Every day, you wake up and do your usual morning routine. You take public transportation or get on a car, then head off to work. After eight to 10 hours of work, the day comes to a close and you head out. What you do next is completely up to you, but in most circumstances, all you want to do is to find a good place to relax in.
With all the hustle and bustle from the city or downtown, people want to relax at the end of the day. However, it’s very hard for people to relax in public places. After all, these places are accessible to everyone and everyone can do as they please. On the other hand – a lot of people will say that city plazas and central parks are the best places to relax in public.
In spite of all the activity and commotion in public areas, there are ways to get rest and relaxation there. There are various ways on how people can relax in public places. Here are some of the techniques and their effectiveness in helping you relax in public.
How To Relax In Public Places
1. Reading a book (or any other literature/material)
This technique is the most obvious way to relax in public places. Reading veers your attention away from your surroundings and toward the book that you’re reading, especially when the book is very interesting and enjoyable. With that, grab yourself a novel or an e-book that you enjoy. If you don’t have a book, a magazine or a newspaper will do.
The effectiveness of this technique may vary depending on the reading material, whether it is a book or a newspaper. It also depends on the topic and content of the reading material, as some genres are more enjoyable to read than others. Lastly, the effectiveness depends on the mood of the reader — a stressed-out person is less likely to relax from reading a book, since he or she won’t be able to focus much on what he or she is reading.
2. Listening to music
Depending on the type of songs that you listen to, music can help you relax in public places — or it can make you more stressed or energetic. Slow music genres such as jazz, blues, and instrumental are the best tunes to listen to if you want to relax and calm down.
In most cases, listening to music is effective as long as you are in a comfortable mood. It’s even more effective for relaxing during your commute, as music keeps you occupied while the train or bus moves along.
3. Playing a single-player (card) game
Some games are best for single players who simply want to relax in public places. For example, the card game solitaire is a good way to wind down after a day of work or study. Pyramids is another single-player game for relaxation.
If card games are not your thing, there are other games to try out such as tangram puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. Playing them in a public park or a coffee shop is a relaxing way to pass the time while drinking a cup of coffee or tea.
Playing a single-player game is not that effective compared to reading and listening to music, though. The reason for this is that it requires a place to sit or settle down — it isn’t ideal to play a game (so you can relax) in a restaurant or, say, a food court.
4. Playing a two-player (board) game
What is better than playing a game by yourself? It’s playing a game with someone else. Some games get you to relax in public places while at the same time, enjoy the company of another person playing with you. Board games such as chess, dominoes, and snakes and ladders make anyone relax regardless of where they are.
However, this technique is even less effective than playing a single-player game. One reason is that the other person may likely try to start a conversation, which, in some cases, can disrupt your time and efforts to relax in public. Another reason is that it requires the cooperation of the other player, which may or may not work depending on your companion’s mood and willingness to play.
5. Spending time in pubs
There are various pubs and low-key bars where you can relax. A little amount of alcohol wouldn’t hurt, as it can get you to wind down and enjoy the activities inside a pub, whether it be billiards or videoke or listening to a live band perform.
The effectiveness of this tip depends on some factors.
- First of all, you should be careful about your consumption of alcohol as too much will make your health deteriorate (and getting too drunk will only cause to be come even more stressed; not to mention that you will have to deal with a huge hangover the next day).
- The other factor is the activity inside the pub or bar, as some may have activities such as karaoke nights which may be very distracting and won’t provide a relaxing ambiance at all.
6. Taking a leisurely stroll
If you don’t feel like doing anything, you can simply take a leisurely walk around the area. Public parks, plazas, and even downtown areas become more interesting and you appreciate them a lot more as you walk along the streets.
The effectiveness of this technique may vary depending on the surroundings. If the area is full of honking vehicles, then it won’t be effective to walk around for relaxation. If the area is quiet and peaceful, then it will be effective as a way to relax in public places.
7. Striking up a (light) conversation with a friend
While some conversations are too monotonous or exhausting, it’s actually relaxing to talk to a close friend or your significant other. You don’t even have to think too hard in order to come up with a conversation starter. It can be any random topic such as food, a piece of celebrity news, a book you’re currently reading, or a movie you’ve just watched. As long as the other person shows interest and begins to pick up the conversation, talking to another person can be relaxing and free your mind from your worries.
The effectiveness of this method is a mixed bag.
Some topics can rub the other person the wrong way, and it can lead to stress if you start arguing or disagreeing with each other. On the other hand, a silent response isn’t any better, because it doesn’t make you any more relaxed — rather, you become anxious or perplexed. With this method, what’s important is to talk about an appropriate and relevant topic.
Meditation is not the most ideal relaxation technique to perform in all public places, but parks and plazas are the best places to do so. Meditation is a way to relax in public places because it gets you to cancel out all the surrounding noises and distractions around and within the area. Meditating also gets you to focus on yourself.
Since meditation requires an appropriate public place to perform it in, it may be not as effective as the other methods mentioned above. Also, meditation allows only a moderate level of noise and distractions in order to get you to relax. If the place is too noisy or distracting, the method will not work.
9. Spending time in places of worship
Places of worship such as churches, convents, and mosques are very quiet and peaceful and therefore, ideal for relaxation. In these places of worship, you get to practice your religious traditions while at the same time wind down and relax.
The effectiveness of this technique is almost certain, with the exception that places of worship are full of activity on special days. For example, churches are full of people on Sundays and holy days. Also, the place of worship may not be accessible on certain times, as churches and mosques are normally not open 24/7, or if a special event such as a wedding is being held there.
10. Performing muscle relaxation exercises
You can also try some muscle relaxation exercises. Here are the steps to performing these relaxation exercises:
- Close your eyes, keep them shut, and then open your eyes again.
- Extend your arms and stretch them out in front of you for a few seconds.
- Clench your fists tightly, then unclench them.
- Bend your elbow and hold the position for 5 seconds, then do the same with the other elbow.
- Shrug your shoulders — hold them up for a while then let go.
- Inhale deeply, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and then exhale.
- Press your buttocks together for a few seconds.
- Press your legs tightly together for a few seconds.
- Stretch one leg and keep it suspended and off the ground for a few seconds. Do the same with the other leg.
- Perform all these steps at least two or three times, or until you’re fully relaxed.
As to the effectiveness of these exercises, they work very well since the movements ease the tension from your body. Plus, you can do these relaxation exercises wherever you are, even when you are in a sitting position.
These are only some of the recommended techniques to relax in public places. Feel free to try out other relaxing methods that you can come up with (and share those ideas in the comments below – how do you relax in public places?).
Photo: Ed Yourdon