Today is National Relaxation Day, and we’re happy to celebrate this day as a reminder that we should prioritize taking time for ourselves. Not just today, but every day, it is important to check in with ourselves, and to listen to what our bodies and minds need in order to decompress from daily stressors.
We’d like to suggest some self-care tips that serve to complement your treatment for depression or other condition, whether you’re pursuing TMS Therapy, medication, talk therapy, or a combination of modalities. Try these out and see which works best for you – different techniques work for different people. We’ve organized these tips by the time they might take so that anyone can incorporate at least one into each day, regardless of how busy they are!
- Deep breathing: Taking a deep breath is an easy way to re-center and refocus your mind. Breathing techniques can be a strategic coping mechanism for anxiety and panic attacks. Here are several deep breathing techniques to try next time you need a moment to focus on yourself.
- Meditate: Five to ten minutes practicing meditation techniques can calm your mind, and aid in reducing depression and anxiety. For beginning, try simply listening to a guided meditation, or creating your own mantra to repeat as you lie down in a quiet space and focus on letting go of the tension in your body.
- Create a “restart” routine: A personalized routine can be the perfect self-care you need on a stressful day. On a day when you’re feeling calm, craft a simple list or routine that you can turn to in a moment when you feel unsettled or upset. The items on the list might be as simple as drinking a tall glass of water, taking a hot shower or bath, brewing your favorite tea, or finding some inspiring quotes.
- Writing prompts: Transferring your thoughts and feelings to pen and paper can be a relaxing outlet. Explore some meditative prompts, or creative writing prompts. Try writing ten things you’re grateful for, or if you need to feel grounded, describe what each of your senses are experiencing (what you taste, hear, see, smell, and feel at the moment, and what you might want to change). You can also write a positive, supportive letter for yourself to read when you’re feeling low.
- Clean your space: Decluttering your space can help you feel refreshed and accomplished. It doesn’t mean you have to clean your entire space – one drawer or surface can totally change the way you see your surroundings and give you a sense of satisfaction. Take the time to clear off your desk for a refreshed start to your day, or clean a nice cozy spot to watch your favorite movie.
- Have Fun in the Kitchen: Sometimes it’s nice to take the time to cook a tasty dish that warms you up or reminds you of home. Cooking is soothing and offers a way to keep your hands busy while you rest your mind, and there are tons of step-by-step, simple recipes you can try. Something as simple as grabbing your favorite food and taking time to savor it can also offer the same meditative effect.
- Create a playlist: Music can boost your mood or create a calm atmosphere, helping set the tune for your mental health. Create a playlist that energizes you, reminds you of your favorite moment or movie, or old favorites you can’t help but sing along to. Search online if you don't know where to start - there are tons of playlists already created for these exact moments of relaxation.
- Go for a walk: Taking a walk, even just for ten minutes around the block or to a local park, can do wonders for your state of mind. Feeling fresh air and sunshine as you engage your muscles is a great way to boost mood - exposure to sunlight can increase serotonin levels, one of the neurotransmitters responsible for generating calm and happiness.
- Coloring: There’s a large market for adult coloring books for a reason – coloring mandalas and other designs offers a simple task that can be centering and therapeutic. Artistic self-expression often feels liberating; coloring books as well as other forms of art therapy can remind us of the simplicity and fun in life.
- Take a bath: Add some Epsom salts to soothe your muscles or add bubbles and a bath bomb to relax at the end of a long day, or begin a day feeling rejuvenated. If you don’t enjoy baths, take a long, hot shower or stop by your local recreation center to relax in the sauna or jacuzzi.
- Read a book: Reading is a great way to clear your mind, gain new perspectives, and learn. Check out our National Book Lover’s Day blog for our recommendations, from memoirs to workbooks, that might benefit your journey to wellness.
- Unplug: Take a break from the non-stop notifications and turn off your technology for an hour each day. Instead, use that time to enjoy some face-to-face time with a friend, have a cup of coffee, and focus on being in the present moment.
- Gardening: Planting flowers can be both therapeutic and satisfying, because you’re both actively engaging in an activity and appreciating nature’s beauty. Gardening also gives us further awareness of our natural surroundings, while enjoying fresh air and soaking up Vitamin D. If you don’t have a garden, try growing herbs like basil or cilantro on your windowsill. In spaces with less natural light, succulents and philodendrons are great, easy-to-care-for choices.
- Find a furry friend: Warm cuddles from a beloved pup can bring an instant smile. Pets can bring “stability, continuity, and meaning” to your life, which greatly benefits your mental health. If you don’t have a pet, you can go to your local shelter to volunteer; rescue animals are always in need of a little extra love too.
- Reconnect with a friend: All people need human contact to feel connected and to thrive. Loneliness is a common symptom of mental health issues, and sometimes we push people away in our low moments. However, it can be healing and comforting to reach out in any way – you can start small with a text or comment, or call to see if they have a moment for coffee. Reaching out doesn’t have to be daunting, and rekindling connections or tending to the important bonds you have is a great way to receive and give support.
We hope these relaxation methods help you find peace in a busy day, a difficult moment, or a troubling time. If you’re finding it impossible to relax or feel better, it may be time to get in touch with your mental health support team or a mental health professional. Depression and anxiety are treatable conditions, and you may benefit from treatments such as medication, talk therapy, or TMS therapy. For more information on Greenbrook TMS Therapy for you or a loved one, please contact us here for a free consultation.
Please be advised that the information presented here is for information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. All readers are encouraged to discuss any issues or concerns they may have with their behavioral health providers.