You may be thinking, “Relax with tech? No way! Tech stresses me out!” True, tech can be stressful, but there are so many ways tech can help you relax, why not give tech a chance to de-stress your life?
1. Radio: Instead of turning on your favorite station for your drive home or your walk around the block, try tuning in to relaxing music, such as the Spa Channel on Sirius (Channel 73) or New Age on Pandora. Prefer classical music? No problem, tune in to those stations instead. Too often we mindlessly tune in to our traditional favorites without considering how our mood should affect what we listen to. If you are able to listen to music while you work, listening to relaxing music may make your day a little less stressful.
2. iPod: If you have some relaxing music on your iPod, make a Relaxation playlist for those times you need to de-stress. Listening to music this way is especially relaxing as the headphones or earbuds can block out other noises. Listening to your Relaxation playlist on a plane can do double duty of relaxing you and insulating you from the annoying passenger sitting next to you. Don’t have any relaxing music on your iPod? Check out iTunes for the many albums titled “Relaxation.”
3. Koi Pond: One of my favorite apps is Koi Pond, a $0.99 app in the iTunes App Store. You can either just relax to the soothing sounds while you watch the koi swim in your pond or make the app interactive by tapping on the screen. You can choose your fish, the color of your pond, the amount of sunlight, and the sounds. Choose from wind, rain, bird, frog and cricket sounds. You can even set a sleep timer for the sounds so you can fall asleep listening to the app. This app doubles as entertainment for younger kids who will love feeding the fish, tapping on the screen for cool effects and rearranging the lily pads. For Android users, check out Koi Pond wall paper, free in the Android Market.
4. Easy Relax: This is another app in the iTunes App Store that will help take the stress away. The app has different themes, such as Hawaiian Vacation, Rainy Day, Blossoms from India and others that offer ambient sounds to relax you. The app has a sleep timer you can set to lull you to sleep. The app is $0.99, but a free version is also available with limited functions.
5. Sleep Timer: Whether it’s the sleep timer on your clock radio or your iPod, try falling asleep to relaxing music. If you think the music will be distracting or irritating, just try it for ten minutes with your Relaxation playlist to see if it relaxes you. I sometimes use the sleep timer on my iPhone with my audiobooks or with podcasts to keep my mind away from worries.
6. The Kindle Chronicles: This is a podcast by Len Edgerly about the Kindle which comes out every Friday. You can listen to it here: thekindlechronicles.com. The podcast is fascinating and full of useful information, tech tips and in depth interviews about the Kindle and the ebook revolution. I find Len’s voice incredibly soothing and his persona so peaceful that I know the podcast will relax me and put me to sleep. Since I also find the podcast a helpful resource, I always listen to it again the next day to be sure I don’t miss any helpful information. I find this podcast to be much better than a sleeping pill.
7. Games: When I first discovered that my Palm Pilot had a backlight, I found the perfect antidote to restless nights. If I wake up in the middle of the night, instead of stressing about what tomorrow holds, I grab my iPhone and play a game. This takes my mind off of any worries I have and I nod back off to sleep quickly. But the game has to meet certain criteria: untimed, easy to put down and pick back up again, and not too much thought. I try to avoid games with bright colors as well. I find games such as Sudoku, Mahjong, solitaire and word games are perfect. If a game gets my heart beating faster, then that is not a relaxing game (no Angry Birds in the middle of the night!).
8 Alarm clocks: I am not a heavy sleeper and I hate waking up to blaring alarms. I have always preferred waking to music to ease me gently into the day. A clock radio used to wake me up, but now I use the clock app on my iPhone. Unfortunately, with the iPod Touch, iPhone and Android phones you can’t just select your favorite song for an alarm. You can either create a ringtone (stay tuned for an upcoming blog on ringtones), get an alarm clock app that allows you to choose a song from your device, or dock your phone in an alarm clock with the capability to wake you to your music. If you hate alarms but don’t want to mess with tech, then a clock radio still might be your best bet to wake to music!
9. StumbleUpon: Check out StumbleUpon’s relaxing websites. (See, You’ll Fall for StumbleUpon!) Here’s my favorite relaxation website I found through StumbleUpon: Just Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. I created a bookmark for this site to remind me to take a couple of minutes to relax every so often.
10. YouTube: It’s easy to search YouTube for relaxing videos. Here’s one I found that you might like:
Want some more apps to help you relax? Here’s a link to a blog post with 50 relaxing iPhone apps: 50 Incredible iPhone Apps to Relax Your Mind and Body
Do you use tech to relax? What are your favorite relaxation tips? (They don’t have to be tech related!)