Does the thought of coming back home after a long day at work tempt you? Do you collapse onto your bed right after you get back home? Do all those articles about going out, meeting your friends, travelling make you roll your eyes in frustration because hello? Who has the time?! Don’t worry. This is not one of those lists telling you to step out when your energy levels are at minus. Here are a few techniques to help you relax with the help of everything right in the privacy of your own home sweet home:
1. Take a calming shower or bath
Warm water is the best when it comes to relaxing all that tension your muscles accumulate through the day. It is the easiest and most accessible version of a spa appointment. It is known to loosen your muscles, curbing any pain or strain that may have sprung through the day without your knowledge. It also prevents any future twists or muscle tightening, and boosts blood circulation. Taking a ten minute bath in a tub is even better. Pour in some lightly scented body soap and just close your eyes and focus on your breathing. This is also the best time to practice meditation or mindfulness. However, stay away from anything that will make you fall asleep! If you’re experienced in meditation and know how to stay alert, only then practice meditation in the bath.
2. Tune into some fine music
Turn on any kind of music that relaxes you, and stay away from loud, upbeat music. Save that for the beginning of your day, when you need motivation and a boost for your energy. For relaxation purposes, however, some great musical choices could be classical or sufi music, or some jazz and blues. Make sure to not play your music too loud, though. It should only set the mood for relaxation, not distract you from your unwinding process.
3. Make your favourite cuppa
Brew a nice, steaming cup of tea. A great choice for calming tea would be chamomile, lemongrass, or lemon. They are known for their calming properties and help you rejuvenate your mind as well as body. Make sure to stay away from any kind of caffeine, as that may disturb your sleep routine. Ideally, make your tea without sugar. It may disrupt your digestion and end up making it difficult for you to relax. If you must have your tea sweet, you may sweeten it using honey.
4. Watch a relaxing movie
You could watch a comedy or a romance movie but make sure not to go overboard. Watching action, thriller or horror movies may completely mess up your relaxation routine, resulting in you feeling unnaturally active and/or awake. Watching a funny, light-hearted television show or series may also help in distracting you from the tension of work.
5. Light a scented candle
Lavender scent is a well-known relaxant. Light some lavender or vanilla candles to calm not just your mind but also your surroundings. Try to keep any kind of outdoor noise to a minimum. Inhale the scent fully, feeling it enter your mind and body. Warming a scented oil on a diffuser can also do the same job just as well, if you do not prefer candles or you don’t have any.
6. Change into your comfy clothes
Changing from your formal, fitted work clothes into something more comfortable, loose and soft (like your pajamas) will instantly change your mood into a more chilled out one. Wearing the same tight clothing the whole day can result in you feeling stuffy and congested. Sweatpants, yoga pants, or just plain loose pajamas will have you heading straight to relaxation.
7. Cook a light and tasty dish
Since it is usually not advisable to have a heavy dinner, make sure to cook something light yet filling. It’s ideal to eat your dinner at least two to three hours before you sleep, so plan your cooking time accordingly. Do not cook something which may require extra preparation time, just make something which is light on the stomach yet does not leave you feeling hungry again.
8. Sit in your balcony
Try to sit on a chair which relaxes your whole body. Avoid the rigid, upright chairs. You could also prop your feet up on an ottoman if you do not have a full-length relaxing chair. If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, grab a chair and sit outside, feeling the cool breeze on your skin. You could also drink your tea or eat your food there. Taking a book along is also a great idea. If you don’t find yourself in the mood for reading, you could also tune into an audio book. It’s nice to break away from the hustle-bustle of every day work life and unwind with nature. Listen to the birds singing, the insects chirping, or play your own relaxing music.
9. Turn your electronic devices OFF
This tip is super important: it’s crucial to keep your phone, laptop, tablets or whatever electronic device/s you use away from you when you are unwinding. You need not switch them off entirely, just place them out of your sight, at least until you finish your food or your cup of tea. Try not to think about it buzzing and answering work phone calls or replying back to work emails. They can wait. Aim to separate your home and work life as much as possible, and remember, it’s not wrong to do that.
10. Calm your entire body
Meditation can truly work wonders for one’s mind, body and soul. You need not sit in a yoga pose to begin meditation; it can be carried out in whichever place, whatever position you are in. Just close your eyes and centre your attention on your breathing. Only listen to the sound of your breath, inhaling, exhaling, slowly and calmly. When you inhale, inhale through your nostrils till the count of four. Hold your breath for three to four counts. Now, exhale through your nostrils or through pursed lips again to the count of four. After this, rest for a couple of minutes by breathing normally. Now repeat the process until you feel you have reached a point of calmness and quietude. Do not try to fight whatever thoughts pop into your head–merely observe them. Picture your thoughts to be a nearby stream and you are only the observer. The more you try to control your stream of thoughts, the more your meditation will be interrupted. Simply focus on your breathing. You can start by meditating ten minutes a day, then twenty, then thirty, gradually increasing your period of relaxation.