A young Black woman leans back on a chair with her eyes closed and her arms resting behind her head in relaxation; by Poike via Canva.
Health + Wellness

Ways To Focus On Relaxation Throughout Your Day

Finding time to fully relax can be problematic if we’re busy, overwhelmed or feel as if we don’t need/deserve this type of self-care. Make no mistake; being able to unwind — even if it’s for a handful of minutes at a time — can be an effective way to avoid burnout or show ourselves a little self-compassion.

All of us need moments throughout the day that help hit the reset button or provide time to refresh our mind and emotions. We should be intentional about creating an ethos of health and wellness for ourselves that isn’t based on productivity or a perception of worthiness — rest does not need to be earned.

Stress, anxiety, depression or just the day-to-day bustle of a busy life can make it difficult to concentrate on relaxation techniques that support feeling calm and more at ease. Generating opportunities to compose ourselves or soothe any physical/mental strain can seem like a pointless task; most notably if we buy into the idea that personal care can be set aside — periodically, external factors will make that necessary, but it catches up with us eventually. In my experience, the time to focus on all this is precisely when we think we can keep going without it. Scheduling relaxation activities as part of a broader self-care routine isn’t selfish or superfluous; we should utilize them even when we’re doing well.

Foreground Text: Ways To Focus On Relaxation Throughout Your Day; a Health & Wellness post on Transatlantic Notes. Background Image: A young Black woman leans back on a chair with her eyes closed and her arms resting behind her head in relaxation; by Poike via Canva.

Doing something that alleviates or softens emotional tiredness, physical and mental tension or general stresses and pressure is essential to our well-being; it’s how we cultivate and encourage healthy habits within our daily lives. The intended goal of being able to care for ourselves isn’t about implementing something perfectly; every so often we have to eke out whatever self-support we can muster — it’s about finding what works for our own unique needs. Showing up for ourselves will look different each day; it’s worth having a range of relaxation techniques and activities to make use of.

Ideally, we would all possess the capacity to regularly prioritize the time and space required for restorative self-care; however, the reality for many of us is that this isn’t always possible. Grabbing moments whenever we can (sometimes haphazardly) is about as good as it gets — and that’s okay, it’s more beneficial than forgoing it altogether. If you’re looking for 10 minute relaxation activities that can boost your body, lessen tension or manifest some inner peace, try out these ideas …

  • sit and listen to some Brown noise (preferably through headphones); the lower and deeper tones within this sound spectrum have been stripped of high-frequency notes and are smoother compared to those found in white or pink noise — YouTube has some great examples
  • have some fun focusing on your breathing by blowing large bubbles — use store bought bubble bottles that come with a wand to enjoy a few minutes of deep breathing (in through your nose, out through your mouth)
  • practice the box breathing technique; inhale through your nose for a slow count of 4 seconds — concentrate on how your lungs fill with air — then hold your breath for 4 more seconds before exhaling slowly through your mouth (also for a count of 4 seconds)
  • take time out of your day to sit quietly and drink some caffeine-free green tea; a natural source of theanine (an amino acid) that helps soothe the effects of stress
  • spend some time sitting/reading next to an aromatherapy diffuser using lavender essential oil; known for many benefits, including relaxation and anxiety fighting properties, lavender is the queen of calm
A white ebook/tablet computer sits on a white bed next to some reading glasses; photo by Spencer via Unsplash.
photo via Spencer/Unsplash
  • take a 5-10 minute break to read or listen to some music
  • focus on self-pleasure; masturbating relieves stress and promotes a feeling of well-being — if safe and appropriate to do so, it can be a great way to relax
  • treat yourself to a quick foot rolling massage that not only loosens and relaxes the muscles and ligaments in your arch but also works as a general stress reliever; try it out by sitting on the edge of a chair and placing a tennis ball under your toes then rolling it to your heel — apply pressure and repeat as necessary
  • allow your mind to find some order by organizing/sorting one small area of your room or home (pick a drawer or cupboard, for example) — decluttering not only makes things look tidy, it can improve your mood by helping to combat stress and anxiety
  • discover a brain calming repetitive activity that’s as easy to do as it is gratifying — knitting, crochet, adult colouring books, paint by numbers, puzzles, walking, etc.; anything that can focus attention without requiring too much mental acuity

