Updated: Mar 24
Lately, it seems like being overworked and overbooked is the new norm. After all, being both can equate to ongoing success and higher status, right?
Well, no, not entirely.
Being overworked and overbooked is only working yourself to rock bottom, where anxiety, depression, and physical exhaustion will take over.
Look, I’m telling you this right now. If you don’t do something to give yourself a break today, then you’re going to remain stuck in the constant cycle of toxic habits and working yourself to death (literally).
But the cliche ways of giving yourself a break will not cut it this time. It’s time to practice some least talked about relaxation methods that are highly effective at lowering your stress levels and increasing your overall happiness. Below, I’ve listed five for you to try.
Being In Nature
Before there were spas and saunas, there was a more natural and accessible way of unwinding by basking in the world created specifically for us.
There’s something about being in nature that brings a sense of peace to anyone, even people who don’t consider themselves the outdoorsy type. Hearing the birds chirp, feeling the wind kissing your face, and even experiencing the grass between your toes can bring you back to your center point.
Now, if you downplay this choice simply because you’re not an outdoorsy type of person, I want to invite you to open your mind. Plenty of outdoor activities can overtake your hatred for the outdoors with a love for inner peace.
A few of those activities include:
Going on boat rides
I challenge you to give at least one of these activities a try the next time you go to a park or outdoor open space. Remember, the only way you can decide if this relaxation activity suits you is to take baby steps and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
You don’t have to be the next J.K. Rowling to complete this stress-reducing task. All you need is paper, a pencil or pen, and a calming environment to clear your head.
Writing out your thoughts is one of the most healthy ways to unwind due to its free feeling. There are no rules to journaling, especially when you’re doing it to vent or even unlock your creative side.
It’s so simple to start right now. Take a moment to look around your current area. Do you see something to write on? Do you see something to write?
Good. Now grab both items, go to a place that brings you peace (your room, a park, a coffee shop, etc.) and vent out all your thoughts on paper. Feel free to put on some relaxing music or even listen to a podcast if that’s your thing.
Don’t worry about what comes from your mind or what you write on paper. Don’t worry about how long or short the venting session is for you. Just focus on what you need to let out to feel whole once again.
If you need an extra boost of inspiration, here are three deep writing prompts that can help you relax and clear your mind:
Something happened today that made me feel…
In a perfect world, I would…
Life would be so much easier if…
There’s a power that comes with two abilities: listening and doing. As a result, enduring music and art therapy will help to unlock your restful side when peace doesn’t seem to be an option.
Music/art therapy is the action of using music or art to address your immediate physical, mental, and emotional needs. Often, they act as distractions to your mind to better place you in a more desirable position for yourself.
Suppose you cannot manage your stress levels or other factors affecting your physical and mental wellness. In that case, I highly suggest seeing a professional music/art therapist who can help you along the way.
However, if you’re someone who wants to tap into your creative side while reducing your stress levels, here are the basics of getting started with music/art therapy as a self-care activity, according to Dr. Deah Schwartz, an art and musical therapist:
Gather your materials (paper, paint, markers, music player, etc.).
Free write/journal areas about yourself you accept but also note where you need some improvement (ex., you love how you physically handle negative comments, but you wish you could take them better mentally).
Use your art materials to depict at least one aspect you like about yourself (paint whatever comes to your mind regardless of the improvement areas).
Remember that you’re identifying the part of you that you can view in a positive and self-accepting light despite how you may negatively feel.
(If you’re feeling expressive) act out what’s going on in your artwork.
The same directions apply if you choose to participate in musical therapy. Instead of painting, you must listen to various musical genres and write out the feelings you experience from listening to those songs.
This activity is one that I know you’ll love since it’s also the ideal way to beat these scorching summer temperatures.
Whether you’ve been swimming for years or want to start learning this summer, performing this simple activity has proven to reduce stress levels and improve your mental and physical health. That’s a win-win situation for you.
However, it’s not just the act of swimming that provides your mind with a sense of tranquility. It’s also physically being in water that brings a whole heap of benefits for you, including:
Improving your well-being/happiness.
Lowering your heart rate.
Keeping you fit with light exercise.
Decreases your chances of having anxiety and depression.
So if you have no other plans for the summer and want to guarantee a balance in your stress levels, go for a splash in a pool before summer is over!
At-Home Spa Day
If you’re in a creative mood and want an opportunity to pamper yourself, an at-home spa day is a perfect activity for you to reduce your stress.
The best part about this relaxing activity is that it’s inexpensive and takes no time to plan. All you need is the stepping stool to help you get ideas.
So, here are questions you can answer for yourself to help you get started with your moment of peace:
What relaxing activities bring me peace (i.e., taking a bath, reading, massages, etc.)?
What does self-care mean to me?
Do I already have materials at home to make my at-home spa day successful? If not, what do I need?
What do my mind and body need the most?
After you’ve crafted your plan, make sure you set a time to make it happen. It’s recommended that you make time for yourself at least once a week, so make sure to plan this day around your next off day or day to yourself.
Are you too busy to make it a full day of relaxation? No issue! You can answer these same questions and craft a plan to have a relaxing moment during your days, whether it’s for five minutes or one hour.
Don’t Forget About Taking Care Of You
Stress is a feeling that no one desires to feel. And let’s be honest, you don’t deserve to have that feeling creep up on you unexpectedly.
At this point, there’s only one solution to combat these hair-pulling moments: focusing on your self-care rituals, and it’s the only way to maintain your sanity when enduring challenging and stressful times.
Sometimes, you must step out of your comfort zone to find a relaxing escape from the madness. That will require you to try something out of the ordinary to achieve that goal.
Which of these five activities are you looking forward to trying out? And if you have tried at least one of them already, talk about your experience and recommendations for others looking for calmness.