For many of us, the moment we jump the first hurdle of creating downtime in our day, a new hurdle appears: actually enjoying it. This post is all about how to relax faster so that you can actually spend that downtime on relaxing activities.

In a ridiculously efficient® world, you have a routine that you follow to get out of a focused state and into a relaxed one.

For me, my workday always ends with closing my laptop, packing my things up and leaving the officebar. Before I slowly walk back into the house, I take a lap around the backyard and make a point of gazing up at the sky. I notice how my lemon tree is growing, or what new flowers have bloomed since yesterday. I try and count the nests in the trees, and notice the clouds or passing planes. This relaxing, 10-minute activity naturally quiets my mind and causes me to breathe a little deeper.

Here are some ideas to help you relax faster. Try combinations of these and see what's most effective for you.

The Big List of Ideas to Relax Faster

  • Stretch, with props or without
  • Breathe deeply
  • Make and enjoy a cup of tea
  • Meditate (try these tips)
  • Try progressive muscle relaxation
  • Roll out on a foam roller
  • Lay down on the floor (or a yoga mat on the floor). Stretch your arms and legs as far as you can in opposite directions.
  • Count your breaths.
  • Visualize an activity or place that makes you happy.
  • Roll a golf or lacrosse ball underneath your feet. Use a bouncy ball or marble to hit pressure points.
  • Give yourself (or your partner) a hand massage.
  • Take a shower.
  • Brush your hair or massage your scalp. (Better yet, have someone do this to you.)
  • Spent 10 minutes "zoning out" in a relaxing place.
  • Stare out the window and let your mind wander.
  • Walk around the neighborhood.
  • Have a solo dance party.
  • Listen to music that makes you happy.
  • Inhale a soothing scent like lavender, citrus or chamomile.
  • Cuddle with a pet or your partner.
  • Give an enormous hug.
  • Watch something funny.
  • Hang from a pull-up bar or sturdy tree branch.
  • Let your head hang, chin to your chest. While breathing, allow the height of your head to pull you forward, lengthening your spine.
  • Write a love note.
  • Paint.
  • Rest your eyes with slides of cool cucumber over your eyes.
  • Put on a face masque.
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