Are you looking for ways to de-stress?
We are living in a pretty stressed and fast-paced world. Even when things are going our way, we are busy bees. But when things get tougher and you are still expected to perform your best, what do you do? Where do you turn to destress and relax after a long day or week?
All work and no play make everyone, not only Jack and Jill, dull. Furthermore, if we are looking forward to spending our weekends better, with less hangover and Mondays coming too soon, we definitely want to make our time off from whatever commitment we have, work.
So, if you are feeling slightly burned out now or even before you start feeling the stress, here are some ideas and activities you can do on your evenings or weekends to destress.
Not all the activities may interest or work for you but it is important that you explore and try. You may think you like or dislike certain things or activities, but you won’t really know until you have tried it out.
So without further ado, let’s get on with the list:
Explore and do something artistic
Paint, draw or doodle. Pick whichever one that works for you. It’s easy to start and pretty much low cost.
If you are keen on painting, there are a number of mediums you can try out. Oil and acrylic painting are more common forms of painting. However, art does tend to get slightly expensive, so be sure when you are thinking about taking this up seriously.
Aside, practising calligraphy and modern lettering is something which has been really popular in recent years too. You get to write inspiring and motivating words beautifully, practise your penmanship as well as patience, but at the same time, you are also exploring and developing your creative side.
Activities with repetitive actions
Research has shown that activities with repetitive actions that seem mindless can help the brain to relax and destress. Activities such as knitting, cross-stitching and colouring books are activities that require on-going action and concentration but not much thinking work. It gives your brain a break, especially from your problems.
Personally, knitting is pretty therapeutic as it has helped me in dealing with my grieving process earlier on as well.
Hands-on and DIY Crafts
Making finished products with your bare hands is extremely gratifying when you are done creating your own piece of work. Enjoy the process of making your own furniture out of wood, making jewellery out of beads and wires, or even baking and indulge in your work afterwards.
Crafting has also been thought to help with anxiety, depression or chronic pain.
Get away from Social Media for a bit.
Even though repetitive activities can help in relaxing, this does not apply to electronics and social media because you don’t get anything much out of scrolling. Getting away from social media also allows you so much more avenues to spend your quality time better and in more satisfying ways.
In the evenings, shut off your TV and laptop by a certain time, say 10 pm. Refuse to look at your phone when in bed. Turn off all notifications and badges.
Instead, do something you enjoy. It could be reading, talking to people around you or writing your journal.
During weekends, refrain from checking your emails and texts. Be more present when you are out with your family and friends instead of thinking about the next Insta-worthy shots.
Spend time outdoors.
Go for a picnic, take a walk at the park, go cycling or even running.
Exercising outdoors is a win-win because you get to see new scenery at every turn, as well as burning some calories in the process. Doing workout may feel counter-intuitive because you need to sweat it out, but the after-effect of exercising is multiple folds. Besides losing fats and gaining muscles, exercising also releases a chemical that makes you feel good about yourself afterwards.
Do Breathing Exercise.
This is one of the simplest you can do, at your own comfort and pace. When you are feeling stressed, angry or frustrated, slow deep breathing exercise can help greatly.
Try breathing in and out deeply and slowly for 10 – 20 times. This will roughly take 1 – 2 minutes. Rinse & Repeat as necessary
Yoga. Or Laughing Yoga.
Join a (laughing) yoga course. Whichever yoga you choose, it helps to de-stress as you stretch, recharge and regain your focus.
Playing with young children, or games that you have played in your childhood can bring back fond memories and helps in destressing. Some traditional games include tic-tac-toe, five stones, snake & ladder and even checkers or chess.
Once I attended a workshop where we learned to craft something out of clay. It cured over a few days, but what’s surprising was that we were then told to smash our own products! The purpose of this is to let go of something (beliefs, possessions or thoughts, etc) that we hold strongly within ourselves and letting it go.
It did feel releasing and empowering in some sense, knowing that we can start all over again. However, it did spur some thoughts within.
What are the things, thoughts and beliefs that you are currently holding on tightly in your life at the moment? How do you think it would make you feel if you lose them, or if they’re broken or gone? Will you be able to let go or will you be deeply affected and need a long time to recover?
Be careful with space and people around though.
If you have plants that are leafy or require frequent trimming, it’s time to pay your gardener off. (Oops! No offence!)
Pruning plants have been a deeply relaxing activity for me. We have lots of plants and trees at home and my mum is always diligently pruning the leaves and branches. One day, I volunteered to help my mum out. It turned out to be a fun and relaxing experience. Pruning is not simply just cutting off parts of the plant. Prune right and it will help the plant grow faster and in the right direction. Much like guiding someone in life, no?
Learn a New Skill, Sport or Interest.
All the above activities contribute to learning something new because you are exploring into unchartered regions and sides of you that you probably didn’t know exist.
If you have always wanted to learn something, this is the best time to do it. Be it skating, horse-riding, blading, tennis or dancing, learning something new adds value to your personal growth. At the same time, learning challenges you to do and absorb beyond what you currently have. Most of us stop learning when we graduate but learning is a lifelong process. And, when you have learned something new, you might find yourself enjoying the process of learning afterwards.
It may not feel relaxing in that moment, but when you are learning something you like, it definitely feels like time well spent!
If any of the above-listed activities sound remotely interesting to you, do check them out as you won’t know where it might take you! In conclusion, the point of relaxing and destressing is to give you moment and space to yourself, to connect with yourself and recharge yourself so that you are more equipped and ready to face and overcome whatever may come next.
In essence, do something that makes you smile or even laugh daily.
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