It can be so hard to relax, and find any kind of inner – or outer – peace with out busy lives and with children around. It can feel almost impossible to get the time out we need to really recharge and revive ourselves. So I’ve come up with a list of ideas that might help, even if you don’t have the time for a proper break, most of these things can be done at home or with kids in tow.
Try to work out if there’s anything else getting in the way of relaxing. Is there anything you’re stressed about? Or are you feeling overwhelmed Some things that help me is writing lists of what I need to do and then making a realistic plan of how and when I’ll get those things done – even if that means I might have to reduce some commitments. Sometimes I have to accept I can’t do and be everything, for everyone, all the time. Also be organised, for me procrastination becomes both the symptom and cause of stress – if I just did the things I needed to do I wouldn’t be stressed about not having done them! (Seems pretty obvious, yet I never learn)
Take a Long Bath (or shower)
Ideally once the kids are in bed, because if they’re anything like mine Mummy running the bath is cue for excitement. Though sometimes it’s actually kind of relaxing having a bath with my littlest, all the lovely bonding and skin to skin time can help reconnect a bit too – but sometimes Mumma just need a little time to herself! If you can get some candles, some scented bath products and maybe a glass of wine as well!
For me having a creative outlet helps me relax so much. Having my hands active helps me think sometimes, or slow my thoughts – whichever I need at the time. Crafting can be good for your brain. So knit, crochet, draw, play an instrument, sing, paint, write – whatever it is you want, or want to learn – it’s not about the end product, it’s about the process.
Not only are herbal teas calming, but for the whole ritual of having a tea pot (I have a pretty tea pot) and a pretty mug, and waiting for it to steep – there’s just something kind of zen about the whole process.
Watch favourite movie/TV show
Preferably something light, funny, familiar (rather than suspense, action, horror – unless that is relaxing for you – then go for it!). My go-to chill out movie is Pitch Perfect.
Read a book
There’s nothing quite like settling down with a good book. Whether it’s curled up on the couch, in bed, or at the park while the kids play. Or audiobook if you’re too tired/unfocused to read. I listen to audiobooks most nights in bed to fall asleep
Exercise is so good, it’s great for releasing endorphins, it’s good for your body, it can help burn off some stress. Walking is great if you have the opportunity to (maybe with bubs in a pram, or older children on a scooter or bike) If possibly try to get into nature, walk through a park if you can. If I want to really jog I’ll take the kids to a fenced park so I can run laps (they’ll usually think it’s a game and chase me). Dancing, even just at home, put on your favourite dance music (or the kids favourite dance music, whichever) and just have a mini dance party in your living room.
Honestly sometimes I find cleaning relaxing. If you don’t, that’s fine, but sometimes cleaning helps me kind of put the pent up frustration of stress into something productive, gives me something to keep my hands busy so my mind chatters less, and also because quite often the cause of my stress and what’s preventing me from relaxing is a messy house – cluttered house cluttered mind. Also this game can make cleaning both fun and relaxing!
There are so many different ways to meditate, so go with what works for you. As I’ve mentioned, for me brain chatter is a big issue and prevents me from relaxing, so I silent meditation is like torture for me and I’ll just end up obsessing about that stupid thing I said 10 years ago. So I prefer guided meditation where I have some kind of audio to follow – visualisations etc. That sort of thing. There are heaps of guided meditations on Youtube.
Talk to someone you love
It’s so nice to have a long chat with someone you care about – a close friend, family member, or your partner. Whether it’s to talk about what’s on your mind that’s maybe causing you stress, or just have a laugh and a catch up, talking can be so relaxing. Call someone, have a play date, go out for coffee date, go out for a drink and a meal if you can – whatever you can to connect and share with someone you love.
What’s your favourite way to relax?