When I was a child, my mum used to lie on her bed and listen to calming sounds. Often waves at sea, trickling water, or sounds from the forest. Or a lovely calm lady saying “breathe in….. breathe out….” I remember trying to lie still next to her while she was listening to her relaxation tapes (before CD’s were invented), attempting to do the same. Unfortunately at seven years old these sounds weren’t going to calm my active brain!
However as I’ve grown older (and wiser) and become responsible for two little growing humans, it’s become extremely important to me that I find a way to practice relaxation. As an adult, your responsibilities seem to be endless, especially when you have a family to take care of. Whether it be financial, career-related, relationship, health and wellness, we carry a heavy load as we take on more in our lives.
I’ve put together my top five favourite ways of relaxing for you, in hope that perhaps it might encourage you to concentrate on making relaxation a priority:
1. Be Creative
I’m a creative person at heart, much to my husband’s annoyance, I have boxes and containers of crafts and knick knacks all over the house. I have cookbooks scattered across the kitchen shelf. Paints and pencils. Knitting needles of all sizes and wool of all colours. Fabric and old clothes waiting to be sewn into something new. I love to write (which you know because you’re reading my blog!).
I find creative activities a great way to calm my mind, close off the outside distractions if only for a while, and just concentrate on creating something new. Whether it’s in the kitchen, with arts and crafts, or a new story for my blog, it gives me something to focus my energy on, and very quickly helps me to relax.
2. Read a Good Old Fiction Novel
When I’m feeling particularly anxious, troubled, or bogged down by life, I read. I love to read, but different books will engage me at different times, and to be honest, something that is inspiring and motivating, requires a little more of my focus, so that’s not always my first go-to for relaxing.
What is at the top of my relaxation reading list, are my childhood favourites. Harry Potter is at the very top, along with some Enid Blyton classics, Twilight series, Jodi Picoult novels and a few others. Yes I know these are probably what the bookstore labels “Young Adult Fiction” but I think that’s what helps me to relax when reading them. They take me back to a place I enjoyed, in my younger years when I read these books for the first time. They’re fun, easy-to-read, and require nothing from me but my attention.
It’s so easy to get lost in the story of a good book, immersed in the world that is written on the pages in front of me.
3. Visit The Beach
We went to the beach a few weekends ago and I have to say it was complete bliss. Even with Miss Toddler and Baby #2 there, it was amazingly calming to listen to the gentle wind whistling, the water crashing metres away. Being able to feel the soft sand and smell the salty air. We don’t get to the beach nearly as often as I would like to, but when we do, I know it’s doing wonders for my mind and soul.
4. Go Bush
I got into tramping the year prior to falling pregnant with Miss Toddler, and I absolutely loved it. There is something incredibly relaxing about being out in the nature, surrounded by trees. Listening to all the sounds of nature, and even just the sound of your own breathing is great for focusing your energy away from your problems and just being present in the moment.
5. Play With My Children
I can already hear your skepticism about this one from here. But believe me, when I actually sit down in the playroom with Miss Toddler, clear of all devices, and completely engage with her in play, it really does become relaxing. Perhaps it’s because I allow myself to drop thoughts and feelings about anything else at that time and just focus on building my block tower, or setting out our pretend picnic.
This is probably one of the most rewarding ways I choose to relax. Because I know it’s not only helping me, but it’s making my little girl extremely happy as well. And when you see a smile on your child’s face, it’s hard to remember what was troubling you so much.
I know these may not work for everyone, so please share with me what activities you use to relax. Perhaps you’re like my mum and choose to listen to relaxation sounds and music. Or perhaps you use meditation or yoga. Whatever you do is perfect for you, and if you’re looking to try something else, give my tips a go.