Life is stressful. Even when the world is not in crisis, daily living can be hard. Whether physical stressors like too much sitting or emotional stressors like financial worries, your body absorbs it all. Good relaxation techniques are the antidote if you need relief. 

Intentional relaxation offsets your daily stressors. Types of relaxation techniques range from “quick hits” throughout your day to more in-depth relaxation at day’s end. Let’s take a look at a few types of relaxation techniques. 

Quick Hit Relaxation Techniques

Stretch it out. It’s not uncommon to spend the majority of your day sitting. Set a timer for every thirty minutes and spend two minutes stretching. Clasp your hands above your head and stretch up toward the ceiling. Roll your neck in deep circles. Drop your chest to your knees and reach your hands toward your toes. Pairing these small movements with deep breathing will help release the tension.    

Take a brain break. While you may be tempted to power through a difficult problem in front of your computer screen, your creativity is enhanced when you stand and change your scenery. Your brain needs a fresh perspective. Grabbing a glass of water or talking to a colleague for a moment have profound effects on your mind and body.  

Breathe deeply. When you feel your shoulders and neck tense and your blood pressure rising, it’s time to breathe. Drop your shoulders and take one slow deep inhale followed by an exhale through your mouth. Repeat until your heart rate returns to normal and your body begins to relax. 

Control the self-talk. Positive self-talk is an effective way to combat the negativity that creates stress. First, acknowledge what you’re feeling and then remind yourself of your ability to overcome it. This might look like this, “Yes, I have a lot to do today, but I know I can do it.” Reminding yourself what you’re capable of improves your mindset and productivity.    

Give thanks. Gratitude is a powerful tool in the fight against stress. Giving thanks is a relaxation technique that shifts your mind and soul into a healthier state of wellbeing. Start each day by writing 1-3 things for which you’re thankful in a notebook or on your smartphone. Return to this list when you feel stress taking over your day.

Deep Relaxation Techniques

Yoga. A relaxation technique that’s stood the test of time is the practice of yoga or deep stretching. Known for its ability to calm both the body and mind, carving time out of your day to decompress through intentional movement is a sure-fire way to prepare your body for sleep and the days to come. 

Meditation. Another time tested technique for deep relaxation is the practice of meditation. Creating space for silence and stillness subdues your thoughts and helps you focus on your life-giving breath. Meditation does not have to be long or complicated. Start with a minute or two and work up from there as you begin to experience the calm it brings. Try an app like Calm or Headspace to get started.

Soaking Bath. A warm bath before bed is another way to decompress at the end of your day. Combined with dim lighting, a scented candle, and some alone time, your body will experience revival. Building this into your evening routine is also a good way to transition from day to night to promote good sleep.   

Exercise. While some prefer soothing relaxation techniques, you may be drawn to movement as a way to de-stress. Releasing tension through running, lifting weights or kickboxing may be more your speed. Finish your workout about two hours before bedtime so that your endorphins don’t keep you awake. 

It’s less important to select the right relaxation technique than it is to do something! Have fun experimenting with what works best for you. Incorporating intentional relaxation into your daily routine is critical to your overall wellbeing in work and life.