Tips and exercises to help you relax.
Exploring relaxation can help you look after yourself when you're feeling stressed or worried. Relaxation might not make what you are stressed or worried about go away. But it can give you a mental break from these feelings and help you refocus.
There are lots of relaxation exercises out there. Many can be done in a short time with no equipment. Have a look at the tips and ideas below to see how relaxation can fit into your daily life.
Don't worry if some ideas don't work for you. Just try the ones that do.
Watch our animation for 8 relaxation tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Relaxation doesn't have to take up lots of your time. Just stepping away from something stressful for a few minutes or taking time away from your normal routines and thoughts can give you enough space and distance to feel calmer.
Relaxation doesn't have to mean sitting still. Gentle exercise can help you relax too.
See our pages on physical activity and mental health for more tips.
Learning to breathe more deeply can help you feel a lot calmer. It takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.
You can find more details about this exercise on the NHS website.
Getting in touch with your artistic side can help you feel more calm and relaxed.
See our page on relaxation exercises for more ideas on how to use creative activities to relax.
Spending time outside and in green spaces can be great for your physical and mental health.
Even if you can't physically get away, your imagination can transport you to somewhere you feel calm.
Music can relax you, connect you to your emotions and distract you from worrying thoughts.
Technology can be great for helping you feel connected, but if you're using it a lot then it can contribute to making you feel busy and stressed. Taking a break can help you relax, even if it is only short.
Making space in your life for relaxation is only one part of managing your mental health.
Our pages on coping with stress and anxiety have more suggestions for ways to help yourself. We also have tips to help if you experience panic attacks and dissociation. And our page of useful contacts for relaxation lists some other organisations who can help.
If you're finding things very hard right now and the tips on this page don't feel possible, it is ok to ask for help. See our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem for guidance on talking to your doctor about options for support and treatment.
For more support and suggestions, if you're:
This information was published in November 2021. We will revise it in 2024.
References and bibliography available on request.
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