We Asked, You Answered: What’s Your Favorite Way to Relax and Unwind?

Summer is often a time when people get away to relax. But even if vacation isn’t on the agenda, association pros still need to take a mental break. We asked readers to share some activities that help them destress.

In today’s high-stress environment, it’s important to take time to yourself to relax. Those who responded to our reader survey had a variety of ways to let go and unwind. While all their methods helped calm the mind, the activities varied greatly: Some enjoyed physical activities like skating and horseback riding, while others went for more cerebral pursuits like gaming and painting.

Read on to see if any of these relaxation methods spur you to try them out—or even just serve as a reminder to take some time for yourself.

Tameka Brown

Member Engagement Manager, Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine

I’ve started roller skating again. So, once a week, I lace up and roll free for at least an hour. I literally feel the cares of life and the world roll off my shoulders (where I carry most of my stress) and enjoy the present moment of good music with good people.

Brian Reddoch

Director of Operations, Merchant Acquirers’ Committee

Video games. I find that a fun activity helps me build a partition between work life and home life. I don’t have a commute home, so a quick diversion into a video game before family dinner helps me to relax, transition, and complete some tasks without “real” responsibilities.

Madhuri Carson

Business Development Manager, Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals

My favorite daily relaxation ritual is 10 minutes of yoga (Yoga by Kassandra on YouTube) each morning. What I love about it is that it’s not a huge investment of time, but it helps to set my intention for the day. On really stressful days, I try to get in another 10 minutes right before going to bed. I started this ritual about a year and a half ago and am completely addicted.

Celia T. Besore, FASAE, CAE

CEO, The Monitoring Association

Painting abstracts is one of my favorite relaxing activities since it challenges the logical and data-driven side of my brain and takes me away from my everyday thinking. Being able to “see” a theme or picture in an abstract also stretches my imagination and helps me become more creative.

Theresa DeConinck

Director of Business Development, U.S. Market, Kenes Group

Riding my horse on the weekend is absolutely the best way to destress. Why? Because when riding, you have to completely focus on the horse. You must let go of every other thought so you and your horse can connect. Horses are very intuitive. The rider’s spinal cord sits perpendicular with the horse’s long spinal cord, thus they pick up on your mood and emotions, and adjust their behavior. To have a fun and safe ride through the trails, you need to focus on them. It is just so relaxing and fun, especially as my husband and I tend to run the horses through the trails. Life is always better in the saddle.

Russ Porter

Chief Financial Officer, Institute of Management Accountants

Exercise is my go-to [activity]. When I really need to unwind, that’s hiking on some local trails or doing some slow kayaking on a nearby lake.

Robyn Brooks

Vice President, The Chlorine Institute

I enjoy gardening and walking through gardens. I am inside most days at work, so it’s nice to get out and just be in my body, as opposed to the knowledge work I do.

(mixetto/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!