I’m sure most of you have experienced this type of situation at some point- it’s Friday night, you just got home from work, practice, school, etc. and it’s finally that glorious moment where you get to plop down onto your bed. But then, out of the corner of your eye, you see your phone screen suddenly light up. It’s your best friend texting in the group chat, “Who wants to hang at my place tonight?” You let out a huge sigh, bury your face in your pillow, and you start to have a huge internal conflict. Of course you’d love to see all of your friends and spend time with them, but the exhaustion that’s been built up throughout the week is causing you to have second thoughts. You’re debating whether you should get ready and head out to have fun with friends or spend the night at home watching your favorite TV series. Both options are very tempting, but you start leaning towards the, “hanging out with friends” side. You don’t want your friends to think you’re “lame” and no one wants to be a party-pooper. But I want to let you know that it’s okay to take this Friday night off and take some time for yourself.
Maybe this specific scenario isn’t as relatable to some people, but I definitely know that I’ve experienced this in the past. It’s very common for people to have “off” days. An example of an "off" day would be when you wake up feeling exhausted, nothing seems to be going well, and find yourself struggling to get through the rest of the day. Is that relatable? If so, then take some of my advice in this article because I strongly believe that every single person should remember to take care of themselves and never let life completely overwhelm them. These "off" days are signs that you need to start paying attention to yourself. The amount of stress people deal with every week and even every day is unbelievable. So of course everyone is going to be pretty pooped by the end of the week! Please never feel bad about missing a party with your friends in order to spend a night at home. Our bodies and our minds need to be “reenergized” every once in awhile.
Some people don’t feel comfortable allowing themselves to relax and sometimes people (believe it or not) don’t even know exactly how to relax. But again, I cannot stress how important it is to “chill out” at times. Just to make things a little easier for you, here's a list of my go-to ways to relax. Enjoy!
1. Turn Off Your Phone
Believe me, our technology stresses us out more than you think. By turning your phone off, you're shutting out a majority of the world and the only thing that matters from now on is yourself and your well-being.
2. Go Outside
Spending time outside can completely change your mood. Enjoy everything nature has to offer and let the breeze around you calm you down.
3. Find Your Happy Place
For me, I've learned that my "happy place" happens to be my room. My bedroom is full of inspiration and every aspect is designed in a way that makes me feel at peace. Your happy place could also be your bedroom or it could be your backyard, your car, or a nearby park. Whatever it is, embrace every part of your happy place and let the environment overwhelm your mind and diminish your stress.
4. Accept Isolation
Accept the fact that you need this time alone. Learn to shut out the rest of the world and the chaos going on around you. Use your relaxation time to care about yourself. Pay attention to no one else except yourself. This can be difficult at times because our minds are always running and worrying about other people and what they're thinking and doing. Our main goal is to be able to shut those thoughts off completely in these specific moments.
5. Set the Mood
Turn the environment around you into a relaxing space. For me, a relaxed environment includes dimmed lighting, candles lit, my favorite music, and even clean space around me because it helps my mind feel a little less cluttered. Find little things you can add around you that add to your relaxed feeling.
6. Find a Relaxing Activity
For a lot of people, a nightly activity may include watching TV or spending time on their phones. But when we're trying to relax, I recommend staying as far away from technology as possible. A few examples of activities I've learned to enjoy would be reading, journaling, yoga, biking, and meditating. All of these have continuously helped me relax and I think that it's important that you find activities that help you relax as well.
7. Treat Yourself
One last tip I have for you is to treat yourself with something nice every once in a while. I'm not exactly sure how this directly connects with making you feel relaxed but it sure does make you feel great! A few examples of ways to treat yourself is to head to the store and buy yourself that necklace you've had your eye on for a while, stop at your favorite restaurant or pick up your favorite snack from the grocery store, take a nice bath, or download some new music. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy this treat to yourself because you really deserve it! You've worked extremely hard so allow yourself to have this reward.
Remember to never feel guilty about taking time for yourself- your body and your mind needs this time to relax. You deserve every second of this relaxation and don't let anyone or anything interfere with that. After reading this article, make it your goal for the day to set aside at least an hour to relax. I strongly recommend making it your long-term goal to set aside time every day in order to relax. You'd be amazed with the changes you'll start seeing by making this small adjustment in your life. Enjoy the rest of your day and remember to chill out!