“The Universe wants to give you so much, if you could just let it in. To let it in, slow down. To let it in, relax. To let it in, be calm. To let it in, let go. You are now letting it in.”
-Rhonda Byrne, The Secret
“We just want you to relax and expect that the Universe is knocking itself out to accommodate you, for it is.”
Chilling out used to be a bit of a foreign concept to me. My mind was in constant overdrive, and I thought productivity trumped relaxation any day. I thought that I had to constantly be making things happen, and I had a really hard time just hanging out and doing nothing.
I dated a pretty laid back guy in high school (pretty laid back = understatement of the year), and sometimes when we’d be hanging out I’d ask him what he was thinking. He’d say nothing, and I knew he meant it, and it would just blow my mind. I was there stressing about school, friends, my future, our future, my body, whatever, and he was next to me just chill and relaxed. I was more than a little jealous.
A true state of relaxation just didn’t seem like anything I’d ever attain, but as I got older and started learning about meditation, spirituality, etc. I became a much much better relaxer. High school-me would be psyched at my current day level of chill!
I am by no means the poster child of laid back (and my brother and friend laughed when I started telling them how chill I was), but I am way more relaxed than I used to be, and I now love hanging out, doing nothing, and just enjoying myself without an agenda.
I’ve realized that relaxing isn’t just something that feels good or that we get to enjoy after we’ve worked hard. When we relax, we are working with the power of the Universe rather than working against it (as happens when we are worrying and stressing). Relaxation is an energy of love and trust, and that is the energy of the Universe.
So because I so love the topic of relaxation and chilling out, I thought I’d share a post on some of my favourite ways to relax.
You’ll notice that meditation is nowhere on the list- that’s because for me, sitting down and meditating is more effective when I’m already chilled out. If I’m all stressed, sitting down and trying to let go is not really that possible or effective. I need to do something a little more active to get our of my head and switch my energy from stressed to relaxed.
That being said, all of the points below get me into a calm, more present headspace, so in that sense they are all forms of meditation.
So here we go, my 7 simple ways to relax.
- Listen to good music. This doesn’t have to be something really soothing like classical or meditative music (though of course it can be) but rather any music that puts you in a really good mood. Music is so powerful and it can have such a strong effect on both our emotions and our energy. When I want to relax or chill out, I throw on my favourite songs and get an instant mood boost. I like everything from pop to techno to country to classical, and I’ll put on whatever I’m in the mood for.
- Go for a walk. Walking clears my head like no other. As a general rule, I feel more relaxed and in the zone when I’m walking than when I’m doing a seated meditation. It just clears my head, and my best moments of awareness and inspiration happen while I’m walking. You should see the Notes section on my iPhone- I have 184 Notes right now, and the majority of them are thoughts, inspirations, and article ideas that pop into my head while I’m walking. Sometimes I need silence while I’m walking, but other times I throw on my favourite tunes and go for a walk, and it puts me in such a happy headspace.
- Be present. When I find my mind running a million miles a minute, I try to check myself and come back to the moment. Just focusing on what’s right in front of me shifts me into a clearer happier headspace. When you’re stressing out, you’re generally worrying about the past or future- things that you have no control over! Tuning into the sensations around me- looking up at the trees, feeling my breathing, even tickling my own arm (sounds weird, but it feels awesome :p)- brings me out of my mind’s imaginings and into the present moment.
- Take a nap. Let’s face it-naps rule. When life feels overwhelming, a nap does me so much good. It always amazes me how much a little sleep can affect my mood. As a stress reliever, naps usually work best for me when I am feeling drained. Remember those video games where you could see a bar with your player’s energy levels? When I get down to red or yellow in my imaginary energy levels bar, I take a nap and bring myself back into the green zone (did that make any sense? You guys know those video games, right?).
- Get productive. So like I said, naps work best for me if I’m feeling drained, but sometimes the reason I need to relax is because I have that icky feeling you get when you have been procrastinating for way too long and letting things pile up around you. In those times, the most relaxing thing I can do is to get productive. Even something as small as doing the dishes, cleaning my room, or answering a few emails can help me to relax and get back on track.
- Do something you love. I used to think that relaxing had to mean doing nothing or doing something spiritual like meditating or journalling (yup, I initially tried to suck the fun right out of relaxing), but now I think it’s really just about doing things that make you happy. Watch your favourite show, play with your pet, look up funny clips on YouTube, paint your nails, have sex, whatever. Do something that makes you happy and takes your mind off of your worries. Distraction is actually an amazing relaxer.
- Say nice things to yourself. A lot of time, we stress ourselves out by, well basically by being not so nice to ourselves. We can be mean, judgemental, and impatient, and it can get us all worked up over nothing. When I’m feeling stressed due to negative self talk, I mitigate it by switching the conversation and being really nice to myself. I’ll tell myself I’m amazing, that I’m doing such a good job, that I’ve been unnecessarily hard on myself, and that I believe in myself! I also say things like I don’t have to be perfect, and I’m doing the best that I can. It works wonders and helps me to gain perspective. When you’re being negative, you attract more negativity into your life. When you’re being positive, you attract positive, loving things.
I hope this list helps you to bring a little more “om” into your day. Thanks for reading! xo