How to Relax Your Body and Recharge
Are you feeling burned out? Whether it’s an intense period of work or you’ve been dealing with stressful personal matters, sometimes you start feeling overworked, overtired, and overstressed, which can take a toll on your mental health.
When you’re feeling like you can’t catch your breath, it’s time to relax, recharge and refresh.
Here are some tips for learning how to relax your mind and body.
Feelings, Symptoms, Causes, and Acceptance
Why are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re burned out or in need of some time off. It doesn’t have to be about work; you might need time off from household responsibilities or other aspects of your life that have become overwhelming.
You owe it to yourself to focus on learning how to relax your mind and body in order to improve your stress management.
After all, you might not do yourself any favors by trying to struggle through the stress and exhaustion. Instead of helping you get past the challenges, it might simply make them even more difficult, hampering your ability to focus and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What are some signs that you need to relax and recharge?
- Lack of motivation
- Inability to focus
- Trouble falling asleep
- Noticing unhealthy habits
- Struggling to enjoy yourself
You can’t lose sight of how incredibly important it is to take care of your physical and mental health.
How to Relax Your Body
When you realize you need to slow down, follow these tips to relax your mind and body.
Relax Your Muscles
Through progressive muscle relaxation, in which you tense and release one muscle group at a time, you can try to relieve some of the stress that causes uncomfortable muscle tension.
But you can also do more general stretches and movements to help relieve muscle tension. Stand up and rotate your arms in wide arm circles, focusing on your breathing. Or do sets of 10–15 calf raises, where you lift yourself onto your toes and then drop back onto flat feet.
These low-intensity movements may help you loosen up your muscles and feel refreshed.
Take a Bath
When you’re constantly on the go and feel like you need time for yourself to recharge, try taking a soothing bath. Choose warm water or cold, depending on your preference, and your favorite body scrub.
Let yourself indulge in a long, relaxing bath. Bring a cup of tea, and play some soothing music. You can add fragrant bath salts to further promote relaxation.
You can also enjoy time using a foot spa, letting the warm water and bubbles soothe your tired feet. Dip your feet into a foot bath full of warm water and let the bubbles gently massage your sore feet.
Enjoy a Massage at Home
If you’re feeling tension in your muscles and progressive muscle relaxation isn’t working for you, try giving yourself an at-home massage. You can use a foam roller to gently work out the tension in your muscles.
Or you can use a handheld massager to give yourself a deep tissue massage to feel recharged. Different massage heads deliver slightly different types of relief, so make sure you’re using the right heads for each muscle group.
If you’d prefer to sit and enjoy a massage without maneuvering a handheld massager yourself, try a back massager or neck massager. Sit in a comfortable chair and focus on relaxing your mind while you enjoy the massage.
Take a Nap
Sometimes, what your body might really need is rest. If you’re feeling tired or unable to focus, try setting your alarm for a 15- to 30-minute nap.
That short length will allow your body to pass through the first and most shallow one or two stages of the sleep cycle but will wake you up before you enter the deep sleep phases.
Perform Low-Intensity Activities
Walking your dog, riding your bike around your neighborhood, and hiking along beautiful nature trails can all help you get away from stress. These relaxing, refreshing activities also take you outside, where you can let the sunshine and sounds of nature recharge you.
For some people, walking out in the world and interacting with other people help them feel recharged. Other people prefer to do solitary activities to relax. You might consider putting together a puzzle or working on simple, relaxing crafts.
If the reason you’re stressed is work, try to find an enjoyable activity that’s unrelated to your work. If you spend most of the day typing on a computer, hands-on activities could help you feel recharged.
How to Relax Your Mind
Sometimes, relaxing your mind is more difficult than relaxing your body. Even on a day off, it can be hard to shake off the stress and negative thoughts of the past days to feel calm and avoid thinking about upcoming responsibilities.
