Here at Sydney Observer, we know that life can be a little tense from time to time. That is why it is so incredibly important to take the necessary time to destress, recentre the mind and relax. Below you will find some of our top tips and recommendations when it comes to relaxation heaven – books, music, destinations – you name it!

Location: West Head lookout

Located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, West Head lookout is the perfect spot to unwind and soak in the sun. With views of Broken Bay, Pittwater and Barrenjoey Headland and lighthouse, this picture-perfect spot will make you feel like you have escaped to a tranquil paradise. There are benches to enjoy the view from, or if you feel like having a snack, head to the Resolute picnic area. This spot is great for families, couples, or to just clear your head.

Sound: Michael Jackson – Thriller

Michael Jackson’s albums are timeless works of art that produce an aura of happiness when played. Thriller in particular, featuring ‘P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)’ and ‘Billie Jean’, is an album flowing with love and groovy beats. Michael Jackson has the gift of transporting you to a place of pure bliss, where worries fade and feet start tapping. If you are feeling stressed and need to escape for a couple of hours, listen to this album, relax at West Head lookout and fade into your thoughts.

Book: ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’ by Thich Nhat Hanh

In a world that is consumed by social media and appearances, ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’ by Thich Nhat Hanh is a manual on meditation, taking you through practices and exercises to gain a new perspective on mindfulness. This book highlights the importance of being in the moment and using each moment as a guide to working towards your greater self. So sit back, enjoy West Head lookout and take minute to think of all the things you’re grateful for.

Book: ‘You Can Create an Exceptional Life’

When rummaging through a book sale I found a hidden gem. It is an inspiring book with an abundance of mantras and messages that will well, you guessed it, help you create an exceptional life. I know it sounds like every airy trend that has flooded the lifestyle/wellbeing market, but this book has truly cemented the idea that our thoughts create the outcomes we desire. Two of the main points I took from the book are gratefulness and gratitude. Turning a situation around through your thoughts can transform your work, life and family relationships. So next time you feel that times are tough, and you fail to see the brightness in your life, sit down, breathe and remember, only good lies before me.

Sound: Hymn to the Immortal Wind

This is the fifth album by Japanese post-rock band, Mono; one of my favourite artists. A vast sonic shift from their previous works, it features the band performing with a 25-piece string section and a flutist to create stunning, emotive instrumentals. From the moment its opening track, ‘Ashes in the Snow’, fades in with the sound of a music box and gently picked guitar, it captures you with a sense of calm and serenity. The song continues to build over eight minutes shifting gradually into a cathartic wall of distortion, strings and crashing drums that pull at your heartstrings. The band’s routine transition from a soft, mellow dynamic into something more explosive is seamless and an essential part of the magical, expansive soundscape they create