Getting your rest is important for feeling calm and refreshed. But it’s not always easy to know what actually relaxes you. Scrolling social media or binge-watching TV might feel restful to some, but for others it’s more depleting. And many activities that we think are relaxing (like meditating or taking bubble baths) can actually be stressors.
One of the best ways to relax is to get a change of scenery. Try taking a walk or visiting the park, or even just sitting in a different room or laying down on the couch can be helpful for some people.
Meditation and breathing exercises can also be very relaxing. A simple technique is to sit or lie down, close your eyes and find a point of focus. This could be your breathing, the sensation of air coming in and out of your nose and mouth, your stomach rising and falling or a word you repeat to yourself. If your thoughts come and go during your meditation don’t fight them – simply return to your point of focus.
Visualisation is another great relaxation exercise. Try visualising a soothing place and imagine the smells, sounds, textures and feelings you might experience there. It might sound ‘hippy’ but it works for the world’s top athletes, who use it to prepare themselves for competition and to win medals.