We live in a world that emphasizes productivity and hard work. This culture certainly has its advantages, including the rapid improvement of digital technologies and medical solutions. Now more than ever, we have opportunities that people in the past could only dream about. Of course, this comes at a cost.
It can be tough to find our personal ‘off’ switch, especially when the notion of relaxing is touted as an indulgence instead of the necessity it truly is. Your health and overall productivity depend on taking enough time to rest and enjoy a break from the demands of daily life. This is vital to all aspects of wellbeing, from creativity to immune system strength.
So, what can you do to relax and unwind? Many people opt to spend time in nature or listen to their favourite music. But eventually, seasonal changes might make your walk in the park undesirable, and your ‘chill out’ mix can start to feel overplayed. The good news is that there are plenty of other ways to rack up some downtime. Here are five suggestions.
Laugh a Little
As silly as just doing it may seem, laughing has some serious benefits. Plus, there are virtually no downsides – unless you start giggling on the bus or during a meeting. But at the right time and in the right place, laughter can calm your body and enhance your mood. Studies have proven that it’s able to reduce the production of stress hormones.
It’s also more important than you might think. We tend to laugh less and less often as we age, reportedly going from around 400 times per day as children to a mere 15 as adults. So, if you feel like you’re on the latter end of the spectrum, perhaps it’s time to increase your laugh quota with a few funny cat videos or quality time with friends.
Eat Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C, which is prevalent in citrus fruit like oranges, but is also found in broccoli, strawberries, peppers, and even potatoes, can prevent spikes in cortisol, the hormone responsible for increasing anxiety. That’s why snacking on your favourite source of this vitamin can reduce your physical and mental response to stress, making it easier to relax.
In fact, the mere scent of acidic fruits can induce this effect while also aiding with digestion. You don’t necessarily have to sniff oranges. A diffuser filled with an essential oil such as grapefruit, lemon, or mandarin will do the trick.
Go to an Aquarium
Have you ever wondered why so many doctors’ and dentists’ offices have fish tanks in them? It turns out that standing in front of an aquarium or similar nature-like feature has a noticeable impact on your emotional state.
The Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic found that being around a fish tank or koi pond can significantly reduce the presence of unpleasant emotions such as anger, fear, and stress. This can take effect within just five minutes, so don’t hesitate to take a trip to the local aquarium when you’re feeling worn out.
Play Some Games
An engaging and enjoyable game is the stress-reliever of choice for millions of people. There are several reasons why this is the case. For example, much like meditation, gaming can help you enter a flow state. It can also be an avenue for creativity, helping you channel your energy and decompress. Gaming can be a source of social connections, too.
That said, not all of us have the time or means to get stuck into a fully-fledged game. If you’re at the office, consider a simple online game that you can play in your browser. There are plenty of websites that offer a range of different games that you can play without having to download anything or dedicate hours of your time.
For those who want a more thrilling experience, consider checking out a website such as Play Live. It’s the biggest online casino in South Africa, with over 1,300 games to choose from, including blackjack, poker, roulette, and slots. Play Live also offers a huge deposit bonus and weekly cashback to add to your winnings, which are paid out on the same day.
Write a Postcard
It might be a bit old-fashioned, but scribbling down some words on a postcard, be it for a friend or family member, can be a great way to relax and unwind. You don’t necessarily have to send it to anyone, although it can make for a special gift in our digital world.
That said, any form of writing is a tried-and-true method for staving off stress and anxiety. A considerable (and potentially productive) alternative is journaling, be it to plan the day ahead or simply jot down your feelings.
From reading to taking a warm bath, there are many other effective ways to relax. The key is to do it guilt-free, knowing that it’s vital to your health and you deserve every minute.