Top 10 Tips for Relaxation

To protect your well-being, it's important to learn strategies to effectively manage stress. Here are 10 strategies that can help you hit the reset button and recenter.

1. Soothing Bath

Dim the lights and envelop yourself in the warmth and comfort of a nice bath with essential oil Epsom salts.

Add some Epsom salts and a couple of drops of essential oil (such as lavender) for an even more salubrious soak. If your skin is sensitive limit your bath to 10 minutes or less.

Add a diffuser to send the pleasant scents floating through the air. A long, stressful day should always be capped off with something pleasant and relaxing. Baths relieve muscle tension and help to prepare you for a restful night of restorative sleep. Pleasant scents help create an environment to encourage mental escape.

Looking for something different? Try a CBD bath balm. The fizzy fusion of pleasant aromas and calming CBD is exactly what you need to wash your worries away.

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2. Relax with aromatherapy

Enjoy satisfying scents with aromatherapy essential oils.

It often goes unnoticed, but scents affect us emotionally. Certain scents are automatically appealing and can change our mindset. For example, lavender has a notable calming effect, while citrus is energizing.

Smell is directly linked to memory. Familiar scents, such as those that remind us of Christmas like cinnamon or pine needles, can remind us of good times, and make us feel happy. Ongoing research investigates how aromas promote sleep and help manage anxiety and depression.

There are various essential oil recipes to remedy a negative mood. Try adding these essential oils to a diffuser:

3. Massage relieves muscle tension for relaxation.

Enjoy a massage to relieve tension.

We commonly hold tension on our neck, back, and shoulders. Sitting for 8 or more hours per day at an office job can exacerbate this problem. Getting a regular massage from either a professional massage therapist or even your partner can help alleviate the stored stress in our bodies by skillfully manipulating muscles and pressure points to help you relax. Simply having another person care for you feels incredibly good on its own. Don't forget to get your hands and scalp massaged too—it feels incredible!

To increase the healing benefits of massage, try using a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil with added essential oils.

3. Mindful Meditation

Take time to practice mindful meditation.

Taking time to be in the present moment is hard to do! We go through much of life as if we're on autopilot. Ever notice how you can be driving to work only to realize that you have no idea how you got there? We even eat mindlessly, which completely removes our ability to indulge in the fine flavors associated with a favorite food. Furthermore, we torment ourselves by endlessly ruminating about past behaviors or worrying over potential negative, future outcomes. We forget to live in the present and suffer as a consequence.

Mindful meditation helps us escape a harmful pattern of thought, and as a result, it helps to reduce anxiety, cools a flared temper, and sharpens your senses.
If you have never meditated before, it's easy to start! You can see benefits by doing as little as 5 minutes a day a few times a week.

Here's how you can get started:

  • Sit or lay down in a comfortable position in a dark, quiet room
  • Notice your body and your surroundings. Feel the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension.
  • Pay attention to your breath. Feel the air move in and out of the lungs. You don't have to take deep or short breaths, simply notice how it feels.
  • Notice when your mind starts to wander. Acknowledge what you’re thinking about, then redirect your attention back to your breathing.
  • Practice this for 5 minutes.
5. Exercise for relaxation.

Find new and creative ways to exercise and boost your mood.

We all know exercise is good for building muscles, maintaining a healthy weight, and improving pulmonary and cardiovascular function. Did you know regular exercise can also improve your mood?

Regular exercise helps to boost your mood and relieve stress. When exercising, many do not ruminate or worry so exercise tends to function similarly to mindful mediation. Also, the flood of feel-good neurotransmitters and endorphins ensures that the positive vibes last long after we've finished our workout.

Nearly any form of exercise from weightlifting to yoga will help reduce stress. Don't worry if you're not a natural athlete or if you feel out of shape. A little exercise, including a brisk walk, can go a long way toward stress management.

Can't go to the gym? The internet is full of free bodyweight exercises you can do at home. No equipment or gym membership necessary!

Enjoy nature to relieve stress

Immersing yourself in nature soothes the psyche and balances your emotions. (Psych Science)

Research shows that being surrounded by natural scenery, such as trees, flowers, water, and mountains, can reduce anger, fear, and stress while simultaneously increasing pleasant feelings.

Take a hike along a forested path or mountain trail. Take a stroll along the shore of the ocean or lake. Notice the sounds of the birds singing, waves crashing, or even the surprisingly delightful sound of your feet stepping along the path.

If it's not possible to get out of the modern man-made environment, simply stand outside and get some fresh air and sunshine to elevate your mood. The white walls and fluorescence lighting in many homes and offices often make it difficult to relax. Try adding a few plants to your home or office for a more natural feel.

7. Unplug and stay connected

Unplug from the world and stay connected with those you love.

Too much exposure to the news and social media can increase our anxiety and increase feelings of loneliness. When we feel stressed, we can bottle it up or seclude ourselves.

Talking to a friend or family member about how you feel can do you a world of good. Even if you live far away from friends or family, there are many online tools to help you stay connected via video chat. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone you trust for emotional support. Talking about your problems can help you to put it in perspective, and to realize you're not alone.

In general, being around others lifts our spirits. We smile and laugh more when we're with other people. Positive interactions with others release feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters, such as oxytocin and dopamine. Finding new ways to connect “face-to-face” even from afar, can be pleasantly rewarding.

8. Take herbal adaptogens

Specific supplements that combine known adaptogens can also help you manage stress naturally.

Adaptogens are herbs and plant-derived ingredients that help the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.

One clinically proven adaptogen is ashwagandha, which helps to relieve the negative effects of stress according to a double-blind study. It increases the body’s ability to resist and recover from stress while stimulating an overall feeling of balance.

9. Try CBD oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) is showing remarkable promise at promoting a healthy mindset.

Research is ongoing to examine how CBD may improve stress, anxiety, and depression. Pure CBD does not have any of the THC found in marijuana. CBD won't make you high, but it can help you to relax. Try CBD in pure oil which can be mixed in water, juice, or a smoothie or even tasty gummies.

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10. Get sleep.

Relieving stress is as simple as consistently getting a good night's sleep.

The problem? If you're like most people, getting a good night’s sleep isn't easy. Our bodies have internal clocks—the circadian rhythm—that cycles over a 24-hour period. Unfortunately, these natural cycles get disrupted in our modern environment.

Here are some tips for improved sleep:

  • Be consistent. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.
  • Wake up at the same time in the morning for the next two weeks. You'll be tired the first few times you do this, but it will quickly mean that you'll fall asleep faster at night.
  • Don't consume caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. If you're sensitive to this stimulant you may want to limit it to the morning
  • Don't exercise strenuously close to bedtime. Exercise can make you feel good, but the increase in heart rate charges you up.
  • Stay away from blue light admitting screens, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets one hour before bed. It's difficult, but it can really mess with your melatonin levels.
  • Try Melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone secreted from the pineal gland in the brain whose role is to regulate the body’s sleep and wake cycles. If you aren't producing enough, then you might benefit by using it as a supplement.
  • Try GABA. It is well established that activation of GABA receptors favors sleep (NIH: Sleep). It helps to quiet the mental chatter that can keep us awake at night.

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Sources:

NIH Stress: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

NIH Sleep: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11983310

Psych Science: https://psych.utah.edu/_resources/documents/psych4130/The%20Cognitive%20Benefits%20of%20Interacting%20with%20Nature.pdf