We’ve all been there: after a stressful few days, you finally have an evening off – but something’s not right. The day’s anxieties are still rattling around in your head and it’s difficult to switch off. You don’t manage to fully relax, and end up feeling less refreshed than you’d like.
It’s not always easy to get downtime right. It’s not simply a case of doing nothing. You need to think about what relaxation means to you, and set up your downtime so that it brings the replenishment you need. In this guide to relaxing at home, we look at ways to create soothing, relaxing moments. Read on to find out how to make your leisure time as restorative as it can be.
When life gets busy, downtime can end up at the bottom of the priority list. It’s easy for work and other commitments to take over. But this time is crucial for your well-being, enabling you to reflect, recharge, and return to daily life with fresh energy. Set strict boundaries around your downtime. Define when it will happen and what you’d like to do with it. That might mean connecting with friends, relaxing with family, or taking time just for you. The main thing is to approach it with a clear intention.
Set the mood
In the age of remote working, your living space might fulfill multiple functions. It’s not always easy to relax when your work desk is in the next room. Make sure to give your downtime a special atmosphere, to signal to yourself that relaxation has begun. Think about all of the senses when doing this. Swap overhead bulbs for gentler lighting or a cozy lava lamp. Use perfumed candles or essential oils, and emphasize comfort with cushions and soft furnishings. Your sonic environment is important too. Try to find something that matches the mood, and avoid intrusive or overstimulating sounds.
Reflect on your day
When downtime begins, it’s not always easy to shut out the rest of life. Work stress or emotional conflicts can linger in the mind. Sometimes the best way to tame these thoughts is to address them directly. Try jotting down the day’s events and issues in a journal or notebook. This can help put them in order, and allow your brain to let go of them so you can fully immerse yourself in relaxation.
Enjoy bath time
A leisurely bath or shower can be the perfect relaxation ritual. If you have a bath, take a long, hot soak and feel the day’s stresses melt away. Epsom salts can aid the process: the magnesium relaxes the muscles. A hot shower can work just as well. Try adding a few drops of essential oil to the floor of the shower for a rich sensory experience. Whichever you go for, make sure to indulge yourself with your favorite soaps and other products. These small treats can make a big difference to your well-being.
Be mindful of your phone
Our phones are our constant companions. They are a source of entertainment, connection, and information – but also stress, distraction, and overstimulation. Be mindful of the role your device plays in your downtime. Switch it to Do Not Disturb and avoid checking apps that you look at during the day. Compulsive scrolling won’t leave you feeling refreshed. Instead, use your device in ways that match your downtime intentions. Perhaps it’s watching your favorite show, checking in with friends and loved ones – or creating a soothing sonic environment.