I like to get things done. I also love making lists, planning and tracking my goals. I think many of us feel successful and ambitious, but never really satisfied and this feeling is unlikely to be nourishing in any way. I used to be stuck in this cycle with the constant feel of being “unsatisfied” despite everything I have managed achieved.
Most people I know focus on relaxation as yet another high-pressure goal (and I know a lot of people) – and this is what makes it impossible for them to achieve complete relaxation and therefore giving your body and soul what it needs. Forcing yourself to calm your mind and body down is unnatural and unnecessary. There are other ways to slow down: do less, enjoy some alone time, stop being productive and wanting to be hyper efficient.
If you’ve already mastered the art of relaxation: Welcome. If not, then I’m hoping my tips below will help you to be able to quiet your busy mind after a hectic day.
Think about what comfort means to you?
Spend a significant amount of time outside, without your phone: I’ve taken the below photo at Richmond Park during sunset. I love having picnics and go outdoors as much as I can, even if it is only for a quick walk. My entire being craves this activity each day. I need this to be able to stay refreshed and relaxed throughout the week with a perfectly balanced mind. Every morning I am looking forward to the time I can spend outside and I am trying to maximise it by reaching for my shoes as early and quickly as possible. It is the best mood-booster with countless health benefits.
Taking care of your plants: I choose to be a plant mom. Seeing your plant grow feels rewarding. Mine is growing pretty well on this picture and the thought of it is boosting my self-esteem. Plants are very popular lately and they have been known for increasing air quality and reducing stress by boosting our moods. Greenery is good for my mind and therefore I own a lot of indoor plants which all need taking care of. They can catch diseases similar to us and they all have different needs. I enjoy spending time looking after them.
Exercise daily: This is the easiest, cheapest, natural and most effective anti-anxiety treament. Daily exercise relieves tension and stress whilst boosting mental energy and well-being. This probably sounds very boring and familiar already but the reason this one is so high on the anti-anxiety agenda is because anything that gets you moving can help you overcome stress through the release of endorphins. I do pilates, barre sculpting workout and yoga for an hour every day and I cycle a lot during the weekends. Best of both worlds. I’ve listed my favourite channels on Youtube just in case you need a bit of guidance on where to start.
Yoga and breathing exercises: Yoga with Adriene
Barre: POPSUGAR Fitness
Cycling: My beautiful bicycle is from Veloretti: http://www.veloretti.com
Cycling performance tracking: I’d suggest you download the app called ‘Strava’ to keep track of your rides and overall performance
Make travel plans: Very little things make me happier than traveling and therefore I do travel a lot. Some say the most stressful aspects of planning a holiday is figuring out your itinerary: not for me. Making travel plans a year in advance is my kind of thing and it relaxes me instead of making me overwhelmed – I love looking forward to my upcoming trips. They fill me up with that much-needed time for myself to relax and unwind.
Alternate Nostril Breathing exercise and meditation: I’ve recently got into the habit of breathing exercises and it is an incredibly quick fix for all my troubles after a difficult day. It is entirely free and one of the best relaxation methods I can possibly recommend to you – if you are familiar with yoga practices, you are probably familiar with this already:
- Lift your right hand up toward your face
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb
- Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your ring finger
- Remove your right thumb from your right nostril and exhale through this side
- Stay where you are and inhale through the same (right) nostril and then close this nostril with your thumb again
- Open your left nostril by releasing your ring finger and exhale
- Repeat this for at least 5 minutes
Pick a hobby you love and you can grow with: I have a full time job, but I have several hobbies which I absolutely love. My hobbies are helping me to grow as a person each day. Floristry and writing this blog are one of them. Both of these I can easily escape to when I feel overwhelmed and I am doing them for fun and personal development which is part of my self-care. My hobbies are not only amazing stress relievers but also my true passions in life.
Reinvent your old recipes: Occupy your mind and satisfy your appetite. I love cooking, juicing, baking and creating things from scratch. Whether it is home made granola, fresh tea or vegan pancakes. Grab a handful of fresh mint leaves and pour over boiling water to release its flavour and incredible scent. Instead of buying cereal from the supermarket, create your own by mixing and baking the ingredients at home. I promise you it will contribute to your happiness followed by a sense of calm and focus.
Read: I want more digital-detox-days please! Pick up a book or a magazine and detach yourself from the digital world for an hour or so. Simple yet life-changing. Personally, I love to switch off and recover by lying in the sun reading a book. I also love reading before bedtime so that I can go to sleep feeling detached from social media.
Take a warm bath: This one usually works for me pretty much anywhere and anytime. All you need is a towel, bath salts, a warm bath and soy candles behind closed doors.
Declutter your home and thoughts: I believe in a completely clutter free and practical living space. Cleaning alleviates my stress levels and de-cluttering makes me feel prepared, ready and in charge of my life. Having a neat and aesthetically pleasing environment for me is one of the most important things in my life. Our home is mid-century but modern with every item serving a purpose and bringing joy for us. I work, eat, sleep and ultimately feel better when my home is organised, which is the reason why I use this activity often as a main relaxation method.
Always look after yourself – make this one a priority. Inside and out!