Life's busy, and although we're often told to relax, it can be hard to find a way to really unwind without blowing the mortgage on a two-week retreat in a Himalayan sanctuary. Fear not. We've got some inspiration to get your chillaxing underway.
Why not relax on-trend with a new wave of 'active meditation', where repetition and focus is everything – think colouring in or knitting. If you like more traditional meditation, download one of the many free meditation apps or look for free online videos and audio recordings to get more out of your meditation sessions.
Prefer face to face? Sahaja Yoga Meditation Australia offers free meditation classes at over 100 different locations across Australia. Getting into the body can help you get out of your mind. Try an free online yoga session or sign up for a free pass to give yoga classes in your local area a go.
Stay close to home and make the most of what local councils put on for free. Think Tai Chi or meditation in the park, free music, farmers markets and art shows. Check your local council website or social media page and find out what's on.
The local park is the perfect place to bring a bunch of mates, a frisbee and a picnic lunch (or perhaps a good book and your pooch if that’s more your style).
Or, go tech-free and really get away from the daily grind. When the weather’s right, get to the closest beach or go hiking in the hills. While any type of exercise will produce feel-good endorphins, researchers at the University of Essex in England have found that exercising in nature has added benefits, particularly for mental health, with improvements in self-esteem and mood after just five minutes of ‘green’ exercise.
Whether you try an online Zumba sesh or just crank up the radio in your living room, dancing is beneficial to your mental wellbeing. Why? Because busting a move releases mood-improving chemicals, and studies show that dance can decrease anxiety and boost mood more than other physical endeavours.
Listening to music is also a great way to unwind. Whether it's classical or hard rock, listening to tunes you love releases dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter that makes you feel happiness, excitement, and joy. Sing along loudly to clear your mind and regulate your breathing.
Whether you’re a singleton or part of a large and rowdy family, create one special spot in your house to be your go-to when you need some calm. Even a nice chair by a window that’s kept clean and clutter-free can do the job. If you dream of an evening in a warm bath, make the bathroom a cleaning priority and keep bath salts stocked. A luxury spa retreat will be just a few steps away whenever you need it.
Devote more time to an activity you really enjoy as a great way to unwind and improve your mental wellbeing. Not sure where to start? Make trying things part of the fun. Cooking can be a great creative outlet and there's no shortage of classes on offer, although working from a recipe book is the cheaper option.
Yes, reading counts as a hobby, as does gardening, swimming, or walking.
You don't need to hand over your credit card to unwind - just find what works best for you.