Does this picture say “stress less,” or what? I saw it on Pinterest (follow me!), and it immediately made me long for a relaxing afternoon at the beach… with my own personal hot tub, or course – HAHA!
Stressing less was part of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, but I honestly haven’t kept it at the forefront of my mind. In addition, several very stressful events have occurred this year, so a little stress was unavoidable. In fact, some of that stress (when combined with over-consuming nuts and eggs) caused me some pretty serious digestion woes, which lead to a gut-healing protocol that made it all better.
For a look at some of the science behind stress and cortisol, read this post.
So what am I doing to cultivate a more relaxed lifestyle? Take a look…
You can read more about this goal in an earlier post, but it’s too important to ignore here. Staying up super-late to work (or even just play!) on the computer, do things around the house, etc., absolutely adds stress to your body. Lack of good, solid sleep makes you exhausted and emotional the following day, and unfortunately there is no way to “catch up” on a full night of sleep. So, in an effort to prevent the emotional and physical stress that comes from too little sleep, I’m making a serious effort to change my bedtime habits during this Whole43. Again, read more about how I’m doing that HERE.
PLAN to Relax!
Take a look at your calendar. Do you have something written on your to-do list for most of the days you see? I usually do! However, I don’t usually have “relaxation” written on my list. In today’s culture, most of us are in a constant state of GO! From the time we wake up to the time we force ourselves to turn off technology and lie down, we are on the move. Doing this… doing that… never stopping to breathe. Keeping your body in a constant state of “fight or flight” adds an incredible amount of stress to your body, and greatly affects your health (and may even be taking years off your life!).
My goal here is to slow down (mentally and physically!), and schedule actual time for relaxation. This will involve quarterly weekends away with my amazing husband, turning off the computer at 9 PM each night for a little bedtime relaxation, taking Sundays to completely relax and unplug, and less evening plans during the week.
Agents for Relaxation…
This is a fun one! When I relax, I like to really “do it up!” Here are a few of my favorite agents:
Epsom Salts – I’ve mentioned this in two of my other goals (here and here), so you know now how much I love Epsom Salts! I love how a warm bath makes me forget my worries, and just enjoy being still and quiet! If you don’t do this on a regular basis, even if you’re a guy, I would encourage it!
Essential Oils – There are definitely a few scents that can help clear your mind and rejuvenate! Spearmint, lavender, bergamot, and a host of others… Check out your Whole Foods skin care area to pick up a few oils. Check out my other comments on Essential Oils in this post. Put a few drops on your pillow before bed, dissolve a few drops in water and spray it around the house, put a little in your body lotion or bath and inhale deeply, etc. Aromatherapy truly is therapy… I love it!
Neck Wraps – This is a wonderful way to relax tension in the neck and shoulder, and to inhale some rest-encouraging scents! You can make your own neck wrap by sewing some fabric in the shape of a long rectangle, and then filling it with either rice or cracked corn (find this at Whole Foods) and your favorite combination of herbs (lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, camphor, & peppermint are some that come to mind right now). Use the neck wraps warm, after heating in the microwave, or cold, after chilling in the freezer. These herbs will really help with neck/shoulder pain, or even headaches. Nice way to encourage your body and mind to RELAX!
Hot Tea – Again, warmth and smells are relaxation-encouragers! Brew your favorite tea, and then sit still and enjoy it.
It’s amazing how much effort goes into slowing down these days… But I assure you that it is worth the effort! It may even add years to your life!