relaxation and calming resources
Sometimes, we just need to slow down and breathe! There are lots of ways to relax, and this page will take you through some of our favourites!
1. You've seen those satisfying gifs and videos, right? Our brain likes them because everything just seems to feel like it fits and the movement in them is soft and predictable. Find a whole bunch of them here
2. Try a grounding exercise. Sometimes when we use the word "meditation" or "mindfulness" it makes people cringe. But don't knock it until you've tried it! Here's a good one that is easy, you can do it anywhere, and it only takes a couple of minutes:
- Sit or lie down comfortably
- Spend about 30 seconds looking around you, and in your head, describe 3 things that you see
- Now, in your head, try to describe 2 things you hear
- Now, notice all the parts of your body that are touching something or feel pressure; it could be the feeling of your clothes on your skin or the pressure of your bottom on the chair or your back on the bed.
- Finally, spend thirty seconds trying to find the three things you saw, hear your two sounds AND focus on the sensations of touch
Usually this activity helps people to calm down for a couple of reasons; firstly, it helps you to just exist in the space that you are in, and reminds you that you are safe. It also busies your brain with neutral thoughts so that it gets a break from worry or stress.
Want more ideas for mindfulness? We love Smiling Mind.
3. Guided breathing exercises help us to calm feelings of racing thoughts and fast breathing that we sometimes get when we feel stressed. You could look to Smiling Mind to help you try some guided breathing, or save a guided breathing gif to your phone for a quick break (use them for at least 10 breaths and see how you feel):
4. Set an alarm for 20-30 minutes (no more!!) and lie down to nap. If you're not sleepy, or you are unable to sleep, put on some background sound to relax you even if you don't get to nap.
20 to 30 minutes is enough to give us a boost of energy, without letting our minds enter deep sleep - if you do that, you'll wake up feeling groggy and grumpy instead of refreshed and motivated.
Never tried white noise or sleep sounds? My favourite is thunderstorms, but lo-fi beats are also helpful too.
5. Take 5-10 minutes to draw something. It doesn't have to be good and you don't have to show anyone, but giving your brain something creative to focus on can give it the break it needs from the hard work of feeling worried.
Having a mental block on something to try drawing? A tree gives you lots of lines and textures, spirals and swirls mean you don't have to be able to visualise your image, and creating line patterns can be really satisfying.