Let’s be honest: life can be pretty challenging at times. If you tend to be a bit anxious, then you surely know how the unplanned and unknown can throw you off your course and how the many thoughts crossing your mind can make it hard to sleep at night.
Being stressed can be tiring, frustrating and generally unpleasant. It takes up much of your energy because you can be agitated and can’t stand in one place too still, but it can also be frustrating because you don’t want to feel that way, you want to have some control and be able to focus on what you want to do instead of focusing on the many ways a situation can go wrong and therefore affect you.
So, at the end of the day, we are left with this challenge: how do we manage stress? What is there to do to not let it affect us too much and take up a lot of our wake hours and mental energy? And also to be able to have a good sleep at night that isn’t haunted by the unwanted thoughts or scenarios that we might imagine.
There are certain little things that help you give your mind a break, help you calm down and be able to rest in order to make sure you can comeback after with the energy and power to fight against what life might throw your way. We could all use a proper break from time to time to get in touch with our feelings and get in a state of mind that helps us relax and not see the world through dark lenses.
I made a short list of things I like to do that help me calm my mind down and that put me in a much better mood to be able to relax and focus on what I have to do. It might not work for you too but it’s worth a try, isn’t it?
Colouring books for adults are and have been a big deal for some time now as many therapists weighed in on the benefits of focusing on intricate patterns and on such a repetitive and pleasant activity. There are many choices out there for you if you want to try. For me colouring works because I am focusing on which colours to choose and how to make them go with one another and focus on not going outside the lines and somewhere in between my mind just stops going crazy. I enjoy it a lot also because there is the inevitable throwback to my childhood.
Obviously, listening to music follows as another relaxing activity for me. Sometimes I listen to music while I colour which makes it even easier to relax and get into a state where I might lose track of certain thoughts and time for a while. Of course I have my playlist of whatever favourite songs I have at the moment, but what most works for me is classical music, mostly piano or violin, but also nature sounds. You can make a mix of your liking of nature or environmental sounds on Noisli which is my go-to source when I want to relax or be productive.
Reading is by far one of my favourite activities. There is always something I want to read. I discover new, tempting books very often and so my to-read list keeps growing and growing. No matter what genre or subject you might be interested in I am sure there is some book worth reading. Also, reading is one of those activities recommended before going to bed. It seems that reading from paper or e-readers like Kindle, not from your smartphone or tablet, actually helps your brain go into a state of relaxation and prepares it for sleep. That way you can also make sure you have something nice to dream about.
I am sure you have at least one favourite movie that you would want to watch one more time. At least that’s what I do. When I’m not feeling ok, I like to go for the comfort of one of my favourite movies that will put me in more of a positive state and ensure a daydream or two. There’s no shame in wanting to watch Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox fall in love all over again (that’s a reference to “You’ve got mail” for those of you who haven’t seen it yet).
Making mood boards
Another activity that might help you put negativity behind is making a mood board. It’s not rocket science. Just take all those magazines you’ve been gathering for months and didn’t have the heart to throw out, flip through their pages and cut out whatever draws your attention be it text or images. You can also put photographs from your vacations or train or plane tickets that you still have left, or tickets form places you visited and loved. Whatever appeals to you or sparks a good memory. Then take one of those boards that you can pin stuff to and just arrange your cut-outs and photographs in whatever way you feel like. It might not take you a lot of time, which is good, but the result will surely do some good whenever your eyes land on it.
Now all that’s left is to get creative and don’t forget to allow yourself to be silly and have fun from time to time.
What do you like to do to relax?