Simple Ways To De-Stress & Unwind, According To The Viva Team

It's Mental Health Awareness Week, so we're sharing our favourite ways to take care

Spending time in nature is an excellent way to relax. Photo / Supplied

Walking the dog is a great daily prompt to get out, have some fresh air and clear the head. It’s not just Franke who thinks something is missing if morning walkies have to be put on hold. Watching an animal enjoy itself is a good reminder to soak up the sun (or the rain) and also a chance to think about what's next and return ready to get into it.
Janetta Mackay, beauty editor

The best way to unwind is to get out into nature. I like going for runs or jumping into the ocean for a swim, luckily we live five minutes away from the sea so when I get the chance after a run I'll have a swim before or after work. Especially great over summer.
Dan Ahwa, fashion editor

READ: Auckland's Most Fetching Dog Walks

There’s nothing like seeing a live gig and getting lost in the musical abilities of others onstage (that I sadly do not possess) to shake away stress and invite a fresh perspective on things. That and giving my dog a good squeeze after a long day.
— Sarah Downs, writer

I find that exercise is really helpful not only physically, but mentally. I used to dread going to the gym or for a walk (I'm seriously the laziest person ever) but if I'm anxious, my anxiety tends to manifest physically so exercising really helps to banish some of that pent-up nervous energy. It's also a good chance to get up and out of my office chair, focus on something other than a screen and get the blood moving around my body.
Rosie Herdman, writer & fashion assistant

I like to set aside an hour or so each weekend to pop on a podcast and cook a nice meal. Eating during the week is usually more about sustenance and less about enjoyment, so taking the time to create something delicious can feel quite luxurious. There's something about the process of peeling, chopping and using my hands that I find relaxing and makes a nice change from tapping away at a computer all week. Plus you get to eat the fruits of your labour at the end. Win! 
Saru Krishnasamy, digital editor

READ: Beautiful Bush Walks To Do

When I'm stressed out, I leave my phone at home, go find a quiet place in nature (a park, the beach, my backyard), sit down and do nothing. After a minute or two I get antsy, like I need to get up and do something. But if I stay past this, I start to notice all the little details in the scenery around me that I'd normally overlook, and listen to the sounds of birds or waves or leaves rustling, and feel the sun and wind on my face. My mind has time to relax and drift and problem-solve. Everything feels a lot more manageable after half an hour of slowing down to a complete stop.
Melinda Williams, at home editor

I meditate every morning for between five and ten minutes, I don't use a meditation app, I just time it on my phone. I went to Buddist Meditation classes to start myself off and then just slotted it into my everyday routine (usually after coffee so that I don't fall back asleep again). Much better for your mental health than getting FOMO by scrolling Instagram first thing every day. My mother is a GP but also a Heart Math practitioner (this is a practice that is very similar to meditation, you breathe and feel the feeling of happiness without focusing on a particular experience, just the feeling). She encouraged me to meditate for many years, but I only took her advice last year and I wish I had started earlier. Bonus: meditation is completely free and anyone can do it!
Rebecca Zephyr Thomas, photographer

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