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6 ideas for learning relaxation

Comfort & Wellness

Faced with the daily stresses, it's important to allow yourself moments of relaxation. Read our advice on learning how best to relax

Learn to disconnect to relax

Don't feel guilty, it's essential to allow time to yourself. During the day, unwind for a few minutes, relax in a break room in the office, choose a relaxation chair, or just going out for a breath of fresh air. Unplugging also means separating your private and professional life. Before leaving, make sure all those urgent tasks are finished and, if not, make a list of things to do later and leave it at the workplace. To get more good time for yourself, don't get drowned in devices : that means stop picking up your phone and shutdown the computer. Besides, looking at screens affects your sleep. Prefer restful activities like reading and drawing, or cooking.

Make zen spaces for better relaxation

It is recommended to organise a space dedicated to relaxation at home. This soothing place of relaxation can resemble a garden corner, a terrasse zen, a veranda or a quiet room. This cosy corner shouldn't be the bedroom where you sleep. Sleeping and relaxing are not synonymous. Prefer a calm place, with no passage. Decorate this space with plants and install reclining chairs or deckchair so you can enjoy it at any time of day.

Relax using breathing exercises

Breathing is a reflex we're not conscious of. However, concentrating on the flow of air helps relaxation. Any breathing exercise can help reduce tension and relieve stress and worry, thanks to the extra oxygen. Deep breathing stimulates the responsiveness of the nervous system. Belly breathing, which actors practise before going on stage for example, is recommended to clear stress. You inhale by letting your stomach inflate and exhale by sucking it in. Alternating breathing is one of the basics of yoga. With your eyes closed, breath in through both nostrils, then block your right nostril and exhale through the left nostril, and then alternate.

Relax with meditation

It is quite possible to meditate alone at home. 10 minutes a day is enough to feel the first beneficial effects on stress levels. You can meditate in the morning to start the day feeling good; in the evening to get rid of accumulated tension. Always try to meditate in the same place, preferably in a quiet room, sitting facing a wall. Before entering into meditation, you can start with a moment of relaxation. With your eyes closed, breath calmly through the nose. Relax your stomach, let it inflate with breathing in and breath out the used air.

Then choose a posture. You can choose the Buddha position of the zen tradition : sitting on a firm round cushion, cross your legs keeping your knees on the floor, the left foot placed on the right thigh, and right foot on left thigh, with the soles of your feet turned upwards. Half close your eyes and stare at a spot one metre in front of you. Let your thoughts come and go. Try to think of nothing. You may find it easier to blank off by concentrating on your breath like a musical rhythm. Your mind will then be clear of the day's worries.

Practice a physical activity to learn how to relax

In general, practicing a sport helps relaxation. Coming from India, yoga is a discipline that takes account of all dimensions of being, both physical and mental, like a connection between mind and body. Thanks to the breathing postures, this activity helps the body let go. Walking is also highly recommended, especially walking outdoors in nature. Invented by the Japanese in the 1980s, « shinrin-yoku », that is « forest bathing » is even recommended for reducing blood pressure and reducing stress as well as nervous fatigue. In France, forest bathing, meaning « treatment by trees », is taking root: you just have to stroll in a forest and let nature sooth you.

Catnaps : perfect for relaxation

A good nap of ten to twenty minutes after eating is beneficial for many reasons. Not only does it let you catch up on lost sleep, but it also helps improve mental and physiological performance. Sleeping occasionally during the day helps stimulate concentration and memory, and provides better stress management. For optimal relaxation, start by choosing a calm place. Best to lie down or take a semi-recumbent position, like in a relax armchair which offers the ideal relaxation position, « zero gravity »