“A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” W.H. Davies
I’ve never been very good at doing downtime.
Oh, I do downtime. But not without the nagging thought that I ‘should’ be doing something more constructive.
Ah, that was a good book. But I probably should have been exercising / cooking / sewing / cleaning / playing with the kids / spending quality time with hubby / working… instead.
It’s a common theme, busyness is a popular 21st Century pastime.
And it’s not healthy. It’s not the way to live a thriving life.
At some point, we need to look at the big picture. Have we taken on too much? Do we need to say no more? Do we need to simplify? Downsize? Declutter our schedule?
Do we really want busyness to define our life?
But even when if simplify our life, there will always be times when life gets hectic.
When you don’t get enough sleep. When you’re not feeling your best. When the proverbial poo hits the fan.
Great, add another cleaning job to the to-do list.
And you will need ways to manage those everyday stresses and get back that feeling of calm sanity and the confidence to cope.
That’s where these frugal ways to chill come in.
They’re quick and easy to do – some can be done anywhere, anytime. Most cost nothing at all; the others just a few cents.
But they can have a huge impact on your wellbeing and current state of mind.
FRUGAL WAYS TO RELAX
1. TAKE DEEP BREATHS
Make sure they fill your belly rather than your chest. In through your nose (hold) and out through your mouth. Slowly. It’s amazing how something so simple can make such a huge difference to your stress levels. And it’s something you can do anywhere, anytime.
Forget the stereotypical ideas of meditation (unless of course, they work for you). Meditation can be as simple as stopping and taking notice of your breath, of your body and the present moment.
Close your eyes if you like (you don’t have to) and focus on your belly breathing for a few breaths to a few minutes. Then do a scan of your body, finding tension spots – tense the muscles one at a time and relax them. Then focus on what you can hear: name five sounds you can hear. Name five things you can feel. Five things you can smell.
The idea is to put yourself in the present moment and de-stress. It’s a simple exercise and another one you can do anywhere at anytime.
3. HAVE A CUP OF TEA
Or your favourite warm beverage. A quiet cuppa is a panacea for just about everything.
4. TAKE A WARM BATH
A warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil is very relaxing. Enhance the experience with candles, a favourite beverage and your favourite music.
Apparently, some people find exercise enjoyable. If you’re one of them, get puffing! Exercise clears the head and gets the endorphins flowing.
Even if you’re like me and exercise is not your favourite activity, a walk outside, preferably in nature, can do the world of good.
6. READ A BOOK
More my style of relaxation! Even if it’s just a page or a chapter, a little bit of escapism with a book can do wonders.
7. CALL A FRIEND
Nothing beats a chat with a good friend, especially if you can do it over a cuppa or while going for a walk together. A phone call and an empathetic ear can do wonders for your mood.
8. DO YOGA
YouTube is the go-to resource for yoga routine videos. From the beginner to the experienced, you’ll find one to follow and benefit from the relaxation effect of yoga.
In the very least, try some stretching exercises (like these) to ease tense muscles and relax.
9. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Create a playlist of your favourite songs to use as a pick-me-up. There’s nothing like music to heal the soul.
10. PAMPER YOURSELF
If you’re lucky, you might be able to convince your partner to give you a massage. If not visit YouTube again for ‘self-massage for relaxation’ videos.
Massage, dry brushing and a DIY facial, along with a hot bath, can do wonders for your stress level.
“You’ll never get the flow state by watching TV, but activities like rock climbing, writing, skiing, painting, dancing, or programming are good candidates….It’s one of life’s ironies that we often choose to spend time passively as a gift to ourselves, when true satisfaction and deep happiness come from doing the things that require more of us.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Getting into the zone or flow through creativity not only allows you to relax but increases your happiness.
I find repetitive tasks like knitting or hand sewing, tasks that have a meditative quality, the most relaxing, but tasks that require a lot of concentration like drawing also get you deep into the flow.
Sleep is the most restorative thing you can do when stressed. The problem is, that if you’re strung high, it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. Which is why a combination of the above relaxing methods and a good night’s sleep can lead to a much better day tomorrow.
The important thing is to not feel guilty when you take time out for yourself. Easier said than done, I know. When you take time out for yourself to relax, rest and restore, you’re a better person for it and everyone benefits.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO CHILL OUT AND DE-STRESS?