Updated: Jun 14
Kids late for school, job stress, or worrying about money are just a few things that add to our daily stress levels. So if you feel you are about to boil over, breathe slowly and try one or more of our easy ways to relax.
They won’t get your kids to school on time, make your boss more reasonable, or pay your bills, but they will help you relax and cope better with life’s ups and downs.
Ten easy ways to relax
Go Swimming. Ok, yes, we would say that, wouldn’t we, but it happens to be true. Swimming for just 30 minutes three days a week has been shown to lower stress levels, improve sleep patterns, and lower anxiety and depression. Forget the outside world as a weightless embrace of the water carries you along.
Listen to music. If you feel tensions rising, play something relaxing, like classical music. Or find a song you like that fires happy memories. Music, like swimming, can lower blood pressure and anxiety. So try a waterproof MP3 player and breaststroke your way through a few lengths while listening to relaxing tunes.
Visualization. Find a quiet place, take deep breaths and imagine yourself on a secluded beach. Try to make the visualization as detailed as possible. Think of smells, sounds, and how the light breeze feels on your face. It may sound a bit ‘hippy,’ but the world’s top athletes use visualization to win medals. If it works for them, it can work to help you relax.
Go outside. If your brain feels battered, one of the easy ways to relax is to head outdoors. A simple 10-minute walk of breathing fresh air can make a tremendous difference.
Deep breathing. When we are stressed, we take oxygen-poor shallow breaths. Try slowing down your breathing and breathing from your diaphragm (search Google for techniques) or head to our Breathing to help reduce stress article here.
Meditation. Don’t worry; there’s no whale song in sight. It’s about awareness, listening to your breathing, and clearing your mind of what’s stressing you. This article is an excellent start to meditation, offering 20 tips for beginners. Try it when you feel stressed or as a preventative measure for 5 to 10 minutes daily.
Yoga. You don’t have to do a full hour-long workout to appreciate some of the benefits. The NHS has a good section on Yoga here. Many swimmers find that yoga helps them with their swimming. You can out what they have to say here. Yoga is a tried and tested way of relaxing and improving well-being generally.
Relax your jaw. No, really. Jaw tension is a big issue for stressed workers in office situations. Many of us carry stress in our jaws. Most of us don’t know it, but we do. Try opening your mouth wide for 30 seconds, breathing through your nose. When it feels stretched, close your mouth gently. Repeat this a couple of times.
Take a cat nap. Taking a 20-minute cat nap is one of the easy ways to relax. Anything over 30 minutes, and you enter deep sleep. This will make you groggy and can be counter-productive.
Talk it through. We are social animals. Sharing your feelings with a friend is a great way to relax. So phone your mum for a moan or offload onto a colleague or friend.