Now, more than ever, it’s important to prioritize relaxation. Between work and family obligations, fitness goals, and everything we see on the news, learning how to relax and stress less is crucial.
Stress is widespread “in our fast-paced and consumer-driven society,” says Mateja (Matty) Petje-Levinson, M.S., LMFT, CPNLP, a marriage and family therapist. “Finding a balance between life, work, and family obligations is key.”
Stress “can affect all areas of our lives, including social relationships and work productivity,” she adds, which is why we’ve compiled some of our favorite ways to relax the mind, body, and spirit.
1. Start With Your Breath
Begin your day with some simple, calming breathing techniques.
Certified yoga instructor Crystal Fenton, E-RYT 200, YACEP, likes practices that are also “cooling,” including chandra nadi pranayama.
She explains how to properly do this technique:
- Use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
- Breathe in through your left nostril, filling your lungs with air.
- Seal both nostrils and hold your breath for 2–3 counts.
- Release your right nostril and slowly exhale.
- Repeat for 12 rounds, breathing in through your left nostril and out through your right.
2. Practice Yoga
3. Get Out in Nature
Go for a scenic hike, swimming in a lake, or biking a new trail.
Bonus points if you grab a friend or your dog for some extra self-care! (Oh, and lounging in your backyard or at the beach also counts!)
4. Treat Yourself
Good “stuff” can make the world of difference in your sleep, meal prep, or workouts (all things that contribute to overall well-being)!
Here are some relaxation-inspired ideas to treat yourself:
- Bose Sleepbuds II sync up with the Bose Sleep app for relaxing sounds to drown out noisy neighbors, snoring partners, or loud street activity.
- Air fryers and Instant Pots can make healthier meals easier and faster. Treat yourself to some “retail therapy” today and you can eat well every day — without having to sacrifice your precious relaxation time.
- Skip the stressful drive to the gym and work out at home on your schedule.
Daily meditation can help you focus on the present and may reduce the level of stress hormones, or cortisol, that floods your body when you’re stressed.
Even just 10 minutes of meditation a day can help you manage anxious feelings.
You’ll learn how to stop worrying about the past and the future, and start living in the now.
6. Write Your Feelings Down
Studies show that journaling and other forms of “expressive writing” can boost your mood and relieve stress.
Take a few minutes to jot down some feelings you’re having, plans or goals for the future, or worries plaguing you. Or start a gratitude journal to help shift your thinking to a positive place.
It may help to get them out of your head and onto the page, so you can go about your day with a little less mental clutter.
7. Practice Self-Care
Finding a self-care practice that works for you is crucial for relaxation, especially if you’re busy.
Even mini bursts of “me time,” like a walk around the block or waking up a few minutes before the kids to have your warm cup of coffee on the porch can be acts of self-care.
Here are a few more self-care ideas: