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Real relaxation: this is how it works

Relaxation is hard. Many of us find it difficult to switch off because we are under electricity every day. At the same time, we often have the impression that we actually don't have any time to relax. In many cases, this is a misconception: our time belongs to us and despite all obligations, it is we who decide how we use our time and thus get closer to our inner summer or not. Below you will find all sorts of different ideas on how to relax. But before we delve into these suggestions, it's important to understand what relaxation actually is.

What is relaxation?

Strictly speaking, relaxation is a word that means the release of tension. So basically the balance to any kind of stress. Synonyms for this can be: relaxation, rest and regeneration. You may also find another word that better fits your understanding of relaxation. Finally, the most important thing is that you understand that this is not art. If so, then it's more of a craft. That means if you're having a hard time relaxing, you can learn it. It's just a matter of trying things out until you find the right methods for you. Because here too, as with most things, what works for one person does not necessarily have to work for others. Everything is individual, including your path to your center and your inner summer.

Physical activity

Some people can best let go of stress and everyday worries when they really work out. Or maybe a little less or even just a little bit. In any case, physical activity can be a good counterbalance to the stress one has to deal with in life.

To do sports

In general, one can say that every type of sport is suitable for distracting oneself and at the same time doing something good for oneself. Whether lifting weights in the gym, a workout in your own four walls or jogging in the park, you have countless options. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and doesn't have to cost anything. There is e.g. B. Thousands of instructions and tips for all kinds of sports on YouTube.

It is also important that you decide for yourself whether you want to do sports alone or together with someone else. You don't know anyone who wants to do sports? No problem: on the one hand there is z. B. Courses in fitness and yoga studios where you can meet like-minded people. Of course also beginner courses! On the other hand you can B. You can find many groups in your area on Facebook that deal with your topic and whoosh, you have new acquaintances and training partners.

Yoga

At this point we want to emphasize yoga in particular. Not only because of the reputation that this sport enjoys. It's a nice alternative for anyone who wants to exercise but doesn't want to actively engage in typical sports. Yoga is movement and a lot of stretching, but it also has a spiritual component if you want it. You can do yoga with others, but you can also do it alone. There are specialized studios, lots of literature, but also DVDs with training and instructions. And if you are interested in yoga, but fear that it might be too calm, then Pilates is something for you: it has many parallels to yoga, but is much more active.

To stroll

Physical activity does not necessarily have to be sport. Of course, walking is also exercise and super useful and versatile. You can of course do a few laps in the park or in the nearest forest. A stroll through the streets can be just as good. And everything is included in terms of time: from 30 minutes where you are right now to hiking in the mountains. You decide when, where and how much and you can vary to your heart's content and discover your area or distant places. And of course: it costs practically nothing and you can also take your favorite people with you.

Mental activity

If physical activity isn't for you or you're just looking for more ways to relax, then mental exercise is absolutely an exciting path.

Meditation

There are many prejudices against meditation, e.g. B. That would be stupidly sitting down trying to clear your mind and saying "Ohmmmm" repeatedly. However, this has not much to do with meditation.

Above all, meditation has something to do with one topic: concentration. On you, your flow of thoughts and your body. The difference to the above prejudice or cliché is that you don't ignore your thoughts, but rather take on the role of an observer and simply let them flow, acknowledge and accept them while trying to calm down inside.

Meditating on your own isn't for everyone. A great alternative are meditation apps. They contain different instructions for all kinds of situations: are you worried, angry or can't fall asleep? For any inner restlessness and much more, you can use such an app to carry out a meditation. Example: An app that we have had very good experiences with is Headspace . Have fun trying!

Mindfulness

This term is on everyone's lips: mindfulness. Rightly so, because we tend to work through our lives routinely without noticing much. Practiced mindfulness is less a pure relaxation tool and more a basic philosophy that you can interpret in a way that best suits your situation. Basically, it's about trying to do every activity consciously and to take note of everything around it as much as possible so that you can enjoy your life better. Since it is a very broad field, we want to draw your attention to it at this point without going into too much detail. You can find a good introduction to this topic in German at Ein guter Plan.

Read

The classic of all mental activities: reading! It can be anything: expanding knowledge and discovering new things, as well as distraction or escapism in the most positive sense. It doesn't matter whether you're reading a newspaper, a novel or an instruction manual. It has to be fun and then the pull will come all by itself!

Diary

Writing a diary can mean many beautiful things: reflecting on everyday life or general issues, dealing with your own wishes and dreams or analyzing what you are trying to achieve and what comes up. Again, everything is allowed in the form that suits you the most. You can document your daily life in great detail, whether just like that or as a basis for your memoirs one day, or you can write down certain things daily as a mindfulness exercise according to a fixed pattern. (Again, we're happy to recommend Ein guter Plan's offerings.) The latter is also often referred to as journaling. What's the point? First of all, it helps you to put the things that bother you into context and to decide whether and how important they are to you or what they could mean in principle. Plus, journaling can actually do pretty much anything you need it to do. It depends on which goal you approach it with and this results in a suitable format.

