Personal development Mindful Living

30 quick ways to help you relax right now

30 quick ways to help you relax and unwind right now

Ever felt like you desperately needed time off to wind down but can’t figure out how to, because you’re drowning in work? Here are 30 quick ways to help you relax right now, without feeling guilty.

I felt the need to put this post together because in the past couple of months, between my travel, juggling work to stay on track with commitments and a bunch of other things that make up my life, I found myself getting exhausted.

I put myself on a tight schedule and felt guilty if I took a bathroom break. Can you identify with that? And at the end of the day, no sooner you are in bed, the alarm goes off and it’s time to get on the hamster wheel again. And again!

Taking regular breaks boosts your productivity, even if these breaks are 10 minutes. You can spare that time, right? Just drop what you are doing—right now—close your eyes and take five deep breaths and you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. Pausing what you are doing every once in a while, keeps your mind and body healthy. And to do this, you have to break the busy cycle.

The good news is, there are some ridiculously easy and quick ways to help you relax. Just schedule these breaks into your day. Try and work in at least two or three of these ideas into your routine—you will be surprised at the difference in makes to your mind and body.  And? You can do some of these anywhere. You’re welcome!

30 quick ways to help you relax right now

30 quick ways to help you relax right now

1. Turn off your phone.

Or at least silence it. Turn off those notifications for ten minutes and enjoy the silence. Disconnect for some time every day. Get into the habit of putting away your screen when you eat and the hours before bedtime. It will lower your stress levels and help you sleep better.

2. Listen to music.

This is an obvious idea, but how often do you do it? Just tune into that local radio station or to any music that you enjoy. And listen to an entire song or two—no multi-tasking allowed! You’ll find your breathing becoming more relaxed.

3. Meditate

No need to go into an hour-long trance. Just a few minutes can make a big difference. Sit for ten minutes with your thoughts. When stuck with something and in desperate need for quick ways to help you relax, do this.

Sit quietly. Close your eyes. And breathe. If there are distractions, just gently bring your attention back to your breathing. You’ll feel calmer and more positive. You’ll find your energy shifting and your stress considerably lower.  Too restless to sit? You can do walking meditation. Or the very easy 10-minute weightless meditation.

4. Visualize peace.

Visualization is a powerful technique and one of the quick ways to help you relax. When you visualize something that makes you feel at peace, it can be so relaxing. For me, it is usually time spent with my Mom, looking at old photos to relive those moments. Here are five visualization exercises to try. Or if you have only one minute to spare (been there!) you’ll like this one-minute meditation.

5. Give yourself a massage

Funny thing, during my childhood, my Grandma would ask me to “press” her feet for five minutes. Yes, she had to bribe me sometimes as I had so many important things to do . . . but now, thinking back, I understand the value of this.  While it might be ideal to soak in a bath and let your tension ease out from your body, five minutes is perfect to soak your feet in a basin of warm water.

Add some Epsom salt to enhance the experience. Gently squeeze your heels. Pull on each toe. Press the tips of your toes.  Such a good feeling! If you can talk someone into working on your feet while you sit back and enjoy, more power to you!

6. Drink a warm beverage

Preferably non-caffeinated. Well, I’d say coffee because I like to wake up and smell the coffee—it makes me feel great—but go for any warm beverage to soothe you. Vanilla + cinnamon + warm milk. Or chamomile tea. Whatever soothes you.

7. Get some aromatherapy

I recently got into essential oils, thanks to some gifts from a friend and some unplanned purchases. Yep, retail therapy. But oh, those oils are heavenly. Especially my Himalayan lavender.  Just sniff your favorite fragrance. Some great choices besides lavender are bergamot, citrus, neroli etc. The scent chases away stress and anxiety. For me, sometimes walking past a bakery also helps! Or a bunch of fresh flowers.

quick ways to relax 2

8. Breathe deeply

Yes, we all know this one. But again, how often do we pause to do it? Focusing on your breathing is one of the quick ways to help you relax. The next time you find yourself feeling tense, focus on your breath. Inhale deeply via the abdomen. Prolong the exhalation. Try this portable stress buster breathing technique

9. Align your posture

Just adjusting our posture can instantly release the tension we feel. Sit comfortably and consciously scan your body. Where are you holding on to stress? Bring your shoulder blades together and press them down. Relax your forehead. Blink several times.

