Everyone’s idea of relaxation is different. For some, it could be losing themselves in a great book, while for others it could be a bracing hike along a mountain trail. One thing’s for sure: this Mother’s Day you deserve to take time to unwind.
How to relax depends on your interests and hobbies, but we hope you’ll find inspiration in our list below, leading you to find a new way to re-centre and feel more rested. Ready to chill out? Then slip on your comfy walking shoes…
1. Take a walk in beautiful surroundings
Also known as active relaxation, walking in nature helps to reduce levels of cortisol, ‘the stress hormone’, which in turn enables you to unwind faster. This can be a valuable tool in learning how to relax, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
You don’t have to head anywhere spectacular to go walking, either (unless you want to, of course), as your local park may be flourishing with plants, trees and spring blooms for you to savour. You could even head to your nearest forest or arboretum and try ‘forest bathing’ to calm your senses; just standing among the trees and admiring them does the trick.
As it’s Mother’s Day, you may choose to go with family or friends, but walking on your own can also do wonders for elevating your wellbeing. This alone time in nature gives you the space to slow down, clear your mind and breathe in fresh air. By the time you get home, you’ll be feeling refreshed and re-centred.
2. Enjoy an aromatherapy massage
Massage is a powerful de-stressing tool, relieving mental fatigue and boosting your mood. More potent is an aromatherapy massage, which brings into the mix a blend of essential oils, each targeted to how you want to feel. Lavender oil, for example, can help you get zen or even sleep better at night.
If you’d rather harness the power of aromatherapy at home, why not treat yourself to a massage oil? Aromatherapy Associates has a range of renewing and refreshing body oils, including the award-winning Relax Body Oil (opens in new tab).
You can also buy mini aromatherapy roller balls to massage into your wrists, enabling you to breathe in a calming scent throughout the day. You could also play around with diffuser oils. We love the Neom Wellbeing Pod Essential Oil Diffuser (opens in new tab), which can be used with essential oils to fill your home with incredible scents.
3. Read your favourite magazine or book
Still unsure how to relax? Well, have you noticed how time flies when you’re lost in a great book or your favourite magazine? Whether your passion is cookery mags or true crime, reading takes your mind off of everyday things and helps you unwind.
In fact, according to a 2009 study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68 per cent. Trust us, there’s never been a better excuse to delve into a magazine or book!
Thanks to technology you can read anytime, anywhere, via your e-reader, smartphone, tablet or other device. Unlimited magazine subscriptions, like Readly (opens in new tab), where you can access over 3,000 magazines in one app for a set fee each month, and various e-book deals make this an affordable way to relax.
Download titles in advance of travelling and you’ll never be more than a few clicks away from a stress-busting read. Don’t have a device to read on? Amazon and Kobo has the e-reader market pretty much sewn-up, and you won’t go wrong with a Kindle Paperwhite for travel. For reading by the (spa) pool, try the waterproof Kobo Aura.
4. Harness the power of meditation
Not just for Mother’s Day, a regular meditation practice can reap bountiful rewards for your wellbeing and mental health. Sometimes, just taking time to pause and rest your mind can be enough to help you feel relaxed and centred.
Focusing on your breathing is a quick and easy way to begin, but it’s surprising how many of us often overlook this simple technique. Using a meditation app will naturally guide your breathing, helping you to quieten your mind and relax your body—a double whammy for chilling out.
There are plenty of apps, like Headspace and Calm, that guide you through bite-sized meditations and breathing exercises. If you own an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, try the guided breathing features they offer and take a few focused minutes to mentally and physically unwind.
5. Listen to music that makes you feel good
Just like walking and reading, listening to your favourite albums is a fun and enjoyable way to relax. Choose happy nostalgic hits to transport yourself back to memorable moments in your life and get those feel-good vibes pumping.
The same goes for any songs that make you want to dance and sing along, both of which are natural stress-busters and direct avenues to relaxation. If you’d rather listen to music without anyone else hearing it, don a pair of wireless headphones.
When paired with your smartphone or other music-streaming device, you can pop your headphones on and dance around, untethered by wires, to music that fills you with joy.
6. Sketch or colour your way to relaxation
When we’re absorbed in a creative pursuit we love, time slips by without notice. Psychologists refer to this as Flow Psychology, also known as ‘being in the zone’. Painting, sketching or colouring in are ideal jumping off points for accessing your creative self.
An adult colouring book could be your ticket to unwinding and chilling out. You can buy them in various themes, from ocean-inspired drawings to mandalas and animals. Just grab some colouring pencils and let your imagination flow.
If you’d prefer a more high-tech approach to painting and sketching, upgrade to the Apple iPad Pro. There are plenty of drawing and painting apps available for it, all designed to work in harmony with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. If painting and sketching relax you, this is worth trying.
7. Enjoy a spa day retreat
Sometimes you need to escape the wonderful chaos of a busy household in order to truly chill out. And there’s arguably nothing more relaxing than a day spa retreat. Wellness retreats are hugely popular, so there’s plenty to choose from and many in picturesque destinations like the Cotswolds,the Lake District, Bath and beyond.
With most day packages you get access to the spa’s facilities. These may include hot tubs, saunas, chill out rooms, plunge pools and thermal baths. Some spas also offer refreshments as part of your retreat, with raw juices and herbal teas on the menu.
In addition to the stunning surroundings and relaxing ambience, the main event of any retreat is the treatment itself. To promote mindfulness and feelings of zen, try an Indian head massage, custom facial or a glow-inducing full body scrub.
This article is brought to you in association with Readly (opens in new tab).