In society

You can come to rest alone, but also together with other people and, as with all other topics, in a wide variety of ways.

Meet friends & family

Meeting your friends and family can sometimes be exhausting, but often it's just the opposite: they listen, they give advice, or you can just be silent with them, watch a movie, or fool around at the coffee shop around the corner. Find out which people are best for you at what time and try to establish fixed meeting rituals. And if meetings are not possible, phone calls and video calls are always an option.

Volunteer engagement

Relaxation, in the sense of releasing tension, can also come from helping others. Of course, if you manage to help someone, you keep a positive feeling. A certain inner satisfaction can come from caring for others, from doing what is right and realizing your ideals. Even if, of course, the non-profit nature per se should be the top priority when it comes to this topic, it still makes sense to be aware that any help also has an influence on the helper.

It may sound strange, but a form of relaxation can also come from recognizing that one's problems are actually often luxuries. This usually happens when confronted with the concerns of others. Suddenly the perspective changes and you realize: "In comparison, my worries are puff cakes." Of course, that doesn't mean that you don't actually have real problems just because someone else is worse off. Any internal and external unrest, regardless of the type, is justified, otherwise it would not be there. But what you can change is your attitude, the way you evaluate things that have the potential to cause trouble. And that can help you to go through life more relaxed, but also others, because a relaxed mind can be quite contagious.

Where and how you can help is primarily up to you. There are, especially nowadays, more than enough options. There are countless clubs that can tell you what you can do. When choosing a topic, keep in mind that you can help best if you can personally do something with the relevant activity. Of course, there are also upsetting activities that are not so easy to digest, but they can ultimately help you too. After all, happiness is not unconditional fun, but well-being in the larger context. And happiness starts with being in the privileged position of being able to help.

Laugh

Without wanting to sound clumsy: Laughter is healthy. Humor has tremendous power and can help us break down barriers that seem insurmountable without it. But laughter can also move mountains in everyday life. Aside from the advice to take everything with humor, here are a few less clichéd thoughts: There are situations in life when, at first glance, joy and fits of laughter are unthinkable. It doesn't have to be something bad that is stopping us. It can also simply be about the daily grind that keeps us from laughing all the time. If this is you, find a way to break out of this routine. Whether you watch a comedy, read a funny book, jokes or memes make you smile, it ultimately doesn't matter. However, it is important that you never miss an opportunity to smile and laugh. Because just as you laugh on the outside, you always laugh on the inside and your body notices that.

Enjoy the silence

In order to relax, you often need one thing above all: rest! However, depending on life circumstances, it can be quite rare. There's no getting around consciously creating situations in which you can experience them.

Retreat

What can help is a retreat. This can be your own apartment, a specific room, walking in the woods or something completely different. It would be desirable if you had a place where you flip an inner switch as soon as you enter and know: relaxation begins here and now.

The atmosphere

Relaxation in loud, colorful places with lots of distractions is hardly possible. It's not the location at all, it's the atmosphere. Are there perhaps too many other people there? Is the noise level too high? Is it too light or too dark? Am I in a place where too many memories (positive or negative) are being awakened? In the end, you can only relax if the atmosphere suits you. Whether by candlelight and incense sticks in the bathtub or in broad daylight in a forest clearing: you can only retreat to your inner self if you feel good. And that means that you always have to make sure that you have moments in which you can experience your individual feel-good atmosphere.

Time for yourself

There are certainly people who cannot and/or do not want to be alone. On the other hand, there are also many who love to be alone from time to time. This has an immense advantage: you can do what, how and where you want. Enjoy every second!

Take a deep breath

Our breathing has an incredible impact on how we feel. Most of the time we only notice this when we run out of breath and we are not even aware that breathing is a good barometer for our well-being. Think about how deep and relaxed you breathe when you sleep. Of course, if you are conscious, this is also the case and one of the reasons why breathing plays such a prominent role in yoga. There is a saying "take a deep breath". It's no coincidence. Especially when you are very angry or otherwise emotionally agitated, it helps enormously to pause for a moment and very consciously breathe in and out deeply. This calms the head, but also the rest of the body. But you don't have to wait for the next freak to do that: you can always take a minute, sit back, and just take a deep breath.

Sleep

How, where and how much you sleep has a tremendous impact on your relaxation level. This is certainly nothing new for you. However, please ask yourself whether you are happy with your sleeping situation. And even if it does, it doesn't mean it can't be done better. Is your mattress maybe a few years old? Then it's time for a new one, because even if you think you're lying great, mattresses don't last forever and a new one can bring fresh impetus to your sleeping life. Afternoon naps or 30-minute power naps at any time are also ways to bring new life into slumberland.

Digital break

You hear about the digital detox again and again. If you're someone who needs to be available often and a lot and you find it hard not to be, then that's a sign that you shouldn't be 7 days a week. Consider turning off your phone (or at least your data usage) and putting your laptop far away for the weekend. All the stuff that's waiting is still there on Monday and you can fully concentrate on your well-deserved weekend without the internet preventing you from getting some rest. Your loved ones will also be able to cope if you reply a little later for once. If it were important, they wouldn't write anyway, but call or come by.

