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22 Ways to Practice the Art of Relaxation

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

In our hurried world it’s easy to feel like you “should” be on the go constantly. Getting caught up in day to day activities and neglecting ourselves seems to be a common occurrence. Rather than relaxing you might be staying late at the office to finish a report, sending emails, or connecting with friends on various social networks.

For instance, practicing walking meditation and yoga have helped me relax and slow down. But, I still get caught up in the idea that I “should” be doing something. Yesterday, I decided to follow Leo’s advice and do less. By embracing the idea of doing less, I accomplished more and took a tiny nap too!

So let go of the need to constantly be doing something. Learn to relax and embrace “laziness.” I’m not arguing you should turn into a sloth; however I think it’s perfectly okay to take time out of your normal routine and take care of yourself. By taking time out to recharge you’ll be more productive and creative.

The art of realization is about cultivating focus and giving yourself time to think. And to really take notice of your hopes, fears, and dreams.

Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Take frequent naps. I’m convinced that naps are the key to a happy life. When I worked at a traditional day job, I always joked that we should have a designated nap hour. That might not be possible in the “real world,” but taking naps on weekends is something you can do.

2. Listen to your body. How many of you actually listen to your body? Do you slow down when you get tired or become ill? Or do you keep going into the office and working long hours?

3. Snuggle up on the couch, with a blanket, and be still.

4. Spend time with your pet. Numerous studies have show that spending time with a pet is relaxing, fun, and can lower your stress level.

5. Practice deep breathing and meditation.

6. Give hugs. Hug your friends, family members and partner. Hugging more often not only increases happiness but makes us happier.

7. Cook a healthy meal at home. Savor your time in the kitchen by making a simple healthy meal. Use simple ingredients like whole grains, vegetables and fruits in your dish.

8. Ask your partner to give you a massage.

9. Take a dancing class with your partner.

10. Participate in activities or hobbies that relax you. What are your favorite hobbies? Do you like going for long runs or slow leisurely walks?

11. Smile and laugh. Have fun and learn to smile and laugh more. If you have trouble laughing, look into laughing yoga.

12. Listen to calming music. It really does help!

13. Observe your surroundings. If your home is loud, find a quiet place to cultivate laziness. Bring a blanket to the park and observe your surroundings.

14. Take a long hot bath.

15. Read a good book. There is nothing more powerful and relaxing than getting lost in the power of a good story.

16. Imagine a personal paradise.

17. Learn to prioritize your tasks. By prioritizing your tasks, you’ll have more time to relax and do what you love in your down time.

18. Go on a slow meditative walk.

19. Take a long, leisurely bike ride.

20. Hit snooze. Rather than jumping out of bed in the morning, slowly wake up. Allow yourself an extra half hour to doze on and off. Hitting the snooze button a few times isn’t a bad thing.

21. Exercise everyday. Take time out of your busy routine and take a long walk, run or bike ride. It’s amazing how much exercise can help reduce levels of stress.

22. Do less. Learning to relax doesn’t have to be so complicated. We just have to do less and make the time for self-care.

Micro-actions: Read The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less, Then Do Even Less and start incorporating relaxation tips into your everyday life.

What would you add to the list?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Russell May 4, 2010, 8:06 am

    I’ve been trying to convince my wife that laziness is actually a strength, not a weakness. She isn’t buying it. For example, I told her that by not mowing the yard, I was returning the lawn to its natural habitat. That’s admirable, right? But she did some research and found out that none of the weeds that came up in our yard were native to the region, and to truly return our yard to its original habitat, I would have to dig up the sod and replace it with native plants. I thought about it for a couple days, and decided to mow the yard.

    • Tammy May 4, 2010, 3:02 pm

      @Russell – LOL! I would probably mow the yard too. 🙂 My Dad planted clover in his yard because he hated mowing the law. That might be a strategy to consider. 🙂

      Best of luck and thanks for reading!

  • Eric Normand May 4, 2010, 9:08 am

    What I would add to the list: just sitting with no TV, music, nothing. Just sit there. You can do it in a natural setting or just in your house.

    Thanks for the list.

    • Nick May 4, 2010, 10:31 am

      I agree, sitting is surprisingly challenging at first because of its stark contrast to the world we are told to live in. But, if one can attain the patience and slow down their thoughts enough, sitting in quiet is an overwhelmingly rewarding activity.

    • Tammy May 4, 2010, 2:59 pm

      @Eric – I agree. I don’t watch TV anymore. Honestly, I find most programs boring. I prefer a good book to curl up with. 🙂 Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Lisa May 4, 2010, 11:15 am

    I can’t think of a thing to add to your list. I just wanted to say “thanks” for posting it.

    • Tammy May 4, 2010, 2:59 pm

      Ahhh thank you Lisa. I appreciate the kind words.

  • Abby @ New Urban Habitat May 4, 2010, 11:40 am

    Great list! I guess I’d just add getting out into nature, even if it’s just a city park.

    • Tammy May 4, 2010, 2:57 pm

      Thanks Abby! Great addition.

  • Tom May 4, 2010, 1:42 pm

    Some really great ideas here. For me, I’d have to add: Have a cup of tea. It’s what I use to slow myself down. Like Russell mentioned, some people view doing less as lazy. With a cup of tea, you have an activity that you’re engaging in, thus deflecting possible ‘lazy’ comments.

