How to relax: It should be easy right

How do you relax?

Together, in this post, we’re going to look at how to relax. But first I’m inviting you to join me on a little journey.

It started on a train

I’d been out for the day visiting family, and I was now sitting back on the train enjoying the journey home. It felt good to do nothing. As I sat, letting my mind wander, I reflected on how nice it was to be able to relax, without something pushing for my attention. There always seems as if there’s something to do.

WP’s prompt from 9th September, 2023 asks “how do you relax?”. Sadly, from this experience over the summer, I don’t take time to relax and fear I’m not alone. We’re all so busy in our lives, rushing around, constantly doing “stuff”.

Why its important to relax?

When we’re continuously on the go we can put ourselves under stress which is bad for our health. Taking time to relax, to look after our mental health and wellbeing are important.

We hear a lot about self-care, but whatever label we use, taking time out to do things that help us relax will benefit us enormously. We should feel happier, calmer, be more productive and have a better focus. There are some simple things we can do to relax and have better wellbeing. For example, employees who take a proper lunch break, away from their desks, have more energy, are more productive and effective afterwards, compared with their colleagues who don’t stop for lunch. (Harvard Business Review)

How to relax

Image shows woman lying on a massage table receiving a hot stone massage. She also has flowers around her
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

There are many ways to relax. Being individuals we will find that we all prefer different activities when we’re relaxing. Another factor contributing to how we relax will depend on circumstances and time. Whether you have 15 minutes to walk or a day to visit a spa for some pampering, you will still benefit.

As I’ve said, we can and do relax in different ways. Some people relax by being active – exercise, practice sports. Others might prefer social activities – spending time with family and friends. While yet others might prefer quiet time – meditating, sitting reading, writing or just letting their minds wander. Its important when choosing relaxation activities, we find the ones that are going to work for us personally. If we don’t tailor our choices to our personality, we won’t relax. You may even add to your stress levels which would be counterproductive.

How do I relax?

Returning to the prompt question, how I relax, seems to vary depending on what I need. I’m sure that will be the same for everyone.

I like to go for walks, taking in my surroundings and relax in nature. This is good if a day has been busy or there is a lot going on in my head. I need the calm, slower pace to relax and unwind, to silence the day.

image shows the museum. Its a red sandstone building built around 1902
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow
Photo by Brenda

I find visiting and exploring towns and cities, castles and museums etc energising. It is so much fun. They can be exhausting, but the fun and high from the visit also means I’m relaxing. Maybe the important thing is to break your routine to escape the normal stressors of daily life to unwind and recharge.

Unfortunately, sometimes my health gets the better of me. Either a CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) flare up or migraine attacks and while I need to relax, I certainly wouldn’t have the energy to go exploring. Even a walk will be beyond my abilities on the worst days. How do I relax when confined to the house? I think one of the key things is to not let the confinement itself be a source of stress. How I relax in these situations really comes down to how bad I feel. Relaxation could take the form of reading and/or writing. Brain fog is a problem, but it seems less severe when writing, even chatting electronically, rather than using the spoken word. I don’t understand it; just accept it, adapt and move forward. When the CFS is really bad my relaxation activities might involve yoga and meditation, followed by catch up tv. This post gives an insight into my life with CFS.

The Future

Having reviewed why we need to relax, some of the ways to unwind, together with what I do, its important to consider the future. Thinking back to my totally relaxed train journey, and my reflections at the time, I promised myself to not let go of the tranquility. Have I succeeded so far? I think there is certainly a risk of letting slip. Last Sunday was my birthday but I spent the day marking. I know, however, that this weekend is a holiday, with a day off for me on Monday. I decided it was better to work last weekend in order to have the time to celebrate this weekend. Particularly tomorrow which is planned as a day of coffees, lunch and a museum visit for the Mary Quant Exhibition.

I also found, as this weekend approached, I was planning how I could spend Sunday working. Common sense and focus on self-care took over, the work tools have been packed away until Tuesday. Sunday has now been a day of writing and blogging.

It appears we know what relaxation activities are – we can recognise them. However, are you like me and find it difficult to take the time to relax and have fun?

I’d love to read your views in the comments section and if you’ve not yet signed up to my blog, then please join me today.


  1. Happy Belated Birthday, once again Brenda! Enjoy your special day of fun tomorrow. Ah…Mary Quant. I didn’t know she’d passed away…what a talent. I hope you’ll share photos from your visit to the exhibition. xo! 🥰

  2. A belated happy birthday Brenda. You’re so right that taking time to relax is very important. It increases our enjoyment of life and our productivity too.

