I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard to relax these days with the constant flow of phone notifications, current state of the world, and pressures of daily life. It’s more important than ever to actively make time for mental health breaks to prevent burn out and lessen stress. Relaxation in and of itself has become a privilege, and one not many can afford. But I like to believe even the busiest of us can (and should!) take five to ten minutes a day to just step back and breathe. I know for me, the moment I start getting that anxious pit in my stomach from feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to take a breather. Whether I’m squeezing in a 10-minute breathing session or taking a half day, below are some ways I like to relax.
Unplug & Be Offline
Whenever I feel too overwhelmed, the first thing I do is unplug. I set up time limits on all apps, put my phone on silent mode, and let my brain breathe. I’ve recently realized a lot of my stress triggers come from the content I’m consuming on social media. As a journalist, I’m constantly staying up to date on all current affairs and as a creator, I like to stay in the loop on what’s trending across socials. It’s definitely not the healthiest combination! As soon as I put my phone away and take time to be present, I start feeling better.
Take a Walk
We’re so cooped up all day looking at screens! I’m a big fan of making time for a #HotGirlWalk and getting some fresh air. It’s the most lowkey, but effective way to calm down and relax a bit. Sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast, but most times I like to focus on my breathing and listening to the world. Whether I’m in the Jersey suburbs or in the city, I like to walk where other people are. People watching is a great reminder that I’m not alone in trying to get from point A to point B — both literally and figuratively.
Intentional Self Care
During the 2020 lockdown, I wrote an entire blog post about mindful self-care. I take time to reflect and understand why I’m gravitating towards certain activities to destress, and what needs to be nourished most. I break down self-care into these categories: physical/intellectual, emotional, and spiritual/sensory. Some of my go-to mindful self-care activities are gratitude journaling, reading, or binge watching a comfort show on Netflix.
Cook a Nice Meal
This one definitely falls under mindful self-care, but cooking is just so therapeutic for me! It’s an expression of both creativity and love, one I get to literally savor! It’s even better when I get to cook for my family, and see them enjoy a special meal I made. Food falls under physical self-care, but the act of cooking hits all the marks for me with sensory, intellectual, and emotional. Cooking and eating a nourishing meal is definitely a way I like to relax!
My go-to method for any moments of stress. Learning a few proper breathing exercises and practicing them for a few moments a day can help so much! Proper breathing relieves stress, detoxes your body, and helps stabilize blood pressure. Through therapy and Pilates I’ve learned the importance of breathing, and doing daily breathwork has helped me tremendously. I can’t encourage you enough to take a few minutes and take some deep breaths! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to thank your body for allowing you to take this deep breath. Appreciate yourself for how far you’ve come. And remember it’s a bad moment—one you will overcome—not a bad life. You got this.
How do you take time to relax?