“Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.”– Rumi

Relaxing is very essential to your mental health and well-being. Everyone needs some time in their daily life to relax, worry less and have fun. Stress isn’t all bad! A certain amount of stress is necessary to deal with difficult situations in our everyday lives. However, if we stay in a state of high stress for too long, it can be damaging to our health. Being relaxed can help ease stress. It can also relieve anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.

Physical symptoms that you may be stressed out are headaches, tensions in the neck and shoulders, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, low energy, frequent cold and infections, chest pain and rapid heartbeats, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and so on.

Stress can also affect our mental state too as it elevates levels of cortisol; a hormone that affects the function of the brain. This can result in poor concentration, difficulty in making decisions and uncontrollable negative thoughts.

There’s no doubt that today’s modern lifestyle in Nigeria and all over the world can be stressful. Between work, family, and social obligations, it can be hard to make time for yourself. But it’s important to always find the time to relax and destress your life from the things weighing you down.

Fortunately for you, we have tried 30 ways to relax that you can adopt in Nigeria to ease stress in only five minutes or less.

From sipping tea, a massage from the spa and to advanced relaxation techniques: here is everything you need to know about how to de-stress yourself from time to time.

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Food And Drinks That Can Help Fight Stress

1. Eat Some Dark Chocolates

Studies have shown that dark chocolate or cocoa may help improve peoples moods. It is a rich source of polyphenols, especially flavonoids which might reduce neuroinflammation and cell death in the brain as well as improve blood flow. It is also a good source of magnesium which may help reduce symptoms of depression.

Dark chocolate regulates cortisol levels in your body (a hormone linked to stress) and stabilizes the metabolism. Next time you go shopping, simply grab a bar of dark chocolates.

learn how to relax yourself with some of these tips in Nigeria
Eating some dark chocolates can help calm your nerves. Source: Unsplash

2. Chamomile Tea

People around the world use chamomile tea as a herbal remedy because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and relaxant properties.

Chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquillizer or sleep inducer. Its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin, which is found in abundance in chamomile tea. A recent study found out that drinking a cup of chamomile tea truly did help reduce anxiety symptoms.

3. Yoghurt

Yoghurt contains healthful bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria which can benefit the natural gut bacteria and may reduce anxiety and stress.

Multiple studies found consuming healthful bacteria increased happiness in some people.

4. Green tea

Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine which has anti-anxiety and calming effects and may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.

Green tea is easy to add to the day-to-day diet. It is a suitable replacement for soft drinks, coffee, and alcoholic beverages.

5. Munch on crunchy things

The act of chewing in itself can help you relax!

This is confirmed by a study done by Dr Harry Levi Hollingworth in 1939: chewing calms you down and helps you relax at work.

Meditation As A Means Of Relaxing And De-Stressing

Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of negative thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. Find a comfortable space somewhere calm and concentrate on these meditation techniques.

6. Practising visualization

Visualization is all about closing your eyes to imagine your restful place. Enjoy the feeling of your worries drifting away as you slowly explore your restful place. When you are ready, gently open your eyes and come back to the present

It’s a shot of instant good humour that chases stress away

7. Mindfulness meditation

This has become popular in recent years. Mindfulness is all about focusing on what’s happening right now, enabling you to be fully engaged in the present moment. Meditations that cultivate mindfulness have long been used to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. It can be you focusing on your breathing or focusing on saying a few repeated words to keep you relaxed or calm.

8. Deep breathing

Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. Deep, slow breathing can help lower your heartbeat and blood pressure.

Try pranayama, a yoga breathing technique that works by breathing through one nostril at a time to help reduce tension. This technique is said to work similarly to acupuncture and helps balance the mind and body.

9. Progressive muscle relaxation

This is a process in which a person systematically tense and learns how to relax the different muscle groups in the body. It involves tensing the muscles in one part of the body at a time, then releasing them before moving on to the next set of muscles. Progressive muscle relaxation can be combined with deep breathing for additional stress relief.

10. Counting

If you are haunted by worries and stress, try to slowly count up to 10. It is a way of calming down and relaxing.

Repeat this exercise as much as possible.  You can add deep breathing while at it.

11. Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation)

This is the practice of directing well-wishes towards others and yourself.

It’s typically practised while sitting in a comfortable, relaxed position. After a few deep breaths, you repeat the following words slowly and steadily. “May I be happy. May I be well? May I be safe? May I be peaceful and at ease.”

After a period of directing this loving-kindness toward yourself, you may begin to picture a family member or friend who has helped you and repeat the mantra, this time replacing “I” with “you.”

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meditation as a from of relaxing and reducing your stress lelvels
Loving-kindness meditation is the practice of reciting specific words and phrases to evoke warm-hearted feelings to relax your mind and spirit. Source: Unsplash

You are also encouraged to visualize and say these words to people you are also having difficulty with.  Finally, you end the meditation with the universal mantra: “May all beings everywhere be happy.”

Physical Relief for Tension and Stress

12. Go For Massage

Getting a massage helps to decrease stress by lowering the heart rate, relaxing muscles and releasing endorphins.

It increases the temperature in the body and promotes relaxation. Why not book a spa appointment today and go for a Swedish, deep stone massage or any of the available ones they have.

13. Massage Your Scalp

If you are too busy to book a spa appointment, you can learn to relax by massaging your scalp. This is a massage therapy you can do on your own to help reduce head tension and aid relaxation. Simply put your fingers on your hair, reach out for your scalp and follow up with a light massage.

13. Squeeze a stress ball

Stress can bring on rage. On those days when someone upsets you and you just want to burst out, squeeze the life out of a stress ball instead.

