Tuesday, 22 September 2020

17 Ideas to Help You Relax

A lady with long brown hair and a white gown sitting up in bed reading a book
We're fully in the swing of work and school now and it's surprising how quickly normal routines kick in and you almost forget about that weird six-month blip where the world just sort of stopped. It's hard to believe it's possible for the whole of society to just grind to a halt, but it did and now we're all trying to find our way back into some kind of normality. One thing I have really noticed since all this crazy Lockdown business started is how important relaxation is. We've been through some pretty stressful stuff, but going back to work is stressful in itself and I've found myself quickly falling into the old pattern of not fully relaxing because there are always more things I could be doing. 

Being of use seems more worthwhile than relaxing, but it isn't. It is not selfish to spend some time every day not focusing on anything at all, it's healthy. I have found that I have to give myself 'permission' to relax, otherwise, I will just keep thinking about my next task and not really relax at all. This is one way to switch off and I've included ways in which to give yourself permission to relax, as well as other ways to teach yourself to really switch off from the world. 

For me, the best way I have to allow myself to switch off is to make lists. I find if I can look back on how much I've done, it makes me feel better about making time for me, as well as making sure I'm not worried that I've forgotten to do something important. 

Organising my day helps too. Working from home, it's very easy to want to do a little more and a little more, until you realise you haven't had a break all morning and the afternoons can quickly become evenings. I have a strict schedule for my working day and I only change it if something urgent needs completing. 

Exercising can be relaxing, but is also necessary, so that's something I can do every day without feeling guilty. A walk in the sunshine, or even the rain, really blows away the cobwebs and refocuses the mind, whilst also helping take care of your physical health. 

Another two-birds-with-one-stone option is sorting and organising. This is THE MOST relaxing thing there is, but it also makes your home really tidy, so there's a win-win right there. Tidy house, tidy mind and all that. When my children were small I used to love sorting and compartmentalising their toys, but drawers and cupboards work too. 

A battered desk with the drawer open, containing sections with different pencils in

On days where I find I don't have much spare time, and everything is getting a bit stressful, I use a relaxation technique to give myself a proper break from thinking, even if just for ten minutes. This kind of meditation-style relaxation is something that a lot of people find quite hard to master, and I personally have always found it particularly tricky to switch off my thoughts and clear my mind. For me, the only way I can really achieve this state is to focus my mind on something mundane, that doesn't require much thought. I just close my eyes for ten minutes in a quiet room, or the garden, and see how many different sounds I can hear. It sounds a bit mad, but it really works. It's a bit like meditation for dummies. After thinking about nothing for ten minutes, I feel refreshed and revived and this is something that you can do more than once in the day and anywhere you like, even on the train, so it doesn't have to eat into your day too much. 

It turns out I'm not alone in struggling with relaxation, so here are some great ideas from other parent bloggers on what they do to relax and how they go about it. 

I make sure I make tine for myself every day, even if it's when the children have gone to bed. I will read, sometimes paint my nails . If my other half is here sometimes I go for a walk. Sit somewhere and relax. Self care is important and makes me more stress free. - Lyndsey, from Mum, That's Me!

I'd worked from home throughout lockdown on two jobs as well as the blog and trying/failing to school my son from home. I was determined to have a 'me day' when he finally returned to school and this morning I'm off to my favourite local National Trust property to just walk, enjoy the fresh air and have some peace. It's something I'll be trying to do more often now he's back at school and I'm back at work properly 4 days a week. - Mary, from Over 40 and Mum to One

I actually love writing to relax. And finding the time away from the kids makes me feel so much better. Add a glass of wine and some chocolate and it’s perfect! - Helen, from Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee

I sew and make things to relax, it enables me to switch off and watch my designs take shape. As a lot of my designs are useful things, it doesn't make me feel like my attention should be elsewhere. So a win win situation. - Faith, from Raising Moonbows

I break it up into sections so I do a task or so many hours then go walk the dog or do some gardening in my veg garden to ensure im getting mindful breaks. Lou, from Single Parent Pessimist

I found during lockdown that I was struggling to relax in the evenings - I would be sitting in our living room which had been my place of work, place of homeschool and the place where I’d served up three meals for everyone that day! So I would give myself an early night in bed and read a book in silence and on my own for a bit! Jodie, from Maidenhead Mum

A young woman with long dark hair and glasses lying on top of a bed reading a book
Photo by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash

I give myself permission to relax whenever I need to, even if it means things don’t get done. I spent the three years after my babies were born making sure everything was done, except taking care of myself. My mental health really suffers if I don’t get downtime and no to-do list is more important than my mental health. Since becoming a single mum, if I need 5 minutes, I take it. If the washing doesn’t get done or the toys don’t get put away, those things can be done tomorrow. Looking after my mental health has to be done straight away. It’s always at the top of any to-do list for me. Rebecca, from Becca Blogs it Out 

I tend to go for a walk very early in the morning. It keeps me focused for the rest of the day and I meditate for like 30 minutes just before bed - Yvette, from Uplifting and Inspiring Content

I write yoga down on my to-do list and remind myself that I am much calmer and happier when I do it. - Erin from Yorkshire Tots

I make sure I take my ‘me time’ right after dropping my little one off at school. I schedule it as part of my to do list, and I give myself a certain amount of time to read, browse and shop online as well as do my daily physio exercises. Then I can get on with the rest of my day happy that I’ve had some time for me rather than giving all my time to my work or the house. - Jo, from A Rose Tinted World

When I’m feeling overwhelmed I try to take just 5 minutes a day to a guided meditation. Just 5 minutes focusing on your breathing can do wonders for you. I usually do a Centr meditation but I have heard the app Headspace have some good free ones too. - Naomi, from Nomipolony

I do find this very difficult. However, I know that for my mental health there are two things I need to do as a minimum: find time to exercise (still not quite relaxing!), and journal. I find journaling incredibly beneficial in many ways, and it can aid relaxation, although it's probably still not enough by itself. I usually spend at least a few minutes reading before I go to sleep too. - Kate, from Refined Prose

If I've learned anything from asking my friends and fellow bloggers about relaxation, it's that I wish I could be more like Rebecca and not have to justify taking some time out. Relaxing is just as important as exercise and nutrition and it's time we embraced that and took some time out to recharge when we need to. It's true that you can't pour from an empty cup and relaxing is worth a lot more than just a reward when we think we've earned it. For a more complete relaxation experience, you could try getting away from it all with a Spa break through Voyage Privé

Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash



  1. At the moment it is so important to find some time each day to relax. I like to have a soak in the bath or play The Sims on my computer.
    Great ideas x

    1. I forgot about computer games! I really like The Sims, but I can never take it seriously, it's too funny, my son gets cross with me!


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