Care

Care in all dimensions is always a balm for well-being. If you do something good for your body, your soul always takes a piece of it too.

Spa visit

The easiest way to do something good for your body is to go to a place that specializes in it: a spa. There are many of them with different focuses. But: as practical as this option is, it can also be expensive. It's good that there are spas for all budgets. Just have a look in your area to see if you have something suitable or an alternative, e.g. B. a sauna. And if a spa is too expensive after all, then a relaxing beauty day at home can be a more than adequate substitute.

Massage

Massages are of course available in spas, but also in massage studios. There is a large selection and there is something for every budget. It doesn't always have to be a full body massage. A foot reflexology or facial massage can also work wonders. You can also arrange with your partner or a friend to massage each other. However, this is only recommended if you practice it beforehand so as not to hurt each other. There are courses you can take for that.

Bathtub

The number one retreat for many of us: our own bathtub. Here you can really let off steam with the right light, with music or without, incense sticks or scented oil, suitable bath products, foam or without: everything is possible that lets you relax. The only advice at this point: please do not sleep in the bathtub and/or bathe for too long. 10 to a maximum of 30 minutes is ideal. Your skin will thank you.

Face mask

A face mask can be made at home just as well as on the go in a hotel or visiting friends. The selection is extremely large. We recommend masks that you can use e.g. B. can be applied with a brush on the face and after the exposure time the residue can be massaged into the facial skin to avoid unnecessary waste such as cotton pads and sheet masks. These masks are often called lazy masks because they don't require much removal after use.

Footbath

Our little feet carry us through life every day and therefore deserve a little extra care every now and then. A warm foot bath with peeling and subsequent creaming can be something very, very nice. And don't forget to put your feet up afterwards!

Red light lamp

Infrared lamps are known as a secret weapon for colds or other ailments. The good news is that you don't have to wait for a reason to use it. You can sit in front of the lamp for 10-15 minutes a day and your body will thank you with a sense of well-being. Important: Always wear protective goggles for facial applications!

Vacation

Are you one of those people who can only really relax in the long term when they leave their own four walls? Then it might be time to do just that!

Vacation

You should take a vacation of at least two weeks at a time at least once a year. Any period of time below that is not long enough to really settle down. They always say so succinctly that it takes a week to wind down and a week to mentally adjust to work again. That would mean that the right vacation between the two weeks would be in the range of seconds. It's probably not that bad, but one thing is clear: the more time you give yourself to relax, the better you will feel, but the better you will do your job when you return. So don't be shy and go on a well-deserved vacation, wherever it may take you.

Short trip

Of course, a single long holiday a year is not enough to let your batteries work uninterrupted for so long. Short trips are great for escaping everyday life. It can be a bike ride or a train trip to a city you've always wanted to see. The main thing is to get away from your worries at home and recharge your batteries.

Which, by the way, is always a great idea, especially when you don't know where to go on a short trip: simply visit friends. Has someone moved away and you haven't seen them for a long time? Well, let's go then!

Short & crisp

If there really isn't enough time for relaxation, you can "cheat" something and still give yourself short but relaxing moments.

Let fresh air in

The power of fresh air is often and willingly invoked and we can only agree. Taking a deep breath is an issue anyway, as we alluded to above, but nothing beats a deep breath of fresh air. If it gets too cold for a moment, put on a jacket and don't shy away from refreshment.

Wash your hands

It may sound absurd, but washing your hands is a relaxing activity if you take your time and do it right. Try it out: briefly moisten your hands, soap them up and massage them. If you concentrate on this activity, you will notice how the usual merry-go-round of thoughts slows down. This turns something you usually do on the side into a mindful relaxation exercise. It's no coincidence that we have a great, sustainable hand soap for you.

Do nothing for 2 minutes

A great idea, is it just for 2 minutes to do nothing, absolutely nothing. Everyone has 2 minutes and that helps to clear their heads. And here you have a suitable little helper .

Hints

In some guides and lists there is sometimes advice that we would rather advise you against.

Meal

We all love good food. At the same time, eating should never, under any circumstances, serve as a reward or be seen as a relaxation exercise. Firstly, digestion is not a relaxation for your body, and on the other hand, you should not associate nutrition with such mechanisms for yourself, because this entails the risk that you will develop counterproductive behavior up to and including an eating disorder. It's perfectly okay to treat yourself. It's just not okay to reward yourself with food or to think that good food is more than a good taste experience.

Stress shift

However you try to relax, make sure that your relaxation behaviors actually relax you and don't put additional pressure on you. You will get nothing if you replace one source of stress with another or install another in your life. If you try something designed for relaxation and it doesn't work, just try something else. Don't cling to behaviors that aren't good for you. Always be sensitive and empathetic to yourself, because your stress begins and ends with you, and relaxation even more so.