It’s incredibly important to take the time to relax occasionally. It doesn’t do anyone any good to constantly be ON, to be working, to be stressed by the rigors of everyday life. In the same way you need to give your body a physical break every now and then, especially if you work with computers, you also need to give your mind a rest from time to time.
You don’t need to take huge chunks out of your day to relax and de-stress, as just a couple of minutes here and there may be enough to remove the anxiety, tension, or lethargy you’re feeling. While taking time away from the Internet, perhaps by using the Pomodoro technique to time your retreats, is a good idea, you can also relax without disconnecting from the Internet, with websites dedicated to helping you achieve this.
The 10 websites listed below are all capable of helping you relax for two minutes (or more). You’ll no doubt find some work better for you than others do, depending on what input has a calming effect on your mind, body, and soul. So try them all and bookmark the ones which work specifically for you.
Calm.com has a killer domain which has thankfully been put to good use. After the site has loaded (which does, on occasion, take a while) you can customize your period of “guided relaxation.” You can choose whether to relax for 2 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, and pick your animated background with its accompanying soundtrack. These include waves breaking on a beach, birds singing around a lake, and falling rain.
Silk bills itself as “interactive generative art,” which is a rather apt description. You’re presented with a dark background and asked to draw on it in freehand. Your paintbrush lays down a woven silk effect that builds the longer you hold your cursor in one place. Everything you draw is also mirrored, so you end up with Rorschach-style patterns that draw in the eye and make recognizable images appear from the mess.
Line 3D is a very simple but effective tool that will help you unwind and forget about any worries you may have. As soon as the page loads you find yourself travelling along a three-dimensional line that’s heading into the infinite unknown. By moving your mouse (or touchpad) you’ll see the route you have taken fly into view, and it’s possible to build some incredibly complex patterns using very minor movements.
Rain For Me forgoes all visual distractions and focuses on delivering a sound that many of us find incredibly relaxing. On top of a background showing a simple still image of a woodland being doused in water, you’ll hear the sound of falling rain. If that’s a little dull for your tastes then you can open a second tab or window and play some soft music as well; much of which benefits from the accompanying sound of rain falling to the ground.
This HTML5-powered webpage features multicolored liquid particles “trapped in a wormhole discoball.” Without any external input they’ll center on wherever your cursor sits, forming a bright white focal point. If you move the cursor around the screen they’ll form swirling patterns while trying to catch up. If you click your mouse button the particles will be attracted away from the cursor and eventually form a perfect circle around it.
Into Time offers an insanely simple premise, but it’s one which will help chill you out thanks to the ever-changing colors and infinite possibilities. You start off with a blank square, and every time you click within that square the space will halve. You get to choose which squares to divide in this way, or you can just sit back and watch the colors swirling and blending before your eyes.
Falling Falling is a website I first encountered on The Useless Web, a repository of the stranger elements of the Internet. All that happens on this site is colored blocks collapse in on themselves one after the other, with a suitably melancholy note continuously playing as they do so. Some people may find this one a little depressing, but I found it inordinately relaxing.
Taking a break for two minutes doesn’t necessarily mean closing your eyes and emptying your head of all thoughts. You can instead enjoy that peaceful interlude by doing something entertaining, which is what Tone Matrix offers. You’re presented with a 16×16 grid of squares, and can choose which ones to fill in. The squares you fill will define the simple tune that then plays in a loop. You can even write words as I did in the screenshot above.
Do Nothing For Two Minutes is one of the most useful single-serving websites I have ever seen. It offers nothing but an image of the sea with the sound of waves crashing played over the top. Your mission is to remain static for two minutes, not touching the mouse or keyboard in that time. It’s a simple reminder of the need to take small breaks from the barrage of information we’re subjected to on the InterWebs.
The Quiet Place Project is a website offering a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Web. There are several pages on offer, including the 90 Seconds Relaxation Exercise, the Quiet Place, and the Thoughts Room, all of which offer variations on the theme of gently persuading you to take a moment to relax and rid yourself of any worries.
After trying all of these websites out I feel a lot calmer within myself. In fact, I feel so relaxed that I could easily fall asleep instead of writing the rest of this article. Unfortunately my editors wouldn’t take kindly to such laziness, so I will instead keep it short and sweet…
Which, if any, of the websites listed here helped you to relax? Are you going to use those websites again in the future to help create a calming break in the middle of your workday? Are there any other websites you have found that help you to relax while remaining online? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Juliana Dacoregio
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