16 Easy Ways To Relax

A person relaxes in a hammock between two trees in front of a desert mountain.

Taking the time to relax and relieve the stresses of our day is important for our physical and emotional well-being.

But how do we find easy ways to relax when we’re short on vacation days or funds?

While we’d all love to book a yoga retreat or indulgent spa treatment, not all of us have the luxury to do so. But that doesn’t mean we have to forget about relaxing altogether. There are tons of easy ways to help you relax, without breaking the bank.

Keep reading below for simple, budget-friendly ideas to add some more relaxation to your day. No plane ticket required.

1. Drink your morning cup of coffee outside

Instead of rushing around in the morning, treat yourself to a relaxing cup of joe outside. Maybe it’s a park bench or even the bench at your local coffee shop. You can read the paper or just people watch and feel the breeze on your face. There’s just something about sipping a morning beverage outside that makes you feel like you're on a vacation.

2. Write in your journal

When we write things down, we just feel better. Period. You don’t need hours to experience the benefits of journal writing. Even jotting down a few lines can help you unload your mind and regain some clarity and calm. Plus, it’s always nice to have an excuse to break out the cute pens and notebooks.

3. Make a collage

Cutting out photos and then pasting them onto paper is so relaxing. Even writers and artists like Austin Kleon find collage making to be a mindful exercise that occupies your hands and your thoughts.  All you need to get started are scissors, magazines, and a poster board or notebook. Some people like to create a vision board with their collage while others like to create artwork out of their favorite images or text.

4. Splash your face with cold water

We all know that hot baths are soothing, but did you know that splashing your face with cold water can be effective as well? Cold water helps our bodies relax when we’re feeling stressed or anxious. The bracing chill of the water distracts our busy mind and brings us back to the present moment. It’s a simple way to literally refresh ourselves.

5. Break for tea 

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of your day and slow down with a cup of tea. There’s a reason that tea breaks are an important part of the day in countries around the world. It gives you a chance to pause, sip slowly, and enjoy conversation or a moment for yourself. You can feel so refreshed and relaxed after a single cup.

6. Stretch your neck

Sitting in front of a computer all day is enough to create tension and stiffness in your upper body. Help yourself relax with easy stretches that you can do at your desk.

7. Listen to bird song

If you’re lucky enough to live or work in an area where you can hear bird song outside, take advantage! Open a window or take a short stroll outdoors. There’s nothing like the sweet trill of a sparrow to soothe your spirits.

8. Walk along a tree-lined street

So much has been said about the healing powers of nature. But if you work in an office or in an urban area, you can’t easily slip outside and take a walk in the woods. But sometimes, just being outside and looking at trees is enough to slow us down and achieve peace. Whether it’s a quiet, tree-lined block or a community garden, taking a moment to be around greenery will help you feel so much better afterwards.

9. Color

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Not only is it a fun and easy way to entertain ourselves but coloring is also good for our health. It’s a simple but satisfying task that reduces stress, harnesses our attention, and keeps distracting thoughts at bay. Even just 5-10 minutes of coloring in a coloring book can help you feel more relaxed.

10. Count to ten

If you’re feeling stressed at work or stuck in horrible traffic, help yourself calm down by counting to ten. It's a simple but effective technique to help manage your anger and nerves.

11. Garden

Gardening is a mindful activity that helps keep your hands busy and your mind on the task at hand. Plus, tending to your garden feels like an extension of tending to yourself. It’s an act of self-care in which you’ll also get to reap the benefits of having a gorgeous garden to admire.

12. Write a gratitude list

Taking the time to express what we’re grateful for can lift our spirits. You can write a list of the people you are grateful for or the simple pleasures in life. You can write in your gratitude journal in the morning to start the day off on a relaxing note. Or in the evening for a calming bedtime routine.

13. Listen to water

We may not be able to go on a beach getaway, but even something like listening to a meditation app with the sounds of ocean waves is enough to relieve our mood.

14. Do something your inner 8 year old would like

Maybe it’s splashing around in puddles or looking for tadpoles or playing with blocks. Make a list of all the things that would make your inner 8 year old happy and then do something off that list.

15. Try aroma therapy

Certain scents like citrus, lavender, and eucalyptus have been known to have calming properties. Consider adding an aroma diffuser to your workspace or home to experience its soothing benefits.

16. Ride a bike

Denmark consistently ranks high as one of the happiest countries in the world. And it could be their strong biking culture that contributes to their well-being. So the next time you’re looking for an easy way to relax, try hopping on a bike. When you’re cruising along and feeling the wind whipping through your hair, it will feel like all your worries are drifting away. 

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