It’s often difficult to unwind after a busy working day, particularly if you’ve got a long to-do list waiting for you, or a family to cook for. You might feel like you can never catch a break. If this is you, it’s really important you start to set aside time to relax during the week, so as not to compromise your mental and physical well being. We can all benefit from some down time, particularly at busy times of year like Christmas.
Here are ten easy ways to de-stress and unwind, that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Doing one of these activities for just thirty minutes a day could make all the difference to how you feel. Give it a go.
1. Burn a scented candle
Rather than burning the candle at both ends, trying burning a candle at just one end! The aromatic plant extracts and essential oils found in many candles, such as Lavender or Eucalyptus, can help establish an aura of calm and reduce stress. You might be surprised at how relaxed a lovely scented candle and its dim flickering light can make you feel.
2. Watch TV mindfully
Although it is not advised to spend too much time in front of the TV, there’s nothing wrong with taking a seat on the sofa to watch your favourite show every once in a while. TV offers a great escape, and a chance to switch off. I’d advise not watching an entire box set in one evening, as often this can have the opposite effect, making you feel sluggish and lazy as opposed to relaxed and revitalised. But sitting down to catch a film, documentary or favourite show can lift your mood and allows you to put your feet up and truly switch off. Leave your phone in a different room to avoid distractions and to allow yourself to focus.
3. Pamper yourself
It’s just as important that you take care of yourself, as it is that you look after those around you. An easy way to do so is to engage in a little pamper session. My favourite routine is to remove my makeup, steam my face and then put on a face mask suited to my skincare needs. After removing the face mask I like to apply a nourishing, rich moisturiser.
Another nice way to take care of yourself is to remove your nail polish and place your hands and feet in a bowl of warm water to soften your finger and toenails. Then file, buff, polish and moisturise your hands and feet to achieve an at home manicure and pedicure. If you really want to treat yourself, you could even book an on-demand beauty therapist to come and do your mani-pedi for yoga.
4. Do some yoga
Yoga is a great way to release some of the tension that builds up in your mind and body during the day, to prepare you for sleep. Executing each movement and breath with precision will allow you to tune into your body and let go of some of that tension, whilst strengthening muscles and improving flexibility.
5. Take a bath
Hot water has the ability to relax the body and prepare you for a restful night’s sleep. The water temperature increases body temperature and relaxes your muscles. It’s like a warm hug. Introduce bath salts, bombs, oils or bubbles to the water to make your bath feel like a real treat. You might even wish to burn a candle and take in your book: just be careful not to get it wet!
6. Get a massage
Massages are a wonderful way to unwind as they can lower your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and boost your immune system. If you have any tension in your muscles – particularly your back and shoulders if you work at a desk – a massage can counterbalance those physical effects of work and stress.
You might be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who can give you a nice shoulder rub; but if not, you can now book a masseuse to come to your home via an on-demand beauty app like LeSalon. They’ll bring a bed and all the other equipment needed, you just need to ensure you have space, and provide towels. The perfect way to end a busy day!
7. Read a book
Much like watching TV, reading a book can act as a distraction from the many things going on in the real world. Reading is also known to lower your heart rate, and reading before bed is a great way to ease into sleep and ensure your sleep is deep and restful.
8. Listen to music or your favourite podcast
Listening to slow, classical music at a low volume has a profound effect on our minds and bodies. It can slow the pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure and generally decrease stress. If you’re feeling stressed, worried or anxious, the lack of lyrics also allows you to process thoughts and feelings without the distraction or emotion of song lyrics.
If classical music isn’t your thing, listening to a podcast can also act as a great distraction from daily life, and is a great way to learn new things and hear from inspiring individuals. Practice breathing.
9. Practise breathing
Being mindful of your breathing can be transcendent when it comes to unwinding at home. When anxious or stressed, our breathing quickens and the supply of oxygen to our brain is reduced. By making a conscious effort to breathe deeply, we can stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system which reduces our heart rate and helps us feel less stressed. Try a meditation app like Calm or Headspace for guided breathing and meditation that could make a big difference to your day.
10. Try your hand at something creative
Participating in a creative activity can help you channel your energy into something stimulating and relaxing. It’s also a great way to move your focus from things you’re anxious or worried about, to something creative and productive. You might like to try painting, drawing, clay modelling, collaging, knitting, sewing, or crochet. Whatever it is, take some time to find the creative activity that does it for you, and pursue it! It could be the start of a new skill, hobby, passion or even a side hustle.