Relaxing for more of us involves a glass of wine – or two – in front of the telly.
Or maybe a few beers at the pub, unloading with our mates.
Whichever way you cut it, the need for booze to unwind isn’t going to cut it now it’s Dry January.
Here are a few simple tried and tested remedies that will help you to kick back, relax and chill the hell out – without reaching for a bottle…
1. Turn on the tunes
Newsflash: listening to music makes us feel good: studies have shown that dopamine (a chemical found naturally in the body which makes us happy) is released when we’re listening to our favourite music.
Music also has the power to transform our environment, so let go of those negative work thoughts and allow yourself to get lost in the ambience.
2. Eat yourself happy
If, like me, you can’t be arsed cooking a decent meal because it’s too much hassle and then there’s the mess of tidying up, batch-make your food at the weekend.
Make enough for the week and stick it in the freezer so you can just heat it in the oven or microwave when you get in. Yeah I know this sounds boring, but it really is worth it to have a nutritious, hot, home-cooked meal inside your belly.
So label your tupperware and get yourself organised.
3. Bring back the bath
Taking a long indulgent bath is one of the most relaxing and regenerating things you can do.
Wash the day’s stresses away, wash off the smell from the hideous aftershave your colleague was wearing and sit back, re-hydrate your body, take some deep breaths and let your mind wander…
Apply oil or cream afterwards to lock in the moisture, and for the scent to linger as the evening draws in.
4. It’s all about the onesie
Ok, so you might not have owned any PJ’s since you were a kid but maybe now is the time to invest in some. Putting on clean, soft and cosy lounge-wear is up there with getting in fresh bedding – simply magnificent. If we change out of our restrictive day-wear we allow our bodies to breathe and then our mind starts associating those particular items of clothing with relaxation.
If you can’t quite bring yourself to put on that onesie, compromise with joggers. But go on, no-one will see.
5. Take a trip down memory lane
Anyone remember those oil burners from the nineties? Well the thing is, not only were they crucial for impressing your mates with just how cool and alternative you were – they actually worked.
Essential oils are powerful natural medicines and adding just a couple of drops to one of these bad boys will not only fill your room with a beautiful fragrance, it will lift your spirits and help you to unwind…
The modern day version of this is the ‘reed diffuser’ although oil burners are still kicking about of course. Go for balancing and calming fragrances such as geranium or lavender – the more you like the smell, the more effective it will be.
6. The dark is rising
Bright lights can be a source of stress and anxiety, so turn them down. Dimming the lights or using lamps or candles will let your mind and body know that it’s night-time and help you to relax.
7. Hot bevvy
I personally love nothing more than a strong, sweet brew when I get in. Some folks aren’t into it though because of the caffeine, but hot chocolate or that old favourite Horlicks is an incredibly soothing and comforting drink to settle down with.
Alternatively, there are some great herbal teas on the market now, which let’s face it, as long as we accept that they’re not tea and they never will be, well, they’re quite nice.
You’re clean, you smell good, you’re warm, cosy and comfy, your mind is full of happy smiling thoughts and your day at work is as much a distant memory as the referendum…
Watch a film/box set/ read a book/ call a friend / write a diary/ make plans for the weekend/ play cards/ trim your beard/ do a crossword/start a blog…
The world (well, your front room) is your oyster.