Last week I wrote about 6 super quick and easy methods that help relax me and calm my stress levels if they’re rising during the day. I had more, but I chose to write about them another time – after all, I didn’t want to stress myself out by not giving myself enough time to get my other jobs done!
So here are my next 6, plus a sneaky added extra that takes a bit longer than 5 minutes!
1 – Change your focus. This is useful when your mind is whirring over and over on a particular issue that you just can’t seem to solve or make sense of. Give yourself a little task to do, like saying the alphabet backwards. You might even find yourself laughing at the absurdity of it. And laughter really is the best medicine, as it relieves your physical tension and stress.
2 – If stress makes you wring your hands, try giving them a massage instead. Apply gentle pressure to each joint and the webbing between your fingers. Firmly pull each finger away from you. Clench and release your fists. Then rotate your wrists in both directions. It’s good to relieve tension and it’s definitely better than using your fingers for the endless social media scroll that can use up so much of your day.
3 – This one will take a little longer as it involves your whole body, not just your hands. It’s called progressive relaxation – you tense then release your muscles one body part at a time. You can start at your face by scrunching your eyes tight shut as you breathe in then opening them as you breathe out. Then move down to your jaw, then your neck and shoulders and down through your whole body. Here’s an article on the progressive muscle relaxation steps.
4 – Splash your face with cold water! I remember being told to do this when I was a child if I was upset. I thought it was to disguise the tears. But it turns out there is more to it than that. If you’re feeling emotional, it’s hard for your brain to work properly at processing information. You almost need a brain-reset hack. And apparently cold water is that hack!
It basically shocks your problem-solving skills back into action. An even better way to bring on this effect (called the mammalian diving reflex) is to fill a bowl with icy cold water, bend over and place your face in it for 30 seconds. If that doesn’t sound appealing, do you have a gel mask that you can keep in the fridge? It’ll have a similar effect.
5 – This one sounds a bit more relaxing. Unless you get caught in one of those thunderous spring downpours that come out of nowhere! Take a walk. I think we all know that walking can relieve stress. But sometimes it adds to my stress wondering how I can fit an hour’s walk into my day.
Why not break it down into smaller chunks? 10 – 15 minutes a couple of times a day. It gets you up from your desk and away from your stressors. Your quick walk around the block might not involve being in nature, unless you are near a park, but just moving your body will be a natural stress reliever. You get your muscles out of their work-day tense positions and you can get out of your own head. My best ideas seem to come to me when I’m walking (always when I don’t have a pen and paper with me of course!). Walk alone and reconnect with your body and what you’re experiencing. Or walk with someone else to vent, laugh and support. Walk as briskly as you can and let your natural endorphins do their thing!
6 – Back to the healing power of water for this one. You probably can’t do this in the middle of your work day. Especially as most workplaces don’t have a bath! But oh what a mind and body reset treat a good old-fashioned soak in the bath provides! While you’re waiting for the bath to fill, you could stretch out with a few yoga moves. Your 20 minutes in the tub can be your own kind of relaxation – listen to music, read a book, or simply lie back and do nothing. Just make sure you add a good helping of Salt & Oil bath salts so you’re soaking in lots of natural magnesium goodness while you relax.
Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral and so many of us would benefit from getting more of it. Soaking it in through your skin is a safe, effective way to do so. And generally more relaxing than popping a pill!
We know some houses don't have baths. And some of you are still on water restrictions. A 15 minute foot soak can be just as effective at absorbing all that lovely magnesium goodness.
Bonus tip – If you don’t have time for a bath, grab your pouch of Salt & Oil, open it and take a big sniff! Why?
The lavender and bergamot essential oils that feature in SO:Relaxing are known to calm your mind and body. But any smell that has nostalgic ties can shift your emotions and help relieve stress. Sniffing cinnamon is thought to boost your brain power. The smell of freshly-cut grass can make you feel relaxed and happy, as does vanilla.
Which of our bath soak scents sound most appealing to you?
The fantastic floral of lavender and bergamot in SO:Relaxing?
The zesty freshness of lemongrass in SO:Soothing?
SO:Uplifting with its earthy, fruity clary sage aroma?
The exotic spiciness of ginger, patchouli and sandalwood in SO:Luxurious?
SO:Active – the one for sore bodies that contains wintergreen, making it reminiscent of the warming balms you apply for muscle relief?
Who do you know who would love the gift of relaxation? These bath soaks also make great shower scrubs for any time of year. Christmas is coming up ... ! Ooh, they would make a nice addition to a pamper package for someone who needs a reminder that it's ok to put their own needs first now and again. You can get up to 10 delivered to the same address for $5. Go on, who can you treat? (You count too!).