This past birthday I had the most relaxing day! I was able to wake up when I wanted, my husband took care of the kids. I lounged, enjoyed my favorite foods, had an at home spa day because (quarantine) and just basked in the beauty of tranquility.
Self-care and calm are imperative to our lives. Its vital for us to function properly! But often we neglect doing activities that elicit peace because we believe we don’t have time to do the majestic things we often consider to be self-care like going on vacation or spending a day that the spa!
Relaxation doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag and in many cases you can find relaxing things to do at home that help you cultivate calm in your family, home, and life.
Keep reading for a complete listing of ideas for your next relaxing day at home!
This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You can read our entire affiliate disclosure here.
What is relaxation?
Relaxation is vital for our bodies. Stressful situations are commonplace in our lives. These stressors range from a minor annoyance like a traffic jam or finding your shop closed to serious stressors such as death and illness.
Regardless of the cause, this stress causes our bodies to fill with hormones that are not good for us. The outcome is that our muscles tense up, our breathing increases, and our hearts beat much faster. These outcomes are referred to as “stress-responses”.
Stress responses are typically normal reactions to any threatening situation that help us survive threats. Ideally, these responses should ease when the threat is eliminated. When we encounter different sources of stress routinely, our bodies continue releasing hormones that keep our stress responses activated. This repetitive exposure to stress response causes long-term physical and psychological health problems such as cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and anxiety.
So while we may not be able to avoid every source of stress that affects us, we can only find out healthy responses to these stressors. Invoking a relaxation response is one way of addressing this problem.
Dr. Herbet Benson, a cardiologist at Harvard Medical School, developed this response in the 1970s. He argued the relaxation response countered stress response in our bodies. His report on Stress Management: Approaches for preventing and reducing stress defined relaxation response as a “state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways” and that regular practice of this response “creates a well of calm to dip into as the need arises.”
Dr. Benson identified 6 relaxation techniques to evoke this relaxation response: abdominal breathing, body scan, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, flowing movements, and repetitive prayer. Each technique needs at least 20 minutes every day to enjoy the benefits of the relaxation response, which includes slower breathing, positive moods, and lower blood pressure.
Types of Relaxation Techniques
The following techniques are described by Dr. Benson
1) Abdominal Breathing
This involves taking long and deep breaths slowly. During this breathing exercise, you need to disengage from the many thoughts running across your mind, and just focus on breathing deeply. Dr. Benson claims that this type of breathing is helpful for those struggling with eating disorders because it teaches them to concentrate on their bodies in a much more positive way.
Disclaimer: This technique is not suitable if you have a heart problem or respiratory ailment.
2) Body scan
This technique combines muscle relaxation with long, deep breaths. The first step is to breathe deeply for a few minutes. The next step is to focus on an area of your body and release any tension you may feel there. Repeat for every area of your body that is tense. This technique is beneficial for those who want to enhance their mind-body connection.
This involves taking a comfortable seating position, breathing deeply, and focusing your mind on the present. It requires that we stop thinking about the past or our concerns about the future. This technique is beneficial for people who experience depression, pain, and anxiety.
4) Guided imagery
This technique uses imagery to reinforce positive visions and attitudes about ourselves. It involves thinking of places, scenes, or experiences that soothe your mind. This could be a time when you were swimming on the beach, scuba diving, or sun-basking. It could be a painting or mural that soothes your mind when you see it.
Think of these images and focus on them. You will find your body evoking the relaxation response after a stressful moment.
This technique involves repeating a short prayer, phrase, or memory verse repeatedly while you practice abdominal breathing. For instance, you could recite Psalm 23 while taking slow, deep breaths to help calm your mind and spirit.
6) Flowing movements
This technique incorporates rhythmic breathing with physical aspects of movement and posture that distract your mind from the thoughts racing in your head. The benefit of this technique is that flowing movements enhance your balance and flexibility.
This option may be challenging if you have health problems, experience pain, or have a disabling condition. It is best to confirm with your physician before engaging this technique.
Other Relaxation Techniques
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) adds two more relaxation techniques to this list. These are biofeedback-assisted relaxation and progressive relaxation.
This technique uses electronic devices that measure your body functions and give feedback about how your body responds such as muscle tension. This feedback equips you with the knowledge you need to introduce relaxation techniques that will produce the body changes that you are looking for (such as lowering blood pressure or muscle tension)
This technique is also known as Jacobson relaxation. It combines breathing, guided imagery, and repeated tightening and relaxation of muscle groups.
Benefits of Relaxation Techniques
You can use a combination of techniques, with the guidance of a physician, to enhance your physical and mental health. Here are some benefits:
- Older adults who experience anxiety are more likely to benefit from these techniques.
- Guided imagery, breathing, and progressive muscle stimulation can help in managing your labor pain.
- Applying relaxation techniques as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy can help reduce symptoms of depression.
- Helps lower blood pressure, anxiety, and stress.
- Helps manage chronic insomnia when combined with a consistent sleep schedule and quiet night-time routine.
