It sounds like a contradiction, but finding time to relax can be hard work. It’s why so many of us flock to YouTube for yoga tutorials and why Marie Kondo’s Netflix series on tidying up has made us all sort our shelves.
But where to start? To help you firmly shut the door on stress when you leave the office, we’ve picked our five top tips to finding that perfect state of relaxation.
With deadlines and house chores, finding an hour for yourself can seem like an impossible, even time-wasting task. But it’s well worth it. So read on, chill out, and find some time for yourself.
Stretch out and breathe
Deep breaths and stretches are a fantastic way to begin your journey to peak calmness. Meditation and physical practices, such as yoga and tai chi, benefit both the body and mind, and will ultimately help you fall into a truly relaxed state. You can find out what Professor Mark Williams – a leading mindfulness expert – says about the benefits here.
Meditative practices involve focusing on your breathing. When taking deep breaths, your attention is drawn to the rhythm and experience of breathing – the calming effect can seem instant. Combine these breathing exercises with yoga and you’re not only relaxing your mind, but your body as well. Studies, such as this one by the BBC, show that yoga can be one of the best exercises to help treat a variety of illnesses, including depression and anxiety. If you want to work your way to perfect relaxation, try out a few basic yet beneficial yoga stretches and poses at home.
Soak up your own calm
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a hot bath. Darken your bathroom, light your favourite scented candles and pour in lashings of your most lavish bubble bath. Once you hit the water, your body will gradually ease into a glorious sense of calmness.
As lovely as the bubbles and candles are, it’s the releasing effect of the hot water that helps you relax. Having a hot bath has been proven to increase blood flow and reduce stiffness, as well as relieving pain in joints. While the water helps your body relax into a more comfortable state, your mind will soon follow suit.
Lose yourself in music
Either when in the bath or kicking back on the sofa, schedule some time to listen to your favourite, chilled out music to fall into your own easy rhythm.
It could be the sound of a babbling brook, the singing of whales or a playlist of your favourite tranquil tunes. Whichever you choose, listening to music relieves that anxious feeling you get when thinking about a stressful event – in fact, serious research is going into music therapy. Plug in your headphones while stretching out on a luxurious recliner sofa, like the Darley, and allow your troubles to be carried away by each relaxing note.
Try something new
You might not think of yourself as a particularly creative person, but you don’t have to be Picasso to wind down. Picking up a paintbrush, pencil or pack of colouring pens is one of our top tips for relaxing your mind.
Art therapy is an increasingly popular relaxation technique, working as a great stress-relief tactic. Whether you want to try colouring mandalas to reduce levels of anxiety, or fancy seeing what happens when you freely brush across the canvas, you’ll find each and every stroke to be incredibly therapeutic, taking you to a state of zen.
Take time for yourself
Sometimes you need to spend time alone to fully unwind. Book yourself in for a date with you and enjoy your favourite relaxing hobby.
You might like to bake, testing your artistic talent by decorating cupcakes or tackling the Paul Hollywood eight-strand plait. Maybe you want to spend entire Sundays watching Netflix while laying back on your comfortable sofa? The Collins recliner sofa perfectly caters to your relaxation needs. Either keep it simple and stay sitting up or lean right back in bed mode. Available in either supple leather or warm fabric, this recliner sofa will enhance any time you have to yourself.
Whatever way you like to relax, make sure you plan in rejuvenation time for yourself and send us your top tips to our social channels. Whether it’s a picture of your favourite calming space or a suggestion of which music to listen to, share your ideas on how to relax on our Instagram and Pinterest pages.