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5 tips to relax for free

Posted 19 June 2016

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Here are the five best ways to relax for free.

We all seem to be so busy nowadays with so much to do! Work is one thing, but then you’ve got the housework when you get home, making tea, helping the kids with homework, buying that birthday card for Auntie Jan and then what about that email you still haven’t answered? Or finally getting round to updating your CV? Phew! The list just goes on. 

We all deserve to have something in our lives that provides a welcome relief from the rush of a normal day. Something you do that signals to your body and mind that it’s time to chill out and just… relax. 

If you’re feeling the strain of modern life, make sure you read on. It doesn’t matter if you’re short on cash at the moment – our ideas won’t cost you a thing. 

1. Swap multi-tasking for meditation

Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit and focus on one thing for a while? And not because you have to, but because you want to. Why not swap multi-tasking for meditation and see whether it makes a difference to how relaxed you feel day to day?

Meditation is all about developing your mind so you have greater clarity, understanding, concentration and of course calmness in your life. Many people choose to focus on their breathing, or you can meditate on a certain idea, like kindness or acceptance, or even something as simple as a colour that you like. 

Just breathing quietly for a few minutes each day should make a difference to how calm and in control you feel.

2. Walk off the work

It’s long been known that exercise is a very effective way of improving your mental well-being, including feeling less anxious. 

This is because when you exercise your brain releases chemicals that make you feel better than you did before, namely, dopamine and endorphins. 

Of course how you choose to exercise is completely up to you. There are so many options to choose from, but at Debt Advisory Centre we’re big fans of the simple walk. It doesn’t require any instruction and it’s easy to fit around your normal routine. 

See whether you can make your walk even more relaxing by exploring a scenic, green route close to where you live. You can search for walks in your area on the Ramblers website

3. Be a relaxed reader

There’s nothing quite like losing yourself in a great story. And it’s a very enjoyable way to give yourself a break from anything that might be causing you stress. 

Whether you’re into action, romance or mysteries, there are amazing worlds and great characters out there just waiting to be discovered. 

Reading is also good for your brain – just like exercise – and can improve your powers of visualization, imagination and empathy. 

Joining your local library is of course free, and you could also ask around friends and family to see if they’ve any books they can recommend and lend to you. 

4. Beat anxiety with art

We’re willing to bet that when you were a child no one had to tell you to draw or make a sandcastle – you just did it because it was fun. Why not try and get back into that frame of mind and use art as therapy and relaxation?

You don’t have to be Leonardo Da Vinci to benefit from an artistic hobby. As long as you’re having fun and creating something you like, go for it!

And you don’t have to spend a lot on art supplies. Something as simple as a plain piece of paper and pencil, which you probably already have around the house, can provide a surprisingly good distraction from a hectic routine. 

5. Work through it with writing

Writing is a great antidote to a busy and demanding lifestyle. Expressing how you feel and what’s happening in your life with words, is proven to help reduce stress and improve your mood, just have a look at this research on the benefits of writing down your life goals. If there is something in particular that’s worrying you, see whether writing about it alleviates some of the tension and worry. 

Or see whether you benefit from the escapism of fiction writing. Don’t worry about how ‘good’ your writing is, the point is to create an outlet for stress and room for your imagination to flourish. 

If you’re on a tight budget you should find that you’re even more relaxed having a go at one of these ideas because it won’t cost you anything extra. Have a go at one or more of these past-times to see if they make a difference to how calm and relaxed you feel on daily basis, and keep checking back in with the blog for many more money saving ideas. 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.