Coffee Talk: How to Relax (When You Don't Feel Relaxed)
Over the past year, I've come to love wellness tips and advice on how to become more balanced. The busier I get, the more I find a use for them in my own life. Recently, I've become fascinated with the idea of relaxation.
When was the last time you felt truly relaxed? And not just for five minutes while you're fitting in Headspace between meetings, but really, deeply relaxed?
I don't feel relaxed very often. I'm a Type A personality and I tend to want to always be doing something, so relaxation used to be a really hard concept for me to grasp. Lately, however, I've realized there's something special that happens when you're doing things you love—not because you have to, but because they relax you.
Here are a few tips I have found helpful in how to relax, even when you don't feel like it:
1. Take a walk.
When I'm at work, sometimes I'll have so much on my to do list and so many emails, I don't know where to start. My instinct is to dive in, tackle everything heads on, and get started right away. Instead, I'm learning to take a walk and get out of my head for a while. Even if it's five minutes of fresh air, I've found that those few minutes of clarity and calm can really reset my mind and set me up for success.
2. Try essential oils.
I used to think essential oils were a bit fluffy and couldn't really help you relax or influence your mood, but the proof is in the pudding. Trying a calming scent at night time and a focus or uplift scent during the day can really help you relax, without even noticing it. I diffused this focus scent at my desk yesterday and within five minutes I found myself focused on the task at hand and my heart rate dropping—no joke! It's amazing how much a scent can change your mood.
3. Do something you love—just to do it.
These are a few things I love: cooking, playing board games, reading and listening to music. I know if I start doing those four things, I'll instantly relax and be forced to get off my phone and actually focus on something I love.
This past Sunday night, I had my dad over for dinner (like we do every week) and we spent hours playing board games—something I haven't done since I was a kid. It's so funny how the most basic, simple things can truly take your mind off of your life for hours and are just SO fun.
Find a way to work something you love into your life every day—added bonus if it's at work, but even if it's not. Spend 30 minutes cooking a beautiful dinner (and not while multitasking, but while actually focusing on what you're doing) if you love to cook and that relaxes you. Or turn on a record and lay on your floor—without your phone—just listening to the music. Even if you have five minutes, spend those five minutes doing something you love.
4. Get active.
I must admit, those of you who know me know that I'm not the most active person in the world. In fact, I've never been called the most active anything—ever. But even I know the power of getting outside of your own head by exercising, even if it's for 20 or 30 minutes.
P.S. Getting active doesn't have to be anything crazy—it could include 20 minutes of stretching or a quick walk around your neighborhood!
5. Put your phone down.
Sometimes you just HAVE to get off your devices. Am I right? I mean, I'm admittedly very bad at this—right now I'm watching a movie, on my laptop, with my phone by my side. But I've noticed that when I'm stressed and I lean towards my phone, I end up more stressed. I feel like I open Pandora's box of things to do, people to follow up with and get lost in the social media cycle. Instead of leaning on my devices, I'm learning to just set them down when I walk in the door at the end of the day and take a little technology breather.
How do you relax? Let me know in the comments section below!