  3. Brenda, some of us Martha-types have a very hard time relaxing! There’s a book with a title I could have written – “When I Relax, I Feel Guilty.” I’m not quite like that anymore, but now when I relax, I fall asleep, which I guess is about as relaxed as you can get. 😉
    As you say, the definition of “relaxing” is different for different people, and as for exercising, socializing, writing, or pursuing another activity, I think of those more as “passions” than “relaxing.” Either way, it’s what we need to do to stay sane and happy.
    I heard a pastor say that in order to discover what your passion is, ask yourself, “What was I doing the last time I lost all track of time?” For me that would be writing. 🙂 Sounds like it would be for you, too, am I right?

    • I know what you mean about activities not being traditional ways to relax. I guess I was thinking more about how to de-stress, and I know they can work. As you said, though, it’s about the effect on our health and wellbeing. As for your pastor’s quote, I can get lost in work too, but that would usually be when I’m writing/designing classes or materials, so guess yes to writing. But I also love exploring new things, whether that’s research for a post or work, or visiting a historic site etc. There is so much to enjoy in life. We need to make time for those passions – you’re spot on. I’m sorry I don’t know what to call you?

  4. I needed to read this last night but fell asleep 😬

    It seems many of us are chasing that “relaxing time” but not willing to sacrifice… yet it shouldn’t be seen as a such as it is meant to be for us… earned… deserved… or simply just.
    Shows how busy we are prioritizing everything else but ourselves.

    Enjoyed reading this, Brenda.
    and enjoy your belated birthday celebrations. Have a wonderful day 🤍🤗🌹

  5. You mention walking within nature. It actually heals. The book by Florence Williams ‘The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative’ is one I am slowly getting through alongside other reads. You’ve just given five minutes of relaxation too in the reading period of your blog! So you’re a stress relief contributor too. All the best Brenda.

  6. This is such a great post, Brenda! At times, we get so embroiled in our hectic lifestyles with deadlines to meet and work-life pressure that we actually forget to relax! Yet relaxing for just 5 minutes periodically by stepping away from what is causing our stress levels to rise, can give us the energy we need to tackle our workload or the problem we are facing. Thanks for sharing and Happy Belated Birthday to you 🙂 Aiva xx

    • Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re right, even taking 5 minutes to change focus, do some stretches, go for a walk, make a cup of tea … they all work. The reality is we keep pushing … just 5 mins more and I’ll get this done etc, and we keep going.

  7. Happy belated birthday Brenda! I agree that we can find plenty of different ways to relax, depending on our personality and needs. After two burnouts I decided to take more time for myself and now I walk a lot, practice yoga and Pilates, go out with friends, and whatever comes to my mind. I like your being on the train, and feeling good about doing nothing with your mind wandering. I find relaxing traveling by train, actually it the only means of transport that I found relaxing 😌

  8. Being stressed about ways to relax certainly doesn’t make it easier to relax. I find when I try too hard it all backfires. I don’t know that there’s any one perfect way and sometimes nothing really works given what life can toss at us. I just try to find quiet and breathe if it’s a mind racing bedtime thing. During the day I walk or find a task to turn off my brain for a bit.

    • Don’t you just love the way the brain/mind creeps up after a busy day. Feeling sleepy, head hits the pillow and it says ‘ah ha, I’ve got you now’ and you’re wide awake 🥴

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  10. Happy belated birthday, Brenda!

    Down time is crucial…I need those periods of quiet to rest and recover from ‘peopling’ all week. I’m pretty easy with what this means to me….alone time that isn’t spoken for with chores or ‘have tos’. This looks like a variety of things to me, including kayaking, hiking, crocheting while watching a movie or listening to an audio book, reading, or writing. 💞

      • I do…its just finding the time to get to them. My default is my comfy chair and a book…..I HAVE to carve some time out for that each day to keep everything else in life together 💞

      • Carving out and dedicating that time is where I fall down. I allow work to encroach or take over all my time, pushing everything else out. I need to be more disciplined. I know it leads to a better me

  11. Yeah, I think that the main problem when it comes to taking time to relax, is that our system is set up such that in order to survive, people are forced to work long hours and for low pay. And because we live in a global capitalist system which prioritizes profits and advocates fierce competition, companies strive for maximum productivity, which results in heavier workloads for average workers, thus taking up most of their time.

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