Relaxation techniques and activities that help combat stress often lower blood pressure and curtail the production of stress hormones; leading to a potential decrease in occurrences of fatigue, anger and/or frustration while generally improving focus and mood. Providing an opportunity to feel more at ease is never a waste of our time or effort; it’s worth establishing this as a priority each day (if we can) or at least allowing it to become a focus during times of increased exhaustion and/or worry. 

To ensure that incorporating relaxation into our self-care routine is successful, we should prioritise identifying what specifically works for us. Accessibility requirements, timing or even personal preference mean that facilitating pockets of tranquility can be as individual as we are. Equally important is advocating for ourselves when we need support finding time/space to unwind; if applicable and appropriate, asking someone to take over our responsibilities for 10 minutes so we can focus on de-stressing is valid and necessary.  

Tension, tiredness, stress or anxiety builds up when we don’t adequately address it; leaving us stuck in a cycle of feeling more burdened and rundown the longer it continues. This is your reminder to dedicate a few minutes each day (or as much as you need) to practice some relaxation techniques.

What is your favourite, go-to relaxation activity? Have you taken time today to rest, refresh and relax?


Further Info:

National Relaxation Day (U.S.) August 15th, 2022 – National Today

36 thoughts on “Ways To Focus On Relaxation Throughout Your Day”

  1. My default is stress, so I’ve been trying some of these! I’m a big fan of deep breathing and reading/listening to things.

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  2. I am so glad I came across this post. July was so busy and I found myself forgetting to relax and ground myself throughout the day. Thank you for sharing these easy and practical tips. I’m going to get my aromatherapy diffuser right now!

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  3. These are some really great suggestions to help stop and relax during your day. I think this is so important especially if you are having a busy day. It gives you an opportunity to centre yourself and then you can refresh before starting back at work or other tasks. A nap is always a good suggestion for me to help me relax fully. Thank you for sharing your suggestions.

    Lauren x

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  4. I’m so with you on the fact that rest doesn’t need to be earned, it’s mental that some people think it does! There are some really great ideas here, and I know I definitely need to take the time out to do more stretches. They’re so beneficial, yet I barely do it xx

    Hannah |

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  5. These are some good practical tips for daily relaxation. I laughed when I read your tip on blowing bubbles a breathing technique. I can only imagine myself blowing bubbles at work. LOL. I definitely need some relaxation from time to time at work.

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  6. Great post with great ideas. If we treat rest as a reward to be earned instead of something we need, burnout will continue to be a problem for so many.

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  7. I love these ideas and the thought of taking as little as 10 minutes to relax. It’s so hard to remember that it doesn’t have to be earned and that it doesn’t have to take a long time. Even a short break can do wonders for stress!

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  8. These are all great ways to care for ourselves throughout the day even when we don’t have a ton of time. Thank you for highlighting that rest doesn’t need to be earned! I’ve struggled with this for most of my life. I thought that in order to deserve and fully enjoy time to myself, I had to overexert my mind/body and commit to everything under the sun. The result? I got burnt out and my mental health suffered a lot – especially in high school. I’ve been prioritizing self-care more, even on my good days when I think it’s not necessary. Thank you for the reminder to care for ourselves daily! x

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    1. I am so glad this was useful — and you’re so right, if we don’t allow for rest then all we do is pretty much guarantee exhaustion/burnout. It is really good to read that you’re focusing more on self-care (definitely do it even when things are good/well) as this is a great way to check in with ourselves and support our overall health. Thanks so much for reading!

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  9. Amazing tips, I’ve been trying out ways on how I can relief my stress levels which eventually helps to regulate my anger and frustration. I’m gonna try to do the brown noise and see what that is about.

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