Five Free Ways to Unwind

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.

#1: Live in the moment

Why not relax on-trend, with new wave of 'active meditation' where repetition and focus is everything – think colouring in or knitting. The latest is origimai. All you just need some paper and YouTube and you'll be creating flowers, crane and bookmarks, in a mindful and relaxing way, before you know it. If you like more traditional meditation, download one of many free meditation apps or look for free online videos and audio recordings and 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 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.

#2: Go local

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 your style). Go techno-free and really get away from the daily grind. When the weather’s right, get to the closest beach, or hiking in the hills. While any type of exercise will produce feel-good endorphins, researchers at the University of Essex in England have found exercising in nature has added benefits, particularly for mental health – with improvements in self-esteem and mood after just five minutes of ‘green’ exercise.

#3: Dance it out

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 mood, 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.

#4: Create an oasis at home

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 at all times. A luxury spa retreat will be just a few steps away whenever you need it.

#5: Find a hobby

Whether its sport, a club, devote more time to an activity you really enjoy, as a great way to unwind and create mental well-being. Not sure where to start? Make trying things out part of the fun. Cooking can be a great creative outlet and there are no shortage of classes on offer, although working from a recipe book is the cheaper option. Yes, reading counts as hobby, as does gardening, river paddling or just walking. Whatever makes your soul sing, without having to hand over a credit card,  make it your thing and enjoy.

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