Health Advocate Blog

Fun, simple ways to relax

Need some relaxation inspiration? National Relaxation Day is right around the corner! This year, this fun observance falls on Saturday, August 15th, giving you the perfect excuse to enjoy your weekend day instead of spending the time doing errands or chores.

Taking a break to relieve stress and fit in some “me time” is necessary for good health. Try these fun and simple relaxation techniques on National Relaxation Day, or any day, to relax and unwind:

Sleep in. Sleeping is both a relaxing and restorative activity. Set your alarm 30 minutes or an hour later than usual to help yourself get more sleep. When you do wake up, get up slowly and enjoy being in bed rather than hitting the ground running. But be careful—too much extra sleep can throw your routine off and result in an inability to sleep later on.

Take a nap. If you’re unable to sleep in, try napping during the day for a little R and R.

Read a book or magazine. If all you read during the week are emails, free up some of your day to read for pleasure. Choose a good book or magazine, find a quiet place, and take the opportunity to relax by getting out of your head. Plus reading has many benefits for well-being.

Take a bath. Bath time isn’t just for kids. Take a soak in your tub; add a squirt of your favorite shower gel. The warm water helps to relieve tension from the week. If you want, you can even read while soaking.

Go outside. Fresh air, sunlight and the last bit of summer’s warm weather can be especially beneficial to those cooped up inside during the work week. Sit in your yard or on your porch or balcony and just be mindful of your surroundings while taking in the sights and sounds. Even better, go to a local park or beach to enjoy nature.

Get together with friends or family. Share a few hours with people who you enjoy spending time with.

Cuddle with your spouse, kids or furry friend. Whether it’s people or pets, physical interactions with those you love produce brain pleasing neurotransmitters that promote relaxation and a sense of calm.

Dance. Physical activity also produces feelings of well-being. Turn on your favorite radio station or create a great dance playlist to help you get movin’. Better yet, invite a friend to join you for this fun activity!

Sing your heart out. Similarly, singing can make you feel good and unwind. Even just listening to your favorite song, band or artist can help you relax.

Breathe deeply. Proper breathing or “belly breathing” can be beneficial when you’re trying to relax. Most people breathe from their chest, resulting in insufficient oxygen intake. You must breathe down into your diaphragm in order to belly breathe. You should feel your abdomen expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.

Meditate. Taking time out to meditate can be a great way to relax. It is another activity to help relieve negative emotions with the goal of improving your mood. If you need help getting started with meditation, check out these apps: Stop, Breathe & Think and the Calm.

Become creative. Find a hobby or craft and stick to it. There are many options out there, but if you’re looking for ideas to start, consider playing an instrument, songwriting, writing poetry, painting, drawing, knitting, scrapbooking or crocheting.

Get groomed. Taking time for a little self-improvement by getting your hair cut and styled, or cut and shaved. It can be relaxing to have someone else do your hair, especially when it is washed and styled by someone other than yourself.

Pamper yourself. Get a massage, facial, manicure and/or pedicure. Many nail salons even offer “sports” manicures and pedicures for men. If you don’t have time or would rather not spend the money, check out these tips to give yourself a massage.

Find your own relaxing activity. Relaxing is a subjective activity—everyone has different preferences and perceptions of what is helpful. If none of the aforementioned ideas are in your interest, think about what activities you do find relaxing and put them into practice.

For Health Advocate Members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Program, connect with a Wellness Coach for more relaxation techniques and support in reducing stress.