How to un-wind
It’s not always easy to unwind. Our minds are constantly running and switching off at the end of the day can be difficult. Gone are the days we're putting your feet up and taking a break from physical activity was enough to unwind.
We live in a world where we surround ourselves with constant distractions and stimulation from our smart phones, resulting in us being mentally exhausted even when we believe we’re relaxing.
No matter how busy your schedule is, it’s vital for your physical and mental wellbeing that you take time out of each day to mentally unwind. We understand that you may not always have the time to commit to meditation or yoga, but by following this guide on how to unwind and you’ll learn that many of these activities can be done in only a few minutes!
Okay, we admit it, you’ve heard this one before, but did you know you can calm your own nervous system by simply taking some deep breaths? Deep breathing allows additional carbon dioxide to enter your blood and ultimately relieving your brain of the chemical that produces anxiety.
To fully benefit from breathing exercises, ensure that you’re sat comfortably and close your eyes. Try to empty your mind and turn your attention to your breath. Focus on the movement of your diaphragm and begin to count to three whilst you
inhale and exhale. If you’re able to, hold your breath for a brief second before exhaling.
Continue this for a couple of minutes and you will find that your body feels lighter and more relaxed. Breathing exercises are a form of mindfulness – so they may not always be easy at first but don’t let this intimidate you! The more you practice, the better you will become, and you’ll be able to perform these exercises effortlessly, no matter your environment. Breathing exercise tip: whilst focusing on the movement of your diaphragm, try to keep an empty mind. If you become distracted by a thought; that’s okay! Simply note what distracted you and return your attention to your diaphragm. This technique is called ‘noting’ and is incredibly beneficial for your mental wellbeing.
Have you unclenched your jaw or relaxed your shoulders today? One of the most
common symptoms of stress and anxiety is shoulder and jaw tension. To relieve this, sit comfortably in your chair, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to slowly fall back into your chair. A few deep breaths may be required to release all the tension but stick at it!
Another technique is to sit with your mouth slightly open whilst using your fingertips to rub your jaw in small circular motions, starting from below the ear until you reach the centre of your chin.
Once you are feeling slightly more relaxed, you can stay seated to complete some
shoulder circles. Move your shoulders in a circle motion, going clockwise for 20 seconds then repeat anticlockwise. Complete this for both shoulders, whilst emptying your mind of any thoughts and taking deep breaths. Attempt to do these exercises at least once a day for the best results.
Our imagination is a powerful tool. Like deep breathing, visualising and mental imagery reduces stress by increasing brain activity and stimulating your brain
as if you were completing the activity you are thinking of. For example: if you visualised yourself going for a walk, it stimulates the same part of the brain that is activated when you actually go for a walk. If you are able to visualise something from your own imagination, go ahead:
You know your own body better than anyone. However, many people struggle to be imaginative when they are stressed so here are two methods of visualisation:
The first method involves closing your eyes and imagining the sensation of the sun on your skin. Begin with imagining the feeling of the sun on your toes and then slowly move up your body.
Allow yourself to experience the warmth on your skin. This method can be difficult for beginners but don’t give up! Take some deep breaths and focus on the physical feeling of the sun on your skin and hopefully you’ll be feeling relaxed in no time.
The second method is visualising your stress as a physical thing in your head. Stress looks different to different people; however, you can try visualising your stress as shapes or colours such as a red square or a grey circle.
Once you have given your stress a physical form, use your hands to slowly pull it out. Visualise yourself removing the stress from your head and throwing it away. Of course, this one may look a little strange to those around you but give it a go!
How long has it been since you’ve spent some time outside? Bringing some green space and nature into your everyday life can help you unwind and improve your mental wellbeing. Caring for plants or growing vegetables helps you reconnect with nature and reduces feelings of stress.
If you’re unable to grow something outdoors, house plants are an easy way to incorporate some greenery into your life. Indoor plants can help you take time out of your own life and temporarily focus on another life. Simple activities such as walking barefoot on grass can help prevent insomnia, improve your mental well-being and regulate your heart health.
Attempt to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day to reconnect with nature. This may seem like a long time, but you can easily incorporate being outside into your life by having your lunch outside instead of at your desk, walking to and from work, plan hikes with your friends or work on your garden!
Take some time out to look after yourself. It’s easy to fall into a repetitive routine that doesn’t involve any pampering. Everyone needs to unwind and what better way to do so than with our Unwind Aromatherapy Soy Wax Candle, and surround yourself with the soothing scents of lavender, lemon, and bergamot.
Other self-care activities include:
- Reading a book and turning your phone off.
- Having a hot bath.
- Watch your favourite movie.
- Make a list of today’s successes.
- Give yourself a hand massage.
You’ve got this! Remember, it’s not always easy to unwind, so don’t be disheartened if something doesn’t work for you. Living in a constant state of stress is not sustainable so make sure you take some time for yourself each day, even if it’s five minutes.