In todays fast paced world, many people seem resistant to slowing down and taking time out to relax on a regular basis. There always seems to be so much to do on most people's never ending To Do list.
I also used to find it hard to relax. Yet making time for rest and relaxation is essential for maintaining health, happiness and a balanced lifestyle.
Here are some of my favourite ways of relaxing. I hope you will enjoy reading about them, and that they will make you feel relaxed or inspired to add more relaxation to your life.
Listening to relaxing sounds
One highly effective relaxation techniques is to sit and listen to relaxing sounds.
I live in a city, but the area that I live in is suprisingly quiet and I am amazed that most of the time I can be at home and enjoy the simple pleasure of peace and quiet.
Most of my neighbours have gardens, home to a variety of birds and other wildlife. Some mornings I love nothing more than to simply throw open my windows and let the natural sound of birdsong float into my living room as I sit and enjoy my morning cup of tea.
I love listening to relaxing music, especially relaxing classical music. One of my favourite composers is Debussy, whose work is light and ethereal.
I also love listening to relaxing oriental music, which usually transports me away to the peace and serenity of a tranquil Japanese garden.
Recently, I have discovered Harp music, which I have found is also very relaxing.
Occasionally during the afternoon, I take a conscious decision to stop whatever I am doing and have a proper afternoon tea break, which being English I love.
I enjoy making a real ritual of it, taking the time to fill a teapot with one of my favourite teas such as Earl Grey or Darjeeling. I have also recently rediscovered the simple pleasures of baking and have started to make my own cakes and biscuits.
I use my favourite china cups and tea plates and relax on my sofa, enjoying my afternoon tea, and reading a good book or watching the afternoon film.
I wholeheartedly agree with the Slow Food Movement which promotes the idea of slowing down and taking the time to prepare and enjoy our meals.
I love to read as a way to relax.
One of my favourite books that I am reading at the moment is called Huts, Havens, and Hideaways.
It is about places that people have created as their place of sanctuary. They include beach huts by the sea, treehouses at the bottom of a garden, a cosy, stove-heated railway carriage and a summer house surrounded by flowers.
Just reading about these places and looking at the beautiful pictures is enough to make me feel that I too have escaped for a while.
I love the smell of lavender and chamomile essential oils and their ability to help me relax and unwind.
I often use candles or oil burners in my home to fragrance the air with these beautiful scents.
Occassionally I go completely mad and run a hot bath and fill the tub with wonderful smelling lavender bath oils and bubble baths and also have candles sprinkled around the bathroom.
Sometimes I like to play relaxing music, but often I prefer simple peace and quiet and enjoy the sounds of the candles crackling away and the bubbles popping.
It is so relaxing, I usually fall asleep.
Going for a walk in nature.
I am lucky that I have a variety of beautiful and natural places on my doorstep to go for a walk or a drive.
Walking out of my front door, within a few minutes, I am in woodland, walking along a river gorge, or enjoying the open space of the Downs.
When I am feeling really stressed, I like to drive to my favourite spot, which is at my nearest beach, where I love to sit high up in the cliffs and listen to the waves crashing against the rocks below.
Within an hours drive I have access to moor land or mountains. I love to walk here or sit and relax and be completely surrounded by nature. Within a short while, any stress has melted away, and having breathed in all that fresh air, I return home feeling totally relaxed and refreshed.
Several years ago, I started to learn how to meditate. It is a great way to take time out in your day to stop and relax and concentrate on being rather than doing. I usually use meditation as a relaxation tecnique on those ocassions when life becomes very stressful.
As you can see, there are many WONDERFUL WAYS of RELAXING.
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