    • Tammy May 4, 2010, 2:57 pm

      @Tom – ohhh that’s a good one. I love having a hot cup of tea and playing with my cats. It’s so relaxing and fun. 🙂

  • Melissa Gorzelanczyk May 4, 2010, 2:39 pm

    You had me at #1 … take frequent naps.

    • Tammy May 4, 2010, 2:56 pm

      @Melissa – HAAA. I’m a huge fan of naps. They are the best thing ever. 🙂

  • Meg May 4, 2010, 4:44 pm

    Tammy, these are all really good ideas that so easily get lost in day-to-day life. Thanks for posting them. I’m also going to follow Leo’s advice and do less and do less in such a way that gives me back some control over my life. I think when we feel we have most things under control, we stress a lot less.

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 10:43 am

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment Meg! Leo’s advice rocks. Doing less is the way to go.

  • Find a stream. Sit on a rock and watch the water flow by.

    Sit on a cafe’ patio, sipping coffee, appreciating that you are NOT one of those hurrying past.

    Find some homeless bums hanging out on a corner and join them.

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 10:47 am

      @The Barking Unicorn – Thanks for the comment!

  • SimplyMe May 4, 2010, 5:59 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, specifically with pets, naps, jazz and exercise! I’d add calling family members to that list, as there’s no better way to reconnect and re-energize. Texting and emailing don’t count in my opinion!

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 10:47 am

      @SimplyMe – SO TRUE. E-mail is a great tool, but nothing replaces a good conversation via telephone. Thanks for reading the blog!

  • Bill May 4, 2010, 10:53 pm

    Great advice! EXCEPT for no 20 which I find is a habit that is very hard to get rid of once you’ve done it once. Okay, fine, maybe on weekends, but on normal weekdays it mostly makes you more tired when you actually do get up. Maybe it was just me who did it, but I got to bed in regular time, and put the alarm 30 minutes before I had to get up, which resulted in 7.5h good sleep, and 30min disturbed sleep, so it didn’t really help me relax ;3 If I’m gonna go lazy when waking up I prefer laying with my eyes open and just relax for a few minutes.

    But: Everything isn’t for everyone 😀 Kick ass blog anyways!

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 7:03 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Bill! 🙂

  • Robin Yates May 5, 2010, 5:17 am

    thank you so much for this! it was amazing I am already taking practice on some of the techniques. keep it up 🙂

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 7:03 pm

      Awesome Robin! I’m glad you found the post helpful.

  • Dan Goodwin May 5, 2010, 8:29 am

    Great list Tammy, thank you.

    For me I would add taking photos, especially out in nature. When you’re focusing on capturing shots, that’s your entire world in that lens in that moment, everything else dissolves away.

    Also doodling, just drawing and even writing free flow with no aim or destination, just letting your mind ramble on the page.

    Washing dishes is really calming, and valuable because you see the whole process through from start to finish, which is rare these days with so many open “windows” and projects in our lives in various states of completion.

    Finally, for me, dancing (salsa) is a great form of relaxation. Getting in the flow with a brilliant track and a partner you have good chemistry with is unbeatable really. Kind of exciting and calming at the same time.

    Thanks!

    Dan

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 7:04 pm

      Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment Dan. I really liked your additions to the list. Especially the comment about salsa dancing. It sounds like a blast! Thanks for reading RowdyKittens.

  • Megan May 5, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Great list! I would add get creative. Whether it’s free writing, sketching, taking photos, whatever, unleashing your creativity does wonders for your state of mind!

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 7:05 pm

      Thanks Megan. Great additions to the list. I love free writing and taking photos. It’s so much fun. 🙂

  • Andrew May 5, 2010, 5:52 pm

    Tammy,

    This post provided me with the seed from which my most recent post sprang. So thank you.

    And as many other have already noted, naps may well be one of the best things in the universe.

    • Tammy May 5, 2010, 7:06 pm

      Sweet! I’m glad you found a little inspiration from the post. And yes, naps are the best thing ever. 🙂

  • Benny May 6, 2010, 4:25 am

    Hi. Great post. what would be your number 9 for this list?
    Love to hear it 🙂
    Keep on this wonderful work.
    Ben

    • Tammy May 6, 2010, 6:55 am

      @Benny – haaaa! Good catch. I’ll go with salsa dancing. 🙂 And thank you for reading.

      • Dan Goodwin May 6, 2010, 8:52 am

        @Tammy – I teach salsa, if I’m ever in Portland maybe could come and give you a few lessons!

  • Francesca May 6, 2010, 5:13 am

    I’ve just been taking a break from exam revision and decided to read through my blog list. This post is just what I needed!

    I definately agree with the exercising every day. I try and start my day either with some yoga or a good all jog; they definately get the brain juices flowing. 🙂

    Great stuff, look forwards to reading more.

  • Bankruptcy Ben June 24, 2010, 7:38 pm

    My clients need to read this. Too many times we associate having fun with spending money. Frugal Fun lists like this are a must have 🙂 (not relevent to this but what bicycle do you use)

  • Mansi September 4, 2011, 7:47 pm

    Excellent!!! Please let us know more on relaxation technique, this is very helpful

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