By Indre Bagdonaite
During these difficult times, it is important to know how to relax and set your mind free - at least for a little while. Relaxing is a form of self-care that we should invest in not only to develop a more positive mindset but also to give ourselves a much needed break from the stress and uncertainty that is all around us.
Here are some simple suggestions which you can do alone or with your friends and family whilst in lockdown...
Read a book
Fact, fiction, quiz, cooking, DIY, magazine, self-help and self-development books... they can help you relax and if it's something you're interested in, can also maximise positive emotions and give us a sense of achievement. There can often be a lot of noise around us so learning to focus our minds on what's in front of us and 'tune out' the background noise is a valuable skill for all aspects of life.
Listen to music
We all have music we like and that helps boost our mood. It might be helpful to create a few varied playlists that you can refer to at different times. Sometimes it can be relaxing to have music on in the background whilst we are working or doing the everyday tasks. But it can be especially relaxing to just stop, get comfortable and focus on the lyrics and music.
Create a 'happy' place / moment
This could range from your bathroom where you have a long bubble bath with candles and slow music playing in the background. It could also be that you find running or a different form of exercise a good way to clear your mind and relax. For others it might be arts and crafts, DIY, cooking/baking, doing a brain teaser... either way, it's good to have a go to environment or activity that you know will help you to unwind.
Spend time in nature
Although this is much harder to do now, just opening the window and letting the sun steam in and listening to the noises outside can be refreshing and help us to feel more free. If you're able to, why not go into your garden and feel the earth on your feet, set up a picnic, put bird feed out, pitch a tent…
There are many different forms of meditation and several platforms to help you - thanks to technology, we have a whole range of meditation apps or online videos that we can use. You can also just try sitting in a quiet, dark room and focus on your breathing for a few minutes.
Do something that makes you happy
Whether this is a current or rekindled hobby, calling friends and family, doing your exercise allowance, watching TV, making plans for in the future or just being the now. Try to give yourself reasons to smile and be happy. It's okay to take a break when things feel overwhelming and stressful. By doing something that makes you happy before coming back to it, you'll be in a better frame of mind and probably be far more productive.
The list could go on...
When challenges arise, we may overthink the situation, which causes a negative outlook. When we think and feel negatively, it can often be a slippery slope. Relaxing can be a way to break free from that pattern and focus on positivity. As a result, you're likely to develop a positive mindset, way of being and interacting with others.
A phrase commonly used is that ‘thoughts become things’. This is something we should try to live by, especially during times like these where it can be so easy to be negative and let fear and worry creep in.
Relaxing can be a way to feel grateful for all the good things in your life.
It can remind you that bad times don’t last forever.
It can help us to think more clearly and rationally.
it can help to put things into perspective.
It can help us to feel calmer and more in control.
When you relax, your thoughts tend to slow down, allowing you to focus on what's important.
This is why relaxing if a form of self-care... your mind and body will thank you for it.