in a big way down the road, bringing you health and peace of mind.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What are your favorite ways to relax? Do you find it easy or difficult to make time for taking care of yourself?
Share your thoughts below. I love hearing your insights!
If you enjoyed these favorite ways to relax you’ll want to read:
- 5 Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Relax
- Top 20 Best Healthy Snacks
- How To Do A Social Media Detox Challenge To Feel Better
- 9 Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
- Top 25 Healthy Food Instagram Accounts To Follow
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