We know that parents don’t get much time to relax, so we’ve found 15 easy ways for you to transform 20 minutes of your day into time for you. Whether this is after the kids have gone to bed or over your lunch break, make every minute count with these sure-fire ways to relax and destress.
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As parents, we live busy lives with little time to catch our breath. Taking just a few minutes each day to relax is important for our own mental health and stress levels, and also improves how we interact with those around us.
Having a hobby is one of the best ways to relax, but if you don’t have time to immerse yourself in activities, you may want to try out some of these easy ideas with proven benefits.
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Quick and Easy Ways to Relax
#1. Catch Some Rays
Even during the autumn and winter months, sitting outside in some natural light can do wonders for your mood. The sun can lift our spirits, so head outside for an effective dose of Vitamin D.
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#2. Breathe Deep
Pop on your runners and head out for a walk or jog. The benefits are multiple – fresh air to boost your mood, physical exercise, and some quiet time to think. Even a quick walk around the block can do wonders for stress relief.
#3. Practice Yoga
Even if you are a novice yogi, you can really reap the rewards of stretches and breathing exercises to unwind and destress. Take a class, or check out plenty of beginner videos on YouTube to get you started.
#4. Turn Up the Volume
Put on your favourite album or playlist and get moving! Dance around the kitchen, sing in the shower, or just sit and relax. Listening to something upbeat can be a great mood-booster, while something chilled or classical can be calming and great for winding down or relaxing.
#5. Read a Good Book
Immerse yourself in the pages of a good book and you’ll feel your tensions slip away.
#6. Listen to a Podcast
There are informative and entertaining podcasts on just about every topic – no matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find plenty to choose from. Download or stream your favourites and listen to them whenever you have time – I love to listen to mine while I’m going around the supermarket!
#7. Stick to Screen Time
Pick your favourite TV show or a classic episode of something you used to love (Friends, anyone?) and put your feet up. Losing yourself in the drama, action or comedic hilarity of TV-land is a great way to destress.
#8. Try Some Aromatherapy
The power of scent can be therapeautic, with many smells the perfect antidote to a stressful, busy or tiring day. Lavender, chamomile and rose are relaxing, while citrus scents are invigorating.
Pure essential oils can be added to a bath or a few drops into a carrier oil and used for massage. Alternatively, purchase an essential oil diffuser and transform your home with scent-sational benefits.
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Meditation is designed to help you focus on your body and your breathing, and leave everything else aside for a while. If you haven’t tried meditation before, there are many podcasts and apps that can help with your mindfulness – some offer soothing sounds and background noises, others offer guided meditations that talk you through letting go.
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#10. Give Yourself a Facial
One of my favourite ways to relax is to get into my pyjamas and give myself a facial. Start with a good cleanse and a gentle scrub, using your favourite products, then apply a face mask that will work wonders while you watch TV or overnight while you sleep.
#11. Paint Your Nails
Have you ever done a rush job painting your nails and ended up with some smudged and wonky nails? I have – usually because I don’t plan properly and end up trying to do bedtime/feed the dog/make dinner with semi-wet nails. Set aside 20 minutes – file and paint your nails, and have a magazine to hand while you wait for them to dry. Keep a great hand cream on standby to finish off your home manicure in style.
#12. Talk to a Friend
Skip texting – pick up the phone and call a friend for a leisurely chat, or arrange to meet for a coffee. The face-to-face benefits are huge, particularly when you can use each other as a sounding board for worries, concerns and stress.
#13. Take a Power Nap
Sneak off for a quick power nap to recharge – even 20 or 30 minutes can give you enough of an energy boost to keep you feeling capable and calm.
#14. Be Creative
Drawing, painting and other creative hobbies are particularly helpful for tension relief. If you’ve never given it a try, why not start with an adult colouring book? You can pick up a colouring book (either an intricate adult one or a fun kid’s one) very cheaply and need nothing more than a few colouring pencils or markers to get started.
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#15. Get Organised
Ok, this doesn’t sound like the most relaxing way to spend your time, but there’s nothing worse than the nagging feeling of ‘mess’ – in fact, clutter is proven to cause stress.
Do you have a room where you just close the door and forget about the piles inside, or perhaps a kitchen counter that’s covered in junk mail, abandoned craft projects and paperwork to be filed? Take a few minutes to tackle the piles and you’ll feel that burden lift in no time!
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What are your favourite ways to relax and unwind? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!