Artwork by @ZHKDesigns.

Relaxation is more important than most of us realise. If you can’t relax in the evening, it’s difficult to get to sleep and you’re less likely to sleep well. If you can’t relax on your time off, your productivity suffers, and so does your mental health.

We’ve compiled five relaxation tips to help you get through the working day.

Take a Break from the World

Let’s be honest. Your phone pinging every time someone texts or messages you are an annoyance. It’s designed that way. Responding to a series of messages is busy-work that feels important and constantly replying to people’s questions, casual inquiries and personal drama adds to your own personal responsibilities and workload. One way to relax is to take a break from the world. When you take a break to recharge, turn off the phone and the computer. Spend time reading, soaking in the tub, meditating or whatever else relaxes you. And be truly at peace while you do it.

Eat Foods High in Serotonin

Serotonin is a mood-balancing chemical in the brain. A number of foods trigger its releases such as lollies and simple carbohydrates. This is why stress eating often involves chocolate or doughnuts. We’re all guilty of eating past the point of it being good for you, so the solution is to limit yourself to a single 100 calorie serving. Then you won’t be stressed about your weight on top of everything else.

Listen to Music

One of the best ways to relax is to listen to music. The tempo of the music has quite an impact on your mood. Try soothing music to calm your nerves. While this is a good choice when you’re falling asleep in the evening, you can also use music to maintain your cool while you’re driving in traffic. Note that you can use music to block out disturbing noises at night too.

Fix What Makes You Uncomfortable

Sometimes there is a valid reason we can’t relax. It’s hard to fall asleep or lay comfortably on the couch if you’re in pain. Seek professional medical advice if you’re experiencing joint pain or back and neck pain that’s preventing you from relaxing. This is especially true if massages and over the counter remedies aren’t working or have been needed for more than a few weeks. Ensure you have medical insurance prior to seeking specialist advice.

Exercise

It may seem counter-intuitive, but exercise may be one of the best things to do when stressed and tired. Stress is often due to a frustrating fight or flight response. Your body is stressed because it wants to fight the threat or flee it, but you don’t have a clear enemy. The solution is burning off that energy. Climbing a few flights of stairs or going for a long walk causes your body to burn the adrenaline pumping through your body. A side benefit of doing this is that the physical exhaustion will help you relax when you sit down, and it makes it easier to go to sleep at night. Just don’t go for a jog an hour before bedtime. Only workout at least two hours before bed, and have a quiet, dark environment at least one hour before bedtime.

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