It’s a new year, and with every new year come new stresses, it seems. One hectic season gives way to another, and before you know it, your resolution to de-stress and find inner peace seems like a distant dream. But what can you do to stop (or at least slow) the madness and regain some semblance of calm?
Natural Stress Busters
1. Breathe in some relaxation. Aromatherapy can have an amazing, if sometimes subtle, effect on your stress level. Certain scents trigger stress relief responses in your brain, signaling your body to calm down and relax. Try natural essential oils or bath and body products with the scent of lavender, sandalwood, neroli, jasmine, rose, and vanilla for a few that can beat stress, reduce anxiety, and even tackle depression with aromatherapy.
2. Fix a cup of herbal tea. Just as with aromatherapy, the scent and herbal benefits of teas like chamomile, lavender, or Kava Kava. You can even make your own stress relief tea with herbal ingredients like St. John’s Wort, Valerian Root, Willow Bark, or Catnip to take advantage of their calorie-free, preservative-free stress-relieving goodness that can help you get restful sleep, banish a headache, lift your mood, and send your worries packing.
3. Start writing a journal. While you’re at it, start a blog! Whatever format you choose, get words out of your mind and onto the page or screen. Sometimes just writing down your thoughts, anxieties, activities, plans, and feelings can be cathartic. Find a venue to dish your thoughts on particular subjects, or just crack open that journal that has been collecting dust on your shelf ever since you wrote the first entry (three years ago) and get writing. For the best stress-relief effects, journal at least 15 minutes each time and at least three times each week for two months. Before you know it, your stress will be on the page – and out of your head!
4. Spend time with friends. It’s a shame that any of us need excuses to make time for friends, but if you’ve been looking for a reason to put off that mounding pile of laundry or paperwork to get some freedom from your stress, just head out with the girls. Being sociable, laughing, and sharing stories with friends helps you work through your troubles, connect with others, and trigger the release of feel-good mood-boosters. Meet them for coffee to pair your friendly stress relief with mood-enhancing caffeine.
5. Get some exercise. As much as some of us hate to hear it, physical activity is an essential part of effective stress relief. When you get out of breath and your heart pumps blood more quickly, your brain releases feel-good chemicals that help fight stress quickly and effectively. Even if you can’t take the time to train for marathons, give your body an alternative way to treat depression, stress, and anxiety by meditating, taking a stab at yoga, or finding another feel-good habit that you can fit in for at least 15 minutes each day.
Start Feeling Good Now – Naturally
Ridding your life of unnecessary stress can be a lengthy and difficult process that requires a commitment to your own health and happiness as well as openness to the natural stress-relief techniques above. Don’t be afraid to start small! The stress-busting effects will begin almost immediately, even with a modest effort. Great news for those of us with little time to stress over whether our stress-relief techniques will take too long to kick in!