It’s an easy, portable and non-violent way to soothe aggravation and to calm you down when you are upset.

Get Some Excercise

14. Stretch

This is particularly very useful for sedentary workers. Standing up for a quick stretch can soothe tense muscles and help you relax during a stressful workday.

Stretching helps loosens tight muscles which help your muscles both relax and increase blood flow. It also encourages the release of endorphins which are produced by the body to relieve stress and pain.

15. Swimming

This is a great way to relax. It is especially great for stress relief because the strokes you take involve rhythmic breathing that can trigger the part of your nervous system that's responsible for relaxation.

learn how swimming can help you to relax.
The added effect of water moving over the body creates a massaging sensation. Source: Unsplash

 

 

16. Yoga

What is relaxation and de-stressing without Yoga? When you think of yoga, you think of that great way to relax. This is one of the major benefits of yoga. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation to help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Yoga not only stretches your body but also helps to create peace of mind.

You can practice some yoga poses like Sukhasana (Easy Pose), Uttanasana (Standing forward bend), Balasana (Child's pose) for relaxation.

17. Jog on a spot

Jogging on a spot is good for a short-term endorphin rush. This is one exercise you can do anywhere.

Just stand up after sitting or before going to the bathroom and jog on a spot for a few minutes.

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Relax With Some Of Your Hobbies

18. Cooking

Psychologists say spending time in the kitchen can help relieve stress and improve your mental health. The smell of a dish might remind you of your grandmother's house, or perhaps your favourite restaurant or vacation. These memories as you cook is a therapeutic way to relieve stress and boost your mood.

19. Journal

Journaling is a highly recommended stress-management tool. It can help reduce anxiety, lessen feelings of distress, and increase well-being.

You can write your emotions down in a journal. Putting your emotions down in black on white can make them seem less intimidating. Simply start by saying “Dear Diary: I was stressed today.” and then go with the flow.

20. Dancing

Dancing has some mood-enhancing benefits by causing your body to release endorphins. These endorphins released in the brain helps the body to relax, improves the ability to sleep and acts as natural painkillers.

Once the music’s playing, get your rhythm on!

21. Music

Listening to music is very effective for relaxation and stress management. You can listen to either fast or slow music. Fast music makes some people feel alert and concentrate better while slower music can help quiet your mind and relax your muscles by making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day.

Classical music is particularly relaxing before going to bed - several scientific studies confirm this.

Scents (smells) For Stress Relief

22. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has many benefits in terms of relaxation, de-stressing and mood-boosting. Lavender is one of the most popular scents for relaxing and falling asleep.

The smell of a lavender-scented or peppermint candle can do wonders for relieving stress and help you unwind from your day's activities.

learn all about aromatherapy and its benefits on relaxation and de-stressing
It only takes a minute to put a few drops of lavender, rosemary, tea-tree or another essential oil onto the palm of your hand and inhale it. Source: Unsplash

23. Flowers

A study has revealed that flowers have an immediate impact on mood and lower depression. Smelling floral scents put us in a good mood and make us feel less anxious.

If you do not have some roses around you or some fresh flowers on your table, do yourself a favour by stopping and smelling some flowers around you when next you go out.

24. Citrus Fruits

Scents like lemon and orange are not only well-known for their Vitamin C properties but simply sniffing the fruit can help boost energy and alertness. The scents from citrus fruits can help you relax by raising the levels of norepinephrine, a hormone linked to stress.

Other Tips That Can Help Reduce Your Stress Levels And Aid Relaxation

We have discussed above 24 very useful tIPS that can help you relax. I can go on without stopping on several ways that you can relax even without leaving the comfort of your home. However, we shall list a little more below because I want you to know, have options and learn all about relaxing. Don't worry if some ideas don't work for you – just enjoy the ones that do and can fit into your daily life.

25. Some of these other tips are:

  • Playing an activity-based video game with your family, friends or kids if you have any.
  • Walking: Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot and walk the rest of the way or take your dog for a walk.
  • Soak yourself in a warm bath
  • Talk to a friend: If something is really bothering you, it can help if you share your feelings with a friend.
  • Laugh: it encourages blood circulation. Take some time to watch or read something funny.
  • Look out the window: looking at a spot of nature, a public park or just the trees across the street - can be a lot more relaxing than staring at a screen.
  • Go get some sunlight: The visible light spectrum of sunlight plays a role in the production of a hormone called melatonin, which helps to regulate our biological rhythm and influences our mood.
  • Watch a Movie: take some time to Netflix and chill during some weekends.
  • Sleep: having to sleep for like 7-9 hours a day will help reduce your stress levels and relax your nerves.
  • Close your eyes even for a few minutes. It really does help and is one of the easiest ways to find your calm and re-focus your concentration

The Significance Of Relaxing And De-Stressing

Practising ‘relaxation’ is paramount to managing stress.

When you feel stress, your body responds by releasing hormones that increase your blood pressure and raise your heart rate. This is called the stress response. Relaxation techniques can help your body relax and lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

Relaxation is not only about having peace of mind or enjoying a hobby, it is a process that helps decrease the stress of the mind and body to promote good health. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress. When we relax, the flow of blood increases around our body giving us more energy

The process of relaxation helps to improve focus, self-control, relieves tension and assist in reducing blood pressure, the number one leading cause of stroke among people. When you are well relaxed, it will improve your interpersonal relationship with co-workers, family and friends.

People who are capable of relaxing are more susceptible to bouncing back after difficult periods.

Take some time out to relax and de-stress today...start by taking a deep breath.

Get a yoga specialist to help you relax on www.superprof.ng.

Happy resting!

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Oyin

I am a creative freelancer and fashion designer who loves to travel, explore and meet new people.