So at the moment I’m doing a bit more relaxation than normal as I’m waiting for my new job to start.
But even now, the first time in my adult life that I have time to kill, I still don’t find relaxing easy. There’s always something on my to do list and I find it difficult to be still.
So, after months of trying to do mindfulness exercises and breathing techniques, I’ve come to the conclusion that relaxation should be defined as whatever leaves you feeling still and content. Quiet in the heart and mind. Mindfulness didn’t work for me, but here are a few tips that I’ve found useful.
A) Schedule ‘you’ time in your diary
As busy as life may be, you will notice a difference both emotionally and mentally if you can make space in your schedule for alone time. In this precious daily/weekly slot, try to do something that will make you feel calm. It could be going to a quiet place to read, going to the cinema, or even going for a gentle walk with no destination.
Some other ideas: Painting, drawing, watching a series on Netflix, writing a letter, writing a diary, making something crafty, trying gentle yoga/Pilates exercises, taking a warm bath, listening to music, getting a massage/facial, going for a gentle walk, strolling around an art gallery/museum…etc etc
Don’t be afraid to try all of the above, and anything else that comes to mind, until you find what works for you.
I find reading while in the bath, writing, watching Netflix/going to the cinema and yoga are the best options for me.
The trick with yoga is to find a class that isn’t too demanding – when it comes to relaxation, Hatha is better than Ashtanga (power) or Bikram. Once you’ve learned a few moves, you can do these at home to help you relax. Yoga classes will teach you the importance of controlling your breath and also some relaxation techniques. One of my favourites is focusing on relaxing each muscle individually starting from your head down or feet up. While doing this, you will feel like your body melts into the floor.
Recently, I’ve also found pampering works wonders for me – as seen with today’s picture of me in a face mask.
B) You don’t have to do it alone
While alone time is good for rebalancing, relaxation is completely personal and it might not be what you need. Spending time with people who make you laugh is great as laughter reduces cortisol – your stress hormone. Or spending time with someone at a comedy gig/watching a comedy film can help you relax (just don’t sit in the front row)
Alternatively, speaking to someone who you trust can also help you relax. Whether it’s just a yap about everything and nothing, or something more serious like your MG symptoms flaring up, talking to friends or family can be incredibly relaxing. Just choose carefully – there are people more capable of producing calming vibes and others who are better to be around when you need a kick up the bum.
If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable talking to and relaxing with, Myaware has a range of support groups across the country. Feeling like you’re understood can be the most relaxing experience of all. If there’s nothing in your area, check out the Myaware Young Generation page on Facebook.
C) Where and how you relax is important
1) If you plan to relax at home, make the space as comfortable as possible. If not, you’ll find distractions to stop you from doing whatever it is that makes you feel chilled.
2) Pick an outfit that you WILL relax in at home
I know this sounds a bit Daily Mail but trust me. When you put those comfy clothes on that you relate to successful relaxation, you know it’s business time (not in the Flight of the Concords way…but, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, that is an excellent form of relaxation ;))
I have my very own chic ensemble (pictured below) straight from a designer boutique in Paris.
That’s all for now – I’ve got some relaxation to do. Please share your relaxation tips below and I’ll add them in.