10. Walk it off

Just step away from whatever you are doing, and step outside. Take a brisk walk. It’s a great way to clear your head. No checking phone when you do this.  Just getting yourself moving is one of the quick ways to help you relax.

11. Stretch your muscles

Make it easy. Just stand. Then bend forward. Clasp your elbows behind your back.  Or reach for your toes! Gently stretch your neck, shoulders, lower back, thighs, and hips. Try some yoga moves, When you stretch, it lowers stress and sends extra blood to your muscles and refreshes you.

smell the flowers quick ways to help you relax

12. Chew gum

I was surprised to find this tip. Studies report that chewing gum can fight stress. So go ahead and chew gum for a few minutes. Maybe before a presentation or an important meeting.

13. Squeeze a ball

Besides being good exercise to keep arthritis at bay, squeezing a stress ball really helps relax. Keep one on your desk. No stress ball? Try the old-fashioned way: knead some dough.

14. Laugh

Seeing the funny side of tough situations is one of the quick ways to relax and can relieve the pressure. So laugh it out. When you laugh, it loosens up your muscles and gives your immune system the much-needed boost.  Doesn’t get easier than this.

15. Smile

Smiling reduces stress by lowering the heart rate. Can you imagine being mad at something when you smile? (Unless you’re a cross-DNA species who can pull it off).  So go ahead, begin your day with a smile. Finding it hard to smile? Just look at a pic of an infant smiling. Or tune in to YouTube for zillions of laughing babies. Still challenged? Just fake it!

16. Step out

Just stepping outdoors with no agenda for five minutes can be great. Breathe in deeply, potter around your garden, or just soak in the sunshine. If there’s a park nearby, walk around. You’ll feel more energetic. Being outdoors also improves your memory and lowers anxiety.

Sunshine quick ways to relax 1

17. Use humor

Read a couple of pages from an enjoyable book. Watch a funny clip. Talk to a friend who makes you laugh. It lightens your mood. It releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that relieve stress and pain. It also stimulates your heart and relaxes you.

18. Count your blessings

This is among my top three quick ways to help you relax. Just write down at least three things that you’re grateful for, today. Your friends, your family, what went well, positive things—doesn’t matter how big or small.  It can take all of three minutes. You’ll feel better. Guaranteed.

19. Compliment someone

Showing compassion is a great way to fill yourself with the feel-good feeling. Reach out to a family member, a friend, a colleague. Compliment them. Wish them well. Funny story: we had some awful neighbors who constantly look for excuses to bicker. My Mom would tell me to send them good wishes and happiness. Of course, I would make a face. The logic? Let them be so happy and contented that they have no time to be mean. Yes, a bit radical but makes so much sense, no?

20. Dance it out

Crank up the volume on that music and shake a leg. Even if you have two left feet like me, just go for it. Shake up that energy. Feels so good. Ask Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang.

21. Check a Chore Off Your List

Is there something you’ve been putting off doing for a while? Crush it today! For me, it would be changing the battery in my clock, scheduling lab tests, clearing some dishes, organizing part of a shelf. Going through a bag of stuff to keep/donate/throw. Something that takes ten minutes or less. What a feeling once accomplished! Best part? You feel even more motivated to pick up another task or two. Tip: make a list of these so you can simply pick one or two.

22. Connect

Phone your pal or family to catch up. Meet up for a quick coffee. Face to face interaction makes your relationships better and you, happier.  A gem among quick ways to help you relax.

Drink a warm beverage quick ways to relax

23. Snack smart

Sometimes, you could be cranky just because you need to fuel up. Keep it healthy and easy. Enjoy a fruit. A smoothie. A handful of nuts. A bowl of oatmeal. Feel the difference.

24. Do a Good Deed

Helping others, even if it is a tiny thing, is a great way to relieve stress and relax. So, go ahead and do a good deed. Donate to your favorite charity. Sign up to volunteer. Give up your seat for someone. Help someone across the road. Buy someone a cup of coffee. In short, practice random acts of kindness.

Read: 100 random acts of kindness

25. Hug It Out

Hug a friend or family member for a quick lift. A hug makes everything you are struggling with less challenging or upsetting. Hugging also boosts the immune system. Or cuddle your pet.

26. Treat yourself to some positive self-talk

“I’ve got this.”

