We all feel stress from time to time and the chance to really sit back and think what it is that makes us happy and content is not always easily achievable. We often ignore the fact that what we actually like to do is probably something pretty simple that doesn’t require any money, materials or technology for us to embrace a feeling that we often forget exists.
Learning how to relax is just as important as learning how to work and once you realise where you feel most at home and most in-tune with yourself then finding your way back to this spot may help you to alleviate any feelings of undue pressure and tension.
So, without further ado, I’d like to present five of my most favourite places to relax and if you like the thought of them then feel free to share them yourself as they’re not mine, they’re actually everybody’s.
In the kitchen
There can be few finer places to let you know that everything’s right with the world other than sitting at an old oak table on a cobbled kitchen floor. Sunday papers, a pot of tea and the door to the garden slightly ajar to let the sounds of birds tweeting gently drift into your mind like a musical caress. Throw in a chunk of white bread, roughly cut and covered in butter and marmalade, and you’ve got the ingredients for a good morning’s worth of rest and relaxation – ah, bliss.
In the garden
The old adage that you’re nearer to God in your garden than anywhere else on earth is certainly true in our back yard and bees buzzing from flower to flower help to form the backdrop to time very well spent outdoors. Lay out a towel, set up a deckchair or simply sit, crossed-legged, and watch the insects work and the plants toil as you rest easy with the sun on your back. Finding your own space outside, hidden away from the general hub-bub, is as close to finding heaven that you can hope to achieve.
At the beach
Breaking rollers fall over themselves like white bearded warriors, crashing against the shore before dragging pebbles and stones in a tingle of shingle until nothing is left apart from quickly dispersing froth and foam. No matter what the time of year the beach is a completely awesome place to relax and a veritable feast for the senses. Summer sunshine, winter woollies or spring tides bring numerous chances to revel away from the stresses and strains of the concrete world behind.
By the river
If you get the chance to sit by the edge of a river or brook then listening to the giggling, gurgling of fresh water making its way downstream is simply heavenly. Europe is blessed with some intrinsically serene waterways and from resting on Le Boat in France to having a punt in England, there’s just something about the lapping of the water that’s instantly calming. Picnics, fishing and wading in warm shallows all make up a perfectly restful day down by the river.
In the woods
Twigs breaking, leaves drifting to earth and the faraway call of the cuckoo is all I need to be at one with myself and with nature. Tramping through undergrowth, with a stick pressing deep down on the soft underbelly of the forest beneath my feet, I like to pause and listen before taking a long sniiiiif that allows me to suck in the very essence of peace and tranquillity far from the watchful gaze of my fellow man. The woods, the forest, the glade, any place where I’m encased in foliage and the shards of sunlight occasional break through a lush green canopy high above.