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Peace out: the best relaxation gadgets to help you de-stress and unwind

Tech the weight off your mind

As lockdowns lift and seasons shift, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the world.

Whether you’re working from home, back in the office or simply grappling with your newfound freedom, life in 2021 is still a long way from normal. And all that uncertainty can place a serious strain on your mental wellbeing.

Need help finding some headspace? From purer air to calming ambience, all of the gadgets listed below are designed to make your humble abode a more relaxing place for mind, body and soul.

Sure, no amount of meditation or scented mist will clear your inbox, but a more mindful approach might just prevent you from lobbing your laptop when the boss circles back for ‘one more thing’ at 5pm on a Friday.

Philips Smartsleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light (£250)

Philips Smartsleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light (£250)

Rising with the Sun is one way to reset your circadian rhythm. But while binning the blinds might make you feel at one with the world, it’ll also have you out of bed before five.

Want better rest without rising early? Synchronise your sleep schedule with this bedside sunlight simulator. Simply set your desired wake time and it’ll bring you into the day a more natural way. Hues gradually grow from soft orange to brighter white, gently telling your body it’s time to rise and shine. If light alone is insufficient, select a natural sound to finish the job without jolting you awake. Need help nodding off? Light-guided breathing can help you wind down when the day is done.

Sounds and saturation can be customised through the SleepMapper app, which is also where you’ll find environment data: using an integrated sensor, the Smartsleep monitors factors such as temperature and humidity to assess whether they’re disturbing your all-important slumber. Because nothing beats a good night’s sleep.

Moodo AIR Purifier & Scent Diffuser (£125)

Moodo AIR Purifier & Scent Diffuser (£125)

Lockdown may have lifted, but even the heady smell of freedom can’t eliminate the lingering whiff of last night’s celebratory takeaway. Address the aromatic malaise with this nifty mix-and-match diffuser.

Pick a pack of recyclable pods, pop them in the top, then tweak the scent to your heart’s content. Too much lavender, insufficient citrus? Fire up the partner app to adjust the potency of each capsule – or add the Air to your smart home setup and have Alexa create a fragrance cocktail for you.

Pods are shipped in harmonious bundles – think Aromatherapy or Ashram Spa – so it should be impossible to mix up a stink, while smart schedules make periodic perfuming a breeze. And unlike your fabric face protector, the Moodo does more than just mask: an integrated three-layer filter actively purifies the air in your abode for true nasal bliss.

LIFX Light Strip (from £65)

LIFX Light Strip (from £65)

Lighting can make or break the mood in your meditation den. Too harsh and it’s hard to find your headspace. Too neon and you’ll suffer from Ibiza flashbacks. But get it right and the glow will help you flow.

Add a Lightstrip to your contemplation space for relaxing saturation. Each metre-long strip features eight glowing zones, which can be tweaked to create countless colour combos – from thoughtful purple to reassuring magnolia.

Soothing hues are simple to select via your smartphone, while special effects can set the scene with pulsing ambience. Hub-free pairing makes setup a cinch, plus smart assistant support means Siri, Alexa and Google can help you achieve illumination. Searching for a brighter path? Connect additional Lightstrips for up to 10 metres of luminescence.

Core Meditation Trainer (US$149)

Core Meditation Trainer (US$149)

A simple stone might stimulate thoughts during circle time, but it takes a smarter sphere to help you find your inner peace. Enter Core: a meditative aid that’s so much more than a wood-bottomed ball.

Cup the pulsing puck and its vibrations will guide your breathing or steer your focus, depending on your discipline. What’s more, integrated ECG sensors will track your heart-rate variability and assess your state of calm.

Fire up the companion app and you’ll find feedback on your mental state, plus voice-guided meditations, breath training and relaxing soundscapes for independent serenity. A paid subscription nets you fresh sessions every day, as well as meditations dedicated to specific outcomes – such as better sleep. The best bit? It’s still cheaper than a silent retreat.

Eva Solo Self-Watering Orchid Pot (€45)

Eva Solo Self-Watering Orchid Pot (€45)

Overwhelmed by walls and wires? House plants are an easy way to reconnect with nature. Thing is, remembering to water the leafy blighters can add fresh stress to your domestic routine.

Stick this stunning pot on your desk and you’ll get the calming benefits of bonsai without the hassle of regular hydration. Simply plant your Japanese mini-tree in the glass bowl and it’ll naturally draw water through wicks from the pot below, leaving you free to pursue the art of meditative pruning. Unless you forget to top it up, obviously.

Muse S (£290)

Muse S (£290)

Waves lap gently as you breathe deeply. Your mind is centred and you are one with the world. But wait: did you pay the gas bill? Crash! Lightning flashes across the sky and rain pours around you. That’s what you get for letting your mind wander – and there’s no fooling Muse.

A clever headband that tracks brain activity in real time, this meditation assistant encourages focus by means of background sound, steering your brain away from distractions with rushing rain and rewarding calm with soothing ambience.

The Muse S also monitors heart rate, breath and body posture, while overnight tracking offers deep sleep insights. Don the cushioned band, select a soothing soundscape and drift into sweet dreams of direct debits.

Where to buy

Get your Muse S here

Blueair Blue 3210 (£159)

Blueair Blue 3210 (£159)

Incense might stimulate your senses, but even the most potent joss stick can’t eliminate airborne irritants. Add this compact purifier to your peace palace and put an end to problematic particles.

One tap is all it takes to activate the cylinder. Set to auto mode, it can clean the air in an average bedroom every 12 minutes, putting paid to pollen, pet dander and dust. In fact, its three-layer system eliminates up to 99% of floating nasties, with the help of electrostatic and mechanical filtration. Because no sneeze should interrupt your state of deep contemplation.

