For a lot of people these days, finding ways to relax without paying for it is a challenge. Relaxing has to be watching a movie, going on a vacation or pampering the body at a spa. But these things cost money, and end up stressing you out especially if you’re on a tight budget.
And yet you, like everyone else, need a respite from the daily grind – to infuse your mind and body with renewed energy, hence making you more efficient and productive in your endeavors. Relaxation lowers the blood pressure and minimizes the release of stress hormones, sparing you from stress-induced illnesses, loss of concentration and bad moods.
There are many ways to unwind and loosen up without shelling out a big amount of cash. They are just at your fingertips and a bit of creativity and resourcefulness are all that is needed to find them. We’ve made it easy for you by listing down free or inexpensive ways to relax in the morning before rushing off to work, during your lunch break, and in the evening to end a busy day and get a good night’s sleep.
Here are nine ways to relax without paying a cent:
Meditate. Wake up earlier than usual to include a 20-minute meditation while the world is not yet as busy and noisy. Sit straight, breathe deeply in and out, say your mantra and push all worldly thoughts away from your mind. Introspection makes you more mindful; you learn to accept the day’s challenges in a calm and rational manner and you become more empathetic towards other people, making you an overall better person.
Do some quick stretches. Stretching the body will take only five or so minutes. But the benefits last throughout the day. Breathe deeply while doing them. Rotate the head to exercise the neck. Stretch the arms as far forward as you can and hold for a while to release the upper back and upper arm muscles. Stretch arms upwards to elongate the spine and ribcage. Do squats and leg stretches to wake up the pelvis, thighs and lower legs. You can skip the gym and relax without paying for it.
Have a good breakfast. Make breakfast a healthy meal of whole grains, fruits or vegetables and an egg for protein. If you’re a coffee drinker, have a cup to wake you up. Although coffee is a stimulant, it also triggers the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasurable feelings and that’s a good start for a day.
Take a walk. Being cooped up in your office all morning and breathing stale air can be energy depleting. During your lunch break, get out and stroll around the area. Seeing other things besides the four walls can recharge you. People-watch. Try the new deli across the street. Stretch those legs. You’ll go back to the office ready to tackle your job anew.
Check out local museums. Go into museums, galleries and art shows that have free entrance and, even better, a free talk. Soak up some culture and learn about art. Train your eye to recognize good art pieces. Or then again, trust your instinct. A painting or sculpture that touches your heart or holds you captive must be good.
Visit open markets and fairs. These seasonal events may yield something that’s new for you. It’s also in bazaars where you’ll find one-of-a-kind items that make for unique gifts and decors. So maybe it’s alright to spend a little. If not, just wander around the craft and flower stalls, and exotic food outlets to feed your senses with new smells, sights and sounds.
In the evening
Unplug. Give your gadgets a break and, in the process, rest your mind from 24/7 connectedness. Emails and Instagram can wait. Get rid of the need-to-know-now! addiction that’s so prevalent nowadays.
Tickle your funny bone. Watch a comedy and keep the giggles coming. Stand-up comics, late night shows, videos of the antics of innocent kids and animals always trigger the laughs. Laughter has benefits for you, too. It boosts the immune system, keeping off heart illnesses. It puts you in a good mood and makes you see people and situations in a different and lighter perspective.
Read. Reading brings you to another world and makes you forget about the problems you had to deal with in the office and at home. You lose yourself in the domain of the book and enhance your creativity through imagination taken from the printed word. Reading stops the brain from overthinking because the author does it for you. It brings down your stress level, making it a healthy and cost-free relaxation technique.
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