Listen – I am in no way claiming to be a chill person. In fact, I have very little chill. But throughout high school, I’ve come to realize that one of the most important things you can do is take time for yourself to just hit the pause button and relax. I think it’s time we start introducing mindfulness to our lives and creating time within our schedules to get comfy and de-stress, whether that means scheduling a full day of relaxation or carving out a quick hour or two in between tasks. To get the most out of your relaxation time, here are some of my favorite tips to just chill out:
Write it Out
A lot of times when I get stressed throughout the day it’s because my mind is racing with everything I have to do and when it needs to get done. Before you dive into your relaxation time, take a moment to actually write out what you need to get done throughout the next day or week, whether that means making a quick list or committing some time to scheduling out your tasks. After you’ve written out your to-do list, let it go and completely forget about it (at least for the next couple hours as you relax). Anytime your mind starts to wander back to everything you have to do, simple remind yourself that you know what you need to do, and you’re going to get it done, and then return to the moment.
Dress to De-Stress
Aside from leaving the house for school, work, and other errands, I pretty much live out of pajamas and sweatpants. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than changing into a T-shirt and a comfy pair of pants after a day of jeans and assigned shirts. I encourage you to put on your comfiest pair of pants to get into a relaxation mindset, whether those are funky yoga pants, a reliable pair of sweatpants you’ve had for years, or some downright awesome pajama bottoms that combine your love of food and comfiness.
Snack On, But Snack Smart
Let’s be honest: if you’re spending some time lazing around the house, it’s really easy to just snack on anything that’s quick and tasty (I’m talking chips, cookies, trail mixes, and all other kinds of food that I am definitely guilty of stuffing my face with). But during your relaxation time, I encourage you to be mindful of what you eat, and why you’re eating. Don’t just snack around because you’re bored or you want something to do: eat when you’re actually hungry, and only eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re uncomfortable or stuffed. And try to keep your snacks and meals balanced: commit to eating more fruits and veggies as snacks, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a delicious vegan espresso chocolate chip cookie. Most importantly: stay hydrated throughout the day and keep a water bottle handy. You’ll end the day with a refreshed body and an especially happy tummy.
Tend to Your Scentsitivity
If you’re like me, you might be an especially scentsitive person, meaning you may have strong reactions to certain smells, and even get bad headaches or have other physical side effects if a bad smell lingers too long. So take a moment to make yourself and your house smell good: burn a little incense, rub some lightly-scented lotion on your hands, knees, and elbows, or go for the gold and break out those essential oils. I love putting a drop of orange essential oil in my water bottle for a refreshing twist, or you can take your favorite scent and rub it on your wrists and temple. Sometimes it’s also nice to put a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil on a tissue and carry it with you throughout the day.
Stretch it Out
Doing yoga is one of the most relaxing things for me, personally. I get to really notice how I’m feeling (both mentally and physically) and focus on being present in the moment and stretching out any sore or tense areas in my body. Check out Yoga With Adriene’s channel for some awesome yoga videos: I love her “Yoga for Stress Relief” and 30 Days of Yoga videos, and if you’re interested in starting a regular yoga routine, I encourage you to dive into her Yoga Camp, which started January 1st of this year (although you can join whenever you like – it’s totally flexible and totally free!). Her “Quick Stress Fix” video is also a great resource for anyone who just wants to take a quick stretch break before moving on with their day.
It can be really beneficial to take a chunk of time and dedicate it to a calm and engaging activity, so I encourage you to cozy up with a blanket and do just that. You can watch that movie that’s been on your Netflix list for ages or catch up on whatever you’ve been reading. This is really an opportunity to settle in and treat yourself to some quiet time doing something that you enjoy. If you end up feeling sleepy, embrace it and take a nap – your body may need the rest. If you watch your movie or read for a good half hour and then feel ready to move on: get up, stretch it out, and find another calm activity to do.
Whenever I have a couple of hours to relax, I love to spend part of that time creating some art or doing another constructive activity along those lines. I always find it rewarding to invest some time in creating something, whether it be a quick drawing, a piece of origami, or a much-needed journal entry. This is also a great time to write letters to family or friends or make some homemade cards or thank-you notes. If you’re not a particularly artsy person, I still encourage you to do something creative and constructive: you can always go online for tutorials on quick, fun projects (like how to make an origami swan or use cool patterns to cut intricate paper snowflakes).
I hope you are able to implement and benefit from these tips and that you are able to create plenty of relaxing moments throughout the year. Stay chill, my friends.