Learning how to relax properly is something I’ve been trying to do my whole life. I have always found it quite difficult to unwind after a stressful day, which does mean that I end up not sleeping properly and worst-case scenario I get a serious case of heartburn and acid reflux. I also often eat very spicy food (actually a little too often if I’m honest!). This was something I was affected by repeatedly throughout my pregnancy, so I was really interested when Rennie got in touch to share this fascinating (and fun) infographic which shows you the most popular ways for people to relax around the world.
I have found that what works for me is a good session of Bikram yoga or a sauna session – extreme heat seems to help me clear my head – but as they’re not something I can just do ad hoc, I wanted to have a go at some of the methods that are used in other parts of the world and see if they could help me too. Let’s call it the Relax with Rennie Challenge: are you in? Make sure you let me know which worked best for you!
France: ENJOYING A GLASS OF WINE AND SIDES
UK: SPENDING TIME OUTSIDE
Not only do I enjoy this method just for the pleasure of being out and about, but it obviously has a ton of benefits. I love how in the UK family weekends are often spent outdoors regardless of the weather, and a big meal is always followed by a nice country walk. When I grew up in Lisbon, this isn’t something we did (I blame the hills!) and I have really like this great (and healthy) British tradition.
INDIA: MEDITATION AND YOGA
I haven’t quite nailed meditation yet, though I have tried a few times, but yoga really is my top choice for full body and mind relaxation. I have a soft spot for hot yoga (Bikram) as it really pushes you both physically and mentally and leaves you feeling as light as a feather afterwards. Luckily for you no pictures of me dripping in sweat – not a pretty sight!
RUSSIA: SWEATING OUT THE STRESS
The heat really helps me relax, which is why I can fully understand why the Russian head for the sauna to let go of that pesky stress. When I was in Copenhagen last month I tried out a Sauna Gus, which is aromatherapy in a sauna – a one hour experience that was honestly the most soothing thing I’ve ever taken part of. Each oil is chosen for its unique benefits, and the heat of the sauna intensifies how your body absorbs it – if you’re ever in Denmark, make sure you try it.
JAPAN: HOT SPRING BATHS
Despite spending a whole month in Japan we sadly didn’t make it to an Onsen – or a Japanese hot spring bath. As Rob and I both have tattoos anyway our choices were limited – but we did try the thermal mud baths in Rotorua in New Zealand and I’ve also been to several other thermal baths around the world. I still dream of an onsen, and hope I can make it back there again one day.
nb: This post has been written in collaboration with Rennie, but as always all heartburn stories are my own!