Believe it or not, sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.
At some point we have all been so stressed with a situation or work problem that we've thrown the towel in and just walked away and poured a glass of wine. Those 2 things in themselves rarely fix the issue but they do get you to just let go and come back to it with fresh eyes. Regular relaxation is about taking time out for yourself before you reach breaking point. Those close to you should also notice that you're more chilled and fun to be around.
Relaxation looks different to everyone but here are some things that help me relax.
Make a date with yourself
First of all you need to make time to relax. I'm a busy person (aren't we all) but I don't feel guilty about making time to relax because I know I'm more productive and a happier person for it.
When I know I have a particularly busy week ahead I try put some sacred "Me time" in my diary beforehand to make sure I'm not worn out and brain fried before I even start! Only real emergencies should stand between you and this time.
I also try and plan something relaxing or fun for afterwards like a facial or meal with friends to give me something to look forward to.
Get lost in a book
I appreciate that not everyone loves reading but if you do it's great way to escape the world for an hour or two.
For optimum relaxation read a real book rather than a book on your phone as you're less likely to be distracted by notifications.
Try to read in a quiet spot away from where you usually work or do the laundry so you aren't interrupted and don't feel guilty for relaxing (because you shouldn't!.)
This takes different forms depending on your ability but that's the beauty of it. What you produce doesn't even have to to shown to anyone, just express your self and do it for you. Throw some paint or clay around. Dig out some coloring pencils and an adult colouring book. Grab a camera or a sketch pad and go outdoors. Pull out a musical instrument a jam. You may be surprised what you come up with. If you're not sure where to start then I've added some ideas to a Pinterest board.
Clear your mind
Your mind is a powerful thing when it is filled with positive thoughts but every now and then we need to let go of whatever is cluttering our mind and keeping us from peace. The best way to properly relax is to do nothing and think about nothing. But doing nothing is hard. First we need to throw out any unproductive distractions. They may not all be mental distractions. Start by clearing up your physical space, dirty coffee cups and piles of paper are not conducive to a clear mind. Then you can start to "meditate" if you will on what you want to accomplish rather than the past or things that aren't going perfectly in the present. This should lower your stress levels and enhance your ability to think outside the box.