- When combined with integrative medicine therapies, relaxation techniques can help reduce musculoskeletal pain
Relaxing Activities for Me-time and Overwhelmed Moms
Sometimes as moms we just need a break! In those moments having a self-care kit or planning a self-care day is an excellent way to have a reset of self-care and help tip your scale from chaotic to calm.
Planning your self-care day, whether it is for a couple of hours or an entire day can be difficult without ideas for how to curate it! Try some of these relaxing activities to help you be the best mama you can be.(whether that’s to human littles or doggy littles).
- Going offline – Shut off your computer, television, and any source of noise around you. It will reduce your exposure to stimuli that stresses you and engages your mind. Disengage from technology for a while and practice relaxation techniques.
- Quiet time – Set aside a couple of minutes each day for your quiet time. This is a period when you quiet your mind, listen to your body, and recharge via relaxation techniques.
- Plant vegetables or flowers in your garden. Studies show that getting your hands in dirt improves your moods.
- Plan a girls’ night and go out for a movie. Strong social networks are vital for our social well-being and protect our mental health by reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Studies show that people who have positive relationships with friends and families have higher brainpower as they age, compared to their peers without strong social circles.
- Hang out with your girlfriends and laugh at each others’ jokes and experiences. A good laugh will strengthen those relationships and fill you with endorphins (feel-good hormones).
- Research a new vacation spot and plan your getaway. Then schedule this vacation during your days off or holiday leave. The vacation may be what you need to take a breather from reality and responsibilities.
- Learn something new. Enroll in a new course to learn a new skill such as photography, graphic design, or even painting.
- Recite your favorite Bible verses and statements that you live by. Let these be a reminder of who you are and where you want to be.
- Book a professional massage at a spa. This is a luxurious experience that uses the power of touch to heal and ease our pain, and reduce our stress. Various options include sports massage, couples massage, sleep, and deep-tissue massages.
- Take a drive around your home or neighborhood. No destination is needed. Just time in the car listening to your favorite music or podcast as you drive.
- Prepare a nice treat or snack just for you. It could be a bowl of fruit salad and muesli topped up with Greek yogurt. Or freshly-prepared popcorn with butter or caramel. Yum!
- Take a leisure walk or swim. You can use a floater to just float on the water and bask in the sun. Ensure you’ve enough sunscreen.
- Delegate the morning chores to your spouse and children so you can wake up late.
- Or you can delegate night activities to your family and turn in early.
- Visit a museum or art studio and spend time enjoying the artifacts. Delight in the gifts that God gives to artistes to create masterpieces out of natural and man-made material
- Book a salon visit and have your hair and nails done You can carry a journal and write your thoughts as you wait.
100+ Relaxing Things To Do At Home
Needing additional ideas? Whether you are looking for relaxing activities to do when you are bored, or relaxing things to do at home with your significant other, this list is all inclusive!
Check out this list of 100+ Relaxing things to do at home!!
- Self-manicure and pedicure.
- Create a home-made face mask using ingredients from your kitchen.
- Make your own face scrub using natural ingredients (such as baking soda, salt, or sugar) and give your face some scrubbing.
- Read your favorite hardcopy book on your porch.
- Pick some fresh flowers from your garden and decorate your home.
- Repurpose some old furniture and turn it into something functional
- Re-arrange your kitchen drawers.
- Wash and disinfect the bathroom
- Plant some flowers and plants to beautify your outdoor or indoor space.
- Water the plants in your garden.
- Prune the dead leaves and stems from your household plants and flowers.
- Get some wallpaper and put it up in a room.
- Sort out all your clothes and keep a pile for donation.
- Spring clean the kitchen equipment, walls, and floor if cleaning calms your mind.
- Prepare a bubble bath and play some calming music in the background. Add scented candles for a therapeutic session.
- Take a walk around your garden and practice breathing exercises.
- Sit on your front porch. Observe your surroundings and enjoy the fresh air
- Put on your comfiest clothes and give yourself permission to watch your favorite shows.
- Take a short nap
- Take the day off from cooking and order in some nice lunch or dinner.
- Take supplements for stress. Follow the guidance of your physicians to avoid health complications.
- Apply aromatherapy eye masks to soothe your undereye area
- Rest your head on a neck pillow if you are seated outdoors.
- Engage in some craftwork such as sewing or knitting
- Stimulate your mind through coloring. You can get some adult coloring books from your local bookshop or purchase one online.
- Create a playlist of your favorite funny videos on YouTube and watch them all
- Play your favorite music as you relax in bed or on a comfortable chair
- Take an online dance tutorial and learn your favorite dance or a new dance skill
- You can also have a dance party with your children or friends
- Choose to celebrate your mental health by taking a mental health day.
- Light a candle or use a diffuser to diffuse some aromatherapy oils that make you feel relaxed and happy
- Lift weights at your home gym.
- Try light stretches to make your limbs nimble and flexible.
- Cook yourself a meal you’ve wanted to try out. You could also try cooking a fancy meal for yourself.
