Everyone has a different idea as to what is relaxing. Some people seek relaxation in a hot bath and scented candles, some find that petting the dog is the best way to relax, some people like the simple things and find that settling in a comfy chair with a hot cup of tea is the ultimate way to unwind.
Take me for instance, I like to unwind playing video games and watching films, not a highbrow way to relax but it suits me down to the ground. After a day of working and getting stressed out, nothing makes me feel better than going online and beating people in a shoot out on my Playstation it’s a way of venting my frustrations from the day. I’m not a total monster though, I also like to relax in the bath, listening to music and reading a good book. But they might not work for you; you could be appalled at the very idea of violent video games and that’s fine, because we all have our own special way of relaxing.
My dad’s way of unwinding is sitting in the garden when its sunny, sometimes he likes to mow the lawn or do some weeding to help him relieve the stress of working life. If it’s raining he’ll lay on the sofa watching F1, or catching up on the days events, or simply watching a documentary.
My mum’s method of relaxing is cooking, she loves to try out new recipes and reading through cook books, what she cooks up helps me to relax too, nothing like home cooked food! My mum is also a big fan of playing bingo online, she can’t bring herself to go to actual bingo but she gets a little thrill from seeing her numbers get called.
While everyone has a different method for achieving a stress free level of Zen there are some things we should all focus on. First of all we all have to set aside time for relaxing, too much stress is bad for you, it causes your body to tense which leads to headaches, neck aches, back aches, and general soreness. It also leaves you unable to focus, so you end up finding it harder to work, which leads to you being more stressed, a vicious stress circle.
Did you know that your diet affects stress? Too much caffeine can leave you jumpy and irritable, so if you drink 5 cups of coffee in a morning, then wonder why in the afternoon you’re tense now you know why. Too much sugar is also an issue, it can cause severe ups and downs in your blood sugar levels leaving you feeling agitated. So cutting down on caffeine and sugar in a small way can have a big difference in your stress levels.
Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress. I know I know, you don’t need more lectures about exercising, but exercise is great for stress because it causes the brain to release endorphins, which are a chemical that makes you feel good. Exercise also lowers the levels of stress causing hormones like cortisol. So by doing a little exercise your brain rewards you by making you feel good and giving you a sense of wellbeing. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!