Words: Anthony Gilét

I used to believe that there was nothing more stressful than trying to relax. Because, for me, it was true. I’d wait all day to get into bed and watch TV and then when I did, I’d take 40 minutes deciding what to watch, and then end up in some crippled position still scrolling through Instagram.

But over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gradually got to a place where being fully relaxed is achievable. now some of these things might seem obvious, as they were definitely things I’d heard of before, but I’m going to try explain them in a way that I understood.

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I hate the idea of journaling, (and I’m a writer) but it’s not so much about sitting down and writing about your day, as it is figuring out where you’re going in life; greatness and progress are easier to achieve when you have a direction. After I started, I felt like it was a nice round up to my day and I was one step closer to my goals. I recommend a manifestation journal, like this one, and using it for 10 minutes at night.

Burn essential oils

There’s different benefits from different essential oils especially when it comes to balancing your chakras. (You can get them off Amazon for cheap!)

If you want to get into this more, I read up on the effects of chakra imbalances, saw which ones I needed to work on and then ordered the essential oils for that chakra (again a quick Google will tell you).

Then get a candle holder, pour a few drops of your chosen oil in with a little water, sit back and take some deep breaths. Do this while meditating for ensured relaxation.

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If you don’t meditate you’re probably sick of hearing about it, but there’s a reason everyone talks about it; it’s not just a fad. It can take a good week to get into it but once you see the benefits you’ll see why it’s so popular.

(You don’t have to sit cross-legged, or make “mmm” sounds for this to work).

Use a guided meditation app like Calm or Headspace, and do this at the end of the day. I always did mine at the start because I felt like I just wouldn’t do it otherwise, but at night with the lights low is perfect because you get to crawl into bed afterwards!

Take a bath

I was never a bath gay. I just didn’t get them. But now I make time to have one 2-3 times a week. Recent research showed they can be key to living longer (probably because they help you relax!). Have them in the evening, before your meditation, and drop some lavender or geranium in them. I use a ‘relaxation’ bubble bath, light scented candles, and whack on a slow-tempo playlist. (Feel free to use my Spotify playlist here for some ideas or forever!)

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Practice smartphone mindfulness

The more time you spend on your phone, the harder it will be to tear yourself away at night. Personally, I have most of my notifications off, so I feel the urge to engage with them. But my top tip is going for a walk, with my phone in my back pocket and music on. Every time I reach for my phone, I remind myself that this is my break from technology. Soak in the air, architecture and natural surroundings instead. Then gradually introduce this to the rest of your life; pausing before grabbing your phone… how important is what you’re about to do?

Quit smoking

Whether it’s weed or cigarettes, and no matter how much you believe it’s helping you to relax, it’s the opposite. Weed only temporarily takes your mind off your current stresses, and while it may send you to sleep quicker, the quality of sleep you receive is notably worse.