Stress is so common that most people you come into contact with everyday probably write it off as a byproduct of living life and think nothing of it. They tend to forget how many health issues it can cause. High blood pressure, anxiety, weight gain, headahces, and depression just scratch the surface. Stress is mean, y’all. It’s so important to set aside some time for yourself to lower those cortisol and epinephrine levels. I learned that the hard way. After lots of trial and error (because everyone is different and not all of the advice I got would work), I finally figured out what actually helps me relax after an exceptionally stressful day. Below are some ideas if you don’t know where to start or are looking for something new to integrate into your relaxation.
Pro-tip: I’ve found it works especially well to carry these out during a morning or bedtime routine, but do whatever floats your boat!
- Breathe in deeply and audibly sigh it out.
- Face-masks. I don’t know what it is about slathering mud or peel-off gel onto your face, but man. When it gets taken off (especially if you use warm water) you feel like a new person. Maybe because you just scrubbed off a layer of skin. . .idk.
- The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding technique. This is one my therapist gave me late last year and it works tremendously when you feel like you can’t get a grip on your mind and surroundings. It follows your senses to help you get in touch with the present. Audibly list 5 things you can see, touch or say 4 things you can feel, say 3 things you can hear, smell 2 things you can smell (or list your 2 favorite smells), and 1 thing you can taste (same with this one as with the smells).
- Stretch. Get rid of some muscle tension and tightness/energy by doing some yoga or basic standing stretches. Touch your toes, reach your arms up to the sky, etc. If you’re in a situation where you’re unable to stand, try tensing up specific muscle groups, holding to the count of 10, and releasing.
- CANDLES. CANDLES CANDLES CANDLES. Specifically ones that smell natural, such as lavender (bonus cause lavender calms ya down), eucalyptus, ginger, teakwood, milk&honey (I got a milk&honey one at Target. It smells amazing), etc. Light that sucker up. Or if you’re a candle addict like me and own way more than necessary just light them all. No one’s judging here.
- Essential oils+diffuser. I simply cannot express my love for this pair enough. And if you really need to de-stress, like, to the max, I recommend Ylang Ylang oil. It’s helped me tremendously with anxiety. But it’s a mild sedative so just be careful not to do anything like drive after inhalation until you know how it affects you.
- Mood lighting. There’s something about light that’s not blindingly white. It’s like a warm golden glow instead of LED car headlights shining right in your eyes.
- Showers and baths. Specifically hot showers and baths, as the higher temperature de-stresses your muscles and your mind. Boom. 2-in-one. Extra points for adding a candle, diffuser, and/or softer lighting. Now I’m ready to take a bath and it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon. SOS.
What’s your favorite way to de-stress?