Fan speed adjusts according to feedback from the integrated particle sensor, while a neat air quality indicator keeps you up to date on what you’re inhaling. Sensitive about the balance of your abode? The 3210’s fabric jacket can be swapped for a more harmonious shade, while its whisper-quiet night setting won’t upset the aural energy.

Soundasleep Bluetooth speaker pillow (£40)

Soundasleep Bluetooth speaker pillow (£40)

Pillow noise will be nothing new if you snooze beside a snorer. Want a softer soundtrack to your sweet dreams? Rest your head on this speaker pillow.

Hidden beneath the quilted microfibre is a Bluetooth speaker. Why? Because the right sounds can ensure a better slumber. Try an audiobook before bed, a soothing Spotify playlist while you rest or your favourite podcast when you wake.

Or, for an even smarter sleep, download the Soundasleep app, where you’ll find several kinds of white noise, some sounds to help you meditate, a tracker to analyse your Zs and even a snore controller that’ll wake you before your nasal noise annoys your neighbour.

Zwitscherbox (from €49)

Zwitscherbox (from €49)

Self-help guides might call for constant calm, but even a master of mindfulness would find it hard to stay centred while a sugar-fuelled flock of sprogs demands Peppa Pig on repeat.

Drown out the piggy din with a dose of the great outdoors: stick the motion-sensitive Zwitscherbox on your wall and you’ll hear two minutes of blissful Black Forest birdsong whenever you stride past.

Sure, it’s not quite the same as a long walk in the woods, but it might soothe your mind, soul and spirit just enough to stop you telling the little ones where their bacon comes from.

Calm (£free/IAP)

Calm (£free/IAP)

Alcohol might be helpful for keeping your hands clean, but it’s no way to sanitise your mind. For a cleaner, calmer cranium, put down your glass and download Calm: more than a meditation aid, it’s home to a huge collection of guided relaxation sessions that are designed to help you de-stress, unwind and sleep as you need.

From Masterclasses taught by relaxation experts to Sleep Stories for deep breaths before bed, there are sessions to suit all sorts of moods and moments. Need a quick shot of serenity? Guided meditations start at just three minutes, while those approaching sensei status can try mastering their mind for a full 25.

Start by sampling the handful of free sessions, before subscribing to access the full catalogue of classes, exercises, playlists and programs.

Sensate 2 (£199)

Sensate 2 (£199)

Good Vibrations might not be the ideal music for meditation, but the right resonance will send you straight to your Zen place. Feel the positive vibes with this pulsing relaxation puck.

Select a guided session from the partner app, place the sculpted Sensate 2 in the centre of your chest and enjoy instant tranquility as it vibrates in sync with the soothing soundscape.

More than a buzzing blob, the Sensate’s low-frequency emissions are designed to reduce stress, cultivate calm and encourage productivity while you lie back and relax. Intensity can be adjusted via the app, while the user guide will help you find the perfect position for your meditative massage.

Flare Calmer (£20)

Flare Calmer (£20)

Overwhelmed by the anarchic ambience of an overcrowded abode? Add calm to your ear canal with this clever aural insert.

Rather than blocking noise completely, the Calmer uses a tiny waveguide to change how vibrations travel in your ear. By reducing resonance, it improves the quality of the sound you hear, while also filtering out the frequencies that are known to cause stress.

So the silicone tips won’t mute your housemate’s incessant humming but, by turning down the background buzz, the Calmer should do enough to quell another weekend quarrel.

Fitbit Sense (£280)

Fitbit Sense (£280)

Healthy body, healthy mind – but cardio can’t solve everything. For better mental management, try the Fitbit Sense: a wellness sidekick for your wrist, it’s equipped to help you regulate stress and find calm in everyday chaos.

Styled like a smartwatch, the Sense’s stainless steel shell harbours a host of health-tracking tools. Launch the EDA Scan app and it’ll log electrodermal activity during a mindfulness session, illustrating the impact a few quiet moments can have on your stress levels. You can also try on-tap breathing exercises, record your mood throughout the day and use the resulting stress-management score to adapt your behaviours. Such as going to bed earlier. Or buying a punchbag.

Blood oxygen and skin temperature sensors detect changes in your wellbeing, while the ECG app can pick up heart rhythm irregularities. And because it’s a Fitbit, you also get all the activity tracking smarts you’d expect – because there’s no harm in breaking a sweat.

Punkt AC01 (£115)

Punkt AC01 (£115)

Clock-watching won’t make summer come any sooner. But if you insist on counting the seconds until it’s finally time for your long-awaited getaway, you might as well pick an attractive ticker.

Enter the AC01: a lesson in purity of form and function, Punkt’s pared-back waker is designed to bookend your day without distraction – bar the big snooze button on the back.

Instead of sandwiching your slumber between browsing sessions, stick the aluminium timepiece on your bedside table and – unlike your glowing blower – it won’t do anything to disrupt your sleep patterns. Unless you spend the night entranced by its minimalism.

Headspace (£free/IAP)

Headspace (£free/IAP)

Think meditation’s all gong baths and hippy retreats? Stick Headspace on your smartphone for a daily dose of calm, without the robes and rituals.

Proven to reduce stress, improve focus and boost compassion, the calming app offers a bank of guided mindfulness sessions that’ll soothe your soul in as little as 10 minutes.

Kick off with the free intro series, before going deeper with targeted meditations, covering everything from creativity to exercise to happiness. A session a day should keep the cabin fever away for now – and by the time you’re finally allowed back into the world, you’ll be ready to conquer your rush-hour angst like a master of inner tranquility.