How To: Relax and Unwind - Five Restful Activities to Try

If you're waiting for someone to give you a permission slip to rest, you're going to be waiting a really long time. Busy is the new normal and hectic schedules make it challenging to think about slowing down and relaxing.

Society doesn't respect rest like it does hustle. So if we want things to change, we're going to have to push against some societal norms and recognise that rest is imperative, not indulgent. Rest helps us renew on a variety of levels.

Five Ways to relax and unwind (aka REST)

1) Try breathing exercises to help lower your heart rate and reduce anxiety and tension. Equal breathing is a good place to start if you’re new to breathing exercises.

How to do it: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Turn your attention to your breath and let your inhales and exhales flow naturally. After a few rounds of breath, inhale for 4 counts, and then exhale for 4 counts. Adjust the counts based on your needs and continue inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Try at least 10 rounds of breathe (complete inhales and exhales) and then return to normal breathing and notice how you feel.

2) Engage in a slow activity like yin or restorative yoga. Our everyday movements have become habitual. We rush from our home, to work, to errands around town without really paying attention to how we’re feeling physically or mentally. Mindful activities like yin or restorative help us check in with ourselves. If you’re new to either practice, find a studio nearby and drop into a class. If you prefer to practice from home, we’ve created a free restorative ebook with 10 of our favourite shapes (with how-to photography and instructions) so you can practice whenever the call for calm arises.

3) Take a warm bath or shower with essential oils. Aromatherapy and essential oils have been used for eons to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Inhaling and topically applying pure essential oils can help to alleviate stress, insomnia or depression. The top five essential oils to help combat stress and anxiety include; Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Roman Chamomile

4) Sip calming tea while reading a favourite book. Alright, we may be slightly biased, but our favourite tea comes from LOVE Tea and their Calm Tea is the perfect complement to a night in with a good read. All of LOVE Tea’s are fairly traded and designed by in-house naturopath and founder Emma. The company is local to Victoria and they skillfully craft, blend and pack each of their products in Geelong. (support local!)

5) Go for a walk in nature (bonus points for getting your bare feet in contact with the Earth): The population is spending more time behind computer screens, and less time outdoors connecting with nature. Yet studies have shown that people who live near green spaces – parks, tree-lined streets, rural landscapes, etc. have better physical and mental health. Can you think of anything more grounding than kicking off your shoes and allowing your feet to physically connect and feel the Earth beneath them? The idea of it is relaxing me already!

What’s your favourite restful activity? Leave a comment below!

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