Taking a moment out of your day to re-center yourself and breathe does wonders for your body and mind. There's science behind it, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress and with stress related to various health problems, such as heart disease and pain." The health benefits of relaxation techniques seem endless, from lowering blood pressure to improving digestions to increasing blood flow to major muscles.
While there are different relaxation techniques out there, some of which include tensing and relaxing muscles, visualization, and deep breathing, people might have a variety of methods they like to use that calms them. Whatever relaxes you, go with that—every person is different, so what works for you might not work for someone you know.
In honor of National Relaxation Day (August 15), we rounded up some of our favorite methods to relax. Try some out below and let us know what you do to relax by sending us a message or comment on @thethirty on Instagram.
1. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing: Even if it's just for a minute, being mindful of your breathing can help re-center yourself.
2. Listen to some music while sitting in a comfy chair or lying down: Preferably something that's soothing, but whatever works for you.
5. Take a walk outside: One of our editors likes to take some wine to go in a tumbler and take a walk around her neighborhood, sometimes with a friend.
6. Get a massage: Whether it's an hour-long full-body one, or a 15-minute foot or upper-back massage.
7. Meditate: Even if it's just for a few minutes, meditation can calm you.
8. Allow yourself to daydream and think of something that makes you feel happy: You can also try visualization, which is a relaxation technique in which you "form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation."
9. Use a foam roller: Even if you haven't recently worked out, a foam roller can help release tension and loosen your muscles.
10. Squeeze a stress ball: Keep this one at your desk for a quick way to decrease tension.
11. Drink some tea or water: Try a soothing tea like green, chamomile, or peppermint. Or, add some lemon to your water.
12. Read a book: It can help transport you to another place and/or time, which can provide some distraction from daily stress.
13. Bake: For some people, baking is a de-stressor. Cooking can also help, too.
14. If you find yourself surrounded by people, find a quiet place to be alone: This can mean some alone time in your car, stepping outside for a few minutes, closing your bedroom door, or going on a solo hike.
15. Take a bath: A relaxing bath is peak self-care, but if you don't have enough time for one, a quick shower can be refreshing, too.
16. Go on a bike ride: Maybe not on busy streets, but around your neighborhood park where it's much quieter.
17. Practice yoga: This will help you stretch and breathe.
18. Watch a TV show: Particularly one that makes you feel good and light, like a 30-minute comedy.
19. Write in your journal: This can help you process and get out your thoughts and what's stressing you.
20. If you like doing crafts, work on a favorite DIY: Starting something you've never tried before made be too stressful, but if you find knitting or painting helps calm you, try it.
21. Listen to an audiobook or podcast: There are so many out there, choose whichever one might entertain or inspire you.
22. Slowly tense and relax each muscle group: This is also known as progressive muscle relaxation.
23. Do a face mask: It's another self-care ritual that really works.
24. Instead of reading an article on your phone or computer, read a magazine or newspaper: Your phone could lead to more distractions, or pull you into an Instagram black hole.
25. Do a crossword puzzle: It will get your brain working in a different way.
26. If you can't do something in nature, lie on the couch or bed, or lounge in a chair with as many windows open as possible: This is another suggestion from one of our editors.
27. Stretch: Loosen your muscles, especially if you hold tension in certain parts of your body, like the shoulders.
28. Sing: Out loud if you feel like it.
29. Got to a workout class: This helps if exercising is a stress reliever for you.
30. Clean or organize: If you can't relax because of a cluttered space or mess around you, take a few minutes to organize that space. Visual clutter can be stressful for some people.
31. Talk to a friend or family member in person or on the phone: Sometimes being able to talk out your problems or just hear about someone else's day can get your mind off things or ease your stress or anxiety.
32. Repeat some positive mantras or phrases: They can help you feel more confident and relaxed.
33. Play a game, whether it's on your phone, a board game, or a jigsaw puzzle: Concentrating on something else can help you forget your anxiety or stress, and when it's time to face it again, you might have a clearer mind or different perspective.
34. Take a nap: Enough said.
35. Wash your face: This simple act is refreshing (and it's good for your skin, too).
36. Dance it out: Release some pent-up tension with a fun solo dance session to your favorite song.
37. Light some candles at home: Create a warm glow and ambiance so you can feel more mellow.
38. Get a manicure or pedicure: You can't argue that it's not a treat.
39. Turn on some nature sounds: There are apps which have various sounds (like rain or birds), and you can also invest in a noise machine, which is a sleep aid, too.
40. Try some retail therapy: Or go window shopping.
41. If you have tense shoulders or upper back, get a microwavable neck and shoulder wrap: This will soothe your muscles (and also the warmth just feels so good).
42. Do a chore that doesn't require a lot of thinking: Some people say that doing the dishes helps them relax.
43. Cuddle with your pet: They're just so comforting and won't force you to talk if you don't feel like it (unlike human beings).
44. Take in the view: Whether it's just looking out the window or watching the sunset, a change of scenery (even without leaving your spot) is so refreshing.
45. Garden or tend to your plants: Gardening has a calming effect on some people.
46. Chill or warm a face towel: Use it to wipe your face, or cover your face with it for a few minutes. Or you can use it on your body, kind of like when they give you a warm towel on an airplane to refresh.
47. Eat chocolate: A recent 2018 study found that dark chocolate could reduce stress and inflammation.
48. If you're able to, change into comfortable clothes, or just take off your shoes: Changing into loungewear when you get home can help you feel more relaxed after a long day at work.
49. Move your face muscles: This can relieve tension, especially if you've tightened your jaw.
50. Use pressure points: Some people believe that focusing on pressure points can relieve headaches and stress.