6 Simple Ways To Relax In 15 Minutes and Under

Struggle to switch off? Wellbeing Expert Suzy Reading shares her best (and easiest) techniques…

6 Simple Ways To Relax In 15 Minutes and Under

“Modern life is full of stimulation, information and choices,” says Author and Author & Psychologist, Suzy Reading. “We need regular intervals in our day to rest our senses to avoid overload and burnout.” This, says Suzy, also paves the way for a good night’s sleep. “Stress has a cumulative effect and we need a commitment to activities that prime the mind and body for rest.“ Read on for Suzy’s super simple relaxation techniques…

1. Get an early morning nature hit

“A morning walk in nature’s beauty offers a dose of sunlight to boost our circadian rhythms,” Suzy says. “This helps us feel more alert during the day and drowsier when it’s time to sleep at night. Research shows that ‘green movement’ or exercise can dial down anxious thinking and alleviate depression.”

Time: 5-15 minutes

2. Breathe with your hands

Got a stressful day ahead? Just 60 seconds of calm, relaxed breathing can boost the healthy functioning of your nervous system. “Elongating the exhalation and encouraging diaphragmatic breathing moves the nervous system into ‘rest and digest’ mode, the antidote to stress,” explains Suzy.

How? Place your palms upwards and as you inhale, extend your fingertips out wide, stretching the skin of your palms. Allow a tiny pause and then as you exhale, make a gentle fist, allowing another little pause here. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Time: 1 minute

3. Do some green gazing

Beat the mid afternoon slump without resorting to a sugar or caffeine fix. ”Watching a moving canopy of trees in the distance where we can enjoy ‘panoramic gaze’ is the opposite to narrow focal vision, which we engage in when reading screens”, Suzy says. If you haven’t got a forest view, look skywards instead. “Look for the horizon or open spaces, or just dilate your gaze to take in the peripheries, which deeply soothes the nervous system.”

Time: 2 minutes

4. Legs up the wall

Instead of the post work slump on the sofa, try the ‘legs up the wall’ pose, which helps to improve circulation and relieve tension. “It’s deeply restorative because it redistributes blood flow from the legs to the vital organs.”

Time: 5 minutes

5. Move into ‘being’ mode

“Prior to bed we need to disentangle our minds and bodies from the busyness of our day,” Suzy says. She suggests trying journaling to organise your thoughts and express your feelings. Not your bag? Try swapping late night Netflix binges for a relaxing music playlist to get you in the chill zone.

Time: 15 minutes

6. Create a sleep friendly environment

“An hour before bedtime, spritz some calming scent, dim the lights and pop on soothing PJs. Blackout blinds and a super comfortable eye mask also help to create an environment to support your sleep health.” Not ready for a bedtime phone ban? Try swapping scrolling on social media for a sleep meditation. The Headspace app has guided sleep meditations, relaxing sleep music and ‘sleepcasts’. Find out more here.

Time: 15 minutes

Head over to Suzy's Instagram - @suzyreading - for even more inspo and advice.