Fortunately, there are some tricks you can use to help yourself relax so that, when you return to your work and responsibilities, you feel recharged.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Breathing is an automatic behavior—something you rarely think about doing. When you do focus on your breathing, it can have some significant benefits for your overall health, including reduction of stress hormones.
For example, deep breathing and meditation may help manage stress. Deep breathing forces you to slow down and consider what your body is feeling.
The simplest deep breathing exercise involves three steps:
- Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose, focusing on filling your diaphragm—expanding your stomach.
- Then, exhale through your mouth, feeling your stomach contract and pushing all of the air out.
- Each time you exhale, release the tension in your muscles, letting your body relax completely.1
This type of belly breathing is best performed while you’re lying on your back.
Aromatherapy can have a powerful influence on your mood and mindset. Research shows that aromatherapy using lavender and rosemary aromas may help people feel more relaxed and improve alertness.
Another study found that lavender essential oil produces stress-relieving effects. You may also find soothing relief in other scents that you like.
Using a diffuser, you can quickly fill the air in your home with soothing essential oils that help promote relaxation and stress relief. It only takes a few drops of essential oil in a diffuser to spread the scent throughout your relaxation space.
A room filled with the refreshing fragrance of essential oils is the perfect place to make yourself comfortable and practice deep breathing.
A Quiet Relaxation Space
When you’re trying to relieve stress and recharge, it can be helpful to have a quiet place for yourself where you can feel comfortable, confident, and relaxed.
How you set up your relaxation space is up to you and depends on your preferences. In general, try to make it a quiet area to help yourself focus on relaxation.
Do Not Disturb
Speaking of creating a space where outside mental stress and responsibilities can’t disturb you, consider enabling the Do Not Disturb feature on your mobile phone. Most phones will still allow important calls to come through, but you can limit the stress levels caused by numerous notifications, task alerts, emails, and other potentially overwhelming distractions.
On the other hand, you might be tempted to relax by watching videos on your computer or browsing social media. But consider whether that really allows your mind to fully relax. If the email app or dozens of browser tabs continue to nag at your mind while you’re watching soothing videos, consider finding a relaxing activity that doesn’t involve devices that you also use for work.
If you still don’t feel comfortable muting your phone and missing potentially important notifications, try an alternative solution: schedule one or more blocks of time on your work calendar for relaxing and recharging. Schedule them like meetings, where coworkers can see that you’re busy and know ahead of time that you’ll be away from your phone.
Enjoy a Hobby That’s Just for You
To allow yourself to recharge might take nothing more than doing something different than what you do every day for work or as part of your other responsibilities. If you feel burned out by a constant stream of the same work or the same routine, a change could help spark inspiration or motivation that helps you feel recharged.
That temporary change could help you return to your work with fresh energy and new ideas. Crafts, cooking, painting—even creatively rearranging the decor in your home can be a refreshingly different, hands-on activity.
Reading may also help promote relaxation. Make yourself comfortable and choose a book that lets you escape into the story for a few hours. Reading before bed may also be a less distracting replacement for scrolling through social media feeds.
Relax and Recharge to Avoid Burnout
It’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling and acknowledge when you need to take time off to rest. If you think you’re approaching burnout, try the tips above to prevent negative side effects and help yourself recharge.
Explore aromatherapy diffusers and other relaxation devices to make them parts of your self-care routine.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
How Long Is an Ideal Nap?, Sleep.org: https://www.sleep.org/how-long-to-nap/
Benefits of Deep Breathing, Livestrong: https://www.livestrong.com/article/92264-benefits-deep-breathing/
Breathing for Relaxation, Duke University: https://hr.duke.edu/wellness/mental-health-stress/success-over-stress/relaxation-techniques/breathing-relaxation
Aromatherapy Positively Affects Mood, EEG Patterns of Alertness and Math Computations, NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10069621/
Anxiolytic-Like Effect of Lavender Essential Oil Inhalation in Mice: Participation of Serotonergic but Not GABAA/Benzodiazepine Neurotransmission, NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23524167/