Positive self-talk can be so powerful. If you’re fretting over something you did, tell yourself it is okay. Tell yourself, “Everyone messes up. I can fix it.”  Use affirmations. It helps you change your perspective and relieves stress.

Enjoy these affirmations from Louise Hay.

27. Write a note of thanks

Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you. Could be a recent favor, a birthday gift, or a show of support. I’d recommend keeping a gratitude journal. Besides making you feel good, it is wonderful to go back and read it.

Resources:

What is gratitude? How to practice gratitude? With 100 gratitude journal prompts
A step by step guide to keeping a gratitude journal

28. Give yourself a hand massage

As effective as a foot massage, a hand massage is one of the quick ways to help you relax almost instantly, especially if you are tied to a computer in your work. Working on a keyboard can put a lot of stress on your hands, so giving your hands some TLC (tender loving care) is mandatory. Rub your favorite lotion on to your palms. Then gently massage every joint and finger. Flex your wrists and fingers. Knead the base of your thumb to relieve stress from your shoulders, neck and scalp. Cool, right?

29. Drip cold water on your wrist.

When we return home from an outing, the first thing we do after taking off our footwear is wash our feet. We especially wash the back of the ankles and our wrists with cold water. When you do this, it relaxes your body.  So don’t do it in freezing weather, but you know what I mean.

30. Count backwards

Have some fun counting backwards from 50. Or recite the alphabet in reverse from Z to A. It is a great way to focus your mind especially when you are about to do something important – a meeting, a review.  And it is good for the brain.

31. Tug your hair

Rather than pull your hair apart, tug it gently to reduce tension. Then massage your scalp gently.

How to unwind in 10 minutes or less

That’s 30 quick ways to help you relax.

Now, which ones will you try right away?

Humor me – try one and tell me how you feel.

Have tips to add? Would love to hear them in the comments.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Richa MIna
    February 17, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    these are some really great tips to relax instantly I do follow a few of them like walking, music, sleeping, positive talk. my favorite is talking to friends, gardening and cooking these also helps in taking your mind off the problem.
    Richa MIna recently posted…Mental Health & Irritable Bowel Syndrome #IBS

  • Reply
    Jenny
    February 18, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, I have suffered insomnia for most of my adult life and find it very hard to switch off, seeing this list will give me a handy tick list to try

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    February 18, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    This is just what I needed to read at the moment. Deep breaths, meditation, sleeping, counting my blessings, doing mundane tasks, praying helps me to relax when the going is tough. Will adopt a few more from your list. Thanks for sharing, Vidya!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…500 Women In Kerala Village Switch to Menstrual Cups For a Green Future #WATWB

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    February 19, 2020 at 10:25 am

    What I wouldn’t do for that massage. It sounds so relaxing. Humour is another effective way to relax. I love watching and rewatching comedy sitcoms like friends that help me to forget about the stress of the day. Another excellent way is hugging. Nothing beats a nice warm hug. 😊 You have pretty much covered everything 😀
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…All the things we never said | 5 Poems on Love and Life

  • Reply
    Soulful
    February 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Amazing one !
    Soulful recently posted…Emotional wellness

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    February 20, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    What I wouldn’t do for those massages. They are therapeutic. Humour is a great way to dispel tension. Comedy sitcoms or late night shows are wonderful fix to relax in the evenings. And of course, nothing’s better than a warm hug. Love this list. You pretty much covered everything I had in mind. 😀
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…All the things we never said | 5 Poems on Love and Life

  • Reply
    Lynne Huysamen
    February 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for this fantastic list, I’m going to save it. I so often find myself stressed out and exhausted so I need to take more time out. I also love just stepping out. Sometimes I go for a walk on the beach and sometimes I just step outside and sit in the sun for a few moments. Every night I listen to a meditation when falling asleep – I find it really helps me to turn off and wind down for bed.

  • Reply
    Nyxie
    February 20, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Excellent suggestions. I personally love aromatherapy and try to practice positive self-talk often. We can be too hard on ourselves sometimes, and if we aren’t nice to ourselves, then how can we expect to feel better even with everything else going on?

  • Reply
    Emmy
    February 24, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Massage has always been my favorite relaxation therapy and I’m happy to see it in your list. Thanks for the educative post.
    Emmy recently posted…Best Foot Massager for Diabetic and Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Reply
    Quote addicted
    March 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Yes me too use chewing gum for stress relief.

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