Between everything going on in 2020 and a “new normal” this holiday season, stress is something that many of us may know too well.
Besides affecting our mood, stress also has physiological effects including heart health, sleep, energy, hormones (estrogen/testosterone) and even our digestion.
The good news is, there are some easy and inexpensive (even free) ways to relieve stress.
1. Deep Breathing
Deep Breathing is easy, free, and immediately stops the stress response in our bodies from progressing. Doing this at least once in the morning, before bed and before each meal, or in times when your mind starts to race and your heart speeds up can help keep your stress hormones at bay.
Calming deep breath exercise: In for 4 seconds, hold for 7, out for 8.While you are holding, really focus on releasing the tension in your shoulders and back or wherever you feel tightness.
2. Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is extremely inexpensive (sold at drugstores) and contains magnesium – which is known to calm the muscles and the mind. Pour some epsom salt in a warm tub and soak for 30 minutes and notice how much better you sleep and how much more calm you feel. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after (and possibly even during) to stay hydrated.
3. Exercise and Get Outdoors
Taking a hike or a walk with your phone on airplane mode is a great way to balance your neurotransmitters and get vitamin D. If you live somewhere that the weather doesn’t quite permit outdoor activity right now, doing a yoga flow, weight training or even dancing to your favorite songs at home is a great way to release stress from the body.
4. Self Massage
If you are feeling extremely stressed and tense, getting a professional massage may help to release tension and bring you into balance. However, you can still get these benefits without going to a spa by doing self-massage.
A great way to do a self-massage, is to use a tennis or lacrosse ball and/or foam roller. To use a tennis/lacrosse ball, put it between the floor or wall and your back, between the floor and your feet, or roll it over anywhere that feels extra tense like your neck and shoulders. A quick search on YouTube about foam rolling and using a tennis/lacrosse ball may help you learn the simple techniques as well.
5. Morning Routines
The first thing you put into your mind can really help set the tone for your day. Setting aside at least 10 minutes for a healthy morning routine can help you start your day in a calm and focused state instead of anxious and stressed. You may find also find benefits to avoiding news and social media as soon as you wake up.
Morning Routine Ideas:
- Deep breathing
- Practicing gratitude
- Reading a book
- Taking a walk
- Doing some kind of art
- Listening to an inspirational podcast
- Snuggle time with your loved one or fur baby
Tips provided by Nicole Brors, Certified Nutritionist and Herbalist at Dance to the Beet