Relaxation is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the state of being free from tension and anxiety, a period of recreation or rest, especially after a period of work. Christmas holidays – the one time of year that we’re supposed to relax and enjoy ourselves – are for many a time of increased stress: financial obligations, juggling work and kids, short, dark days and long journeys.

In our increasingly 24/7 world of emails, Instagram, long working hours and family commitments, we tend to neglect ourselves. Relaxation has never been more important. It’s a chance to recharge the batteries, step out of our daily lives and experience the things that make us happy. We all have our favourite ways to do this. Here are some of our suggestions, as we slowly move towards Spring:

lose yourself in a book

join a laughter yoga group; laughter releases stress hormones

activities taken in nature reduce stress hormones and help put things into perspective; find a country walk within an hour of where you live and go on a Sunday morning adventure

cooking is a grounding experience that engages all your senses; why not cook something completely new today?

 change your routine, do something you’ve never done before; take yourself out of your comfort zone and see how it feels

the Idlers Academy is a great source of ideas for alternatives to the work ethic and ways to find freedom through the fine art of doing nothing

As the days slowly grow longer, take time out of your normal routine to look after yourself and try something new. Let go of the need to constantly be doing something and return yourself to a state of equilibrium and calmness.