- Get your personal time by having the hubby take the children out for a meal or a time of fun.
- Check food channels and write down new recipes that you would like to experiment with.
- Listen to your favorite podcast.
- Play with your children. Laugh, run, and play with them.
- Take a few laps in your home swimming pool.
- Wear something nice and comfortable that looks nice. You do not need a reason to look nice.
- Tidy up your room and get your children to tidy their own rooms.
- Declutter your bedroom. Donate clothes you’ve not worn in 6 months to 1 year and make room for clothes that you wear.
- Declutter your jewelry. Go through what you wear and what you’ve not worn in ages. Gift your child or friend what you rarely wear.
- Tackle a list of ‘pending tasks’ that you have been meaning to do at home and give yourself a 1-hour deadline to accomplish them all.
- Have a picnic by your garden or porch. Bring out all the works- the basket, the sandwiches and juice, drinking water, fruits, some flowers, and a nice mat to sit on.
- Wake up before the sun rises just to watch it. Or spend time in the evening watching the sunset. Marvel at the beautiful colors that you see on the horizon.
- Spoil yourself by baking your favorite dessert and eating it.
- Search online for something that you are keen to learn but have not followed up.
- Wrap yourself in a chunky, knitted blanket as you watch the television.
- Slip into some comfortable, cozy slippers to keep your feet warm, which will keep your body warm and relaxed.
- Wear a sleeping mask before you go to bed.
- Spray your room our house with aromatherapy sprays that contain patchouli and geranium for a soothing environment.
- Put on an aromatic roll-on whose scents uplift your mood.
- Sleep in late and enjoy the added hours of rest.
- Clean up your social media content. Remove friends or unfollow people or organizations that do not match your vision and values. Delete cringe-worthy posts from your feed and unfollow the source. If something does not bring you joy, remove it.
- Wrap yourself in a cashmere robe when indoors to stimulate the feeling of warmth and coziness.
- Soak in a tub of warm water that contains bath salts and essential oils.
- Wear noise-cancellation earphones.
- Massage your body and scalp using safe massaging tools.
- Create a hammock and kick your feet up to rest
- Search for calm apps and subscribe. These apps contain sleep stories and guided meditations.
- Spray your face with a soothing mist that relieves dryness and moisturizes your face,
- De-clutter your email. Unsubscribe to mailing lists and programs that are no longer useful to you.
- Sort your emails by sender and level of importance.
- Create labels on Gmail (such as work, devotion, family, hobby) and move the unread emails to those labels.
- Create your weekly household duties on Google tasks and send a copy to your email.
- Call a friend on video
- Join an online community and share your ideas there.
- Start a blog
- Write an article every week based on your real-life experience or other people’s experiences.
- Create an online course on websites such as Udemy and Coursera where you can teach people looking to gain skills that you already have.
- Begin monetizing your blog to add an extra source of income.
- Volunteer to write product descriptions for your friend’s online store.
- Purchase a massage ball online and use it to relieve body tension caused by stress.
- Window-shop on different websites to see what is new and bookmark it for later.
- Spray your pillow with lavender and other soothing scents.
- Make yourself a fruit cocktail or blend some fruits for a healthy snack.
- Take the time to wash and treat your hair.
- Try a new hairstyle. You can braid your hair or put it up in a beautiful bun.
- Watch makeup tutorials on YouTube.
- De-clutter your makeup drawer. Get rid of expired makeup and empty cases.
- Clean your makeup sponges and brushes.
- Watch online makeup tutorials and try a new look.
- Make a Gratitude list of things and people you are grateful for.
- Make an accomplishment list for the goals you have achieved.
- Allow yourself to dream and write down what you dream about.
- Say ‘NO’ to work during your day off or responsibilities that will get you out of relaxing mode.
- Spend time in prayer. Pray for yourself, your family, friends, colleagues, workplace, community, country, and the world.
- Play worship music or hymns and spend time praising God.
- Play with your pet.
- Take your pet out for a walk.
- Cuddle with loved ones. Even hugging a pillow can release serotonin and make you feel good.
- Mark a day for no television. This will reduce the stimuli that slow you down or causes stress.
- Make some lemonade or infused water to remain hydrated
- Deep breathing practice exercises to lower stress levels and blood pressure.
- Visualize being in a calm place to distract your mind and trick your brain to sleep
- Reduce the body temperature in your bedroom. Helps your body adjust its temperature.
- Hide your clock and just focus on the present
- Take some honey or chocolate for their stress-relieving properties.
- Watch a comedy show (live or recorded) and laugh your heart out. Laughter is wonderful because it improves our moods and promotes self-acceptance and compassion.
- Release pent-up emotions by crying
- Ask a friend for help or advice on something that has been bothering you.
- Give your pet a treat by grooming at home.
- If you are unable to relax after following this list, please make an appointment with the doctor.
Want to build a self-care checklist of your own? Join the Undoubted Grace Tribe and get access to our self-care checklist guide and other self-care, balanced living, and organization resources.