Forced relaxation: tactics that stop you from stressing

And again, a new, stone-age old phenomenon has acquired international interest. It’s Dutch and it’s called ‘niksen’, which basically means ‘doing nothing’. The beauty of it lies in the use of it as a verb. This makes it a legitimate activity, like relaxing is. 

Especially after a very busy period, I often find it very hard to immediately enjoy my free time and to relax again. That is often quite annoying. I can’t imagine you guys have never had this problem, so I decided to share my tips here on how you can force yourself to relax.

1. An organized life is an organised mind

The first thing I do after a busy period is to clean the house. I am the kind of person that has a room that reflects my state of mind. Therefore, being busy in the mind usually also means a messy room. However, it works both ways, so cleaning and organising my room can also clean and organise my thoughts.

I have already written something about it in the article Stress: the good, the bad and the ugly. The summary is that on the one hand it cleans my thoughts, but the physical activity of it also stimulates my happy hormones. A more specific way to organize is to make lists. I always have plans for the times that I am not or less busy with work and school. By making a priority list of those things, I don’t feel as much ‘lost’ as I would feel otherwise. This way I am creating purpose for my time again.

2. Exercise

To take that physical activity up a notch, exercising is a great way to start relaxing. By letting the muscles work extra hard, it’s easier to let them relax completely afterwards. Also, it takes my mind off my worries. It stimulates dopamine in the brain, which is good against stress.

I prefer to either go to the gym for an intense session or relax more by windsurfing or dancing. It depends on my motivation beforehand (since I need less motivation for the latter two options). And here are some tips if you’re trying to find a sport that suits you!

3. Hobby

Do something that really floats your boat. This is what exercise does for me as well, but also other hobbies can do this. This way, you will relax without even noticing it until you stop. This can also mean having drinks with friends, reading a good book or watching a movie you had been meaning to watch for a long time anyways. I found that it only works if you really lose yourself in the activity. When you still worry about grades you need to get back etc., you can’t relax.

4. Listening to music or to podcasts

Another thing that immediately helps relaxing me is to listen to good music (live or just at home) or to listen to podcasts. Especially during a cleaning session or during fitness, it can really help to relax my mind. When listening to anything, no other thoughts can enter my mind. Some podcasts can also feel like a productive use of my time, since knowing the classic stories or hearing career advice is important to me. In an ideal world, I would love to read more psychology or marketing books, but because of a lack of time, podcasts are easier since they make it possible to multitask.

5. Meditation

Especially when I am mentally stressed or overwhelmed, meditation can be a lifesaver to me. It did take a lot of practice to be able to always focus on it and I still need to regularly practice to keep me capable. But when I do, it can really relax me like nothing else. Also, it often tells me what to do when I feel torn between two choices.

This really helps in stressful times to prevent too much choice stress. What I love about it, is that this is one of the only things that you also can do at work for 5 minutes and it already feels effective. I have written an article about my favourite meditation exercises, so you can try them out to!

6. Spa-night

Spa’s are expensive, but you can do it yourself as well! Take a bath or a long, hot shower (including a hair mask and a nice scrub), continue with a facial mask and a foot bath (possibly with some foot soak). Nothing is as relaxing to me as this! Do your nails, get your body lotions out and maybe even give your face and head a little massage. Taking extra care of yourself some days can really help you to relax your body and then, your mind will follow. Drink a nice hot tea or a lovely smoothie on the side for the extra fancy feeling and watch your favourite comedy during, since laughter is always relaxing.

Thank you so much for reading this article and please tell me what tips you have to relax!  If you’d like to see more, please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter or subscribe and get a free e-book on saving money.

Lots of love,


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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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