As the stress of the Christmas period comes to an end and the stress of a new year begins, it’s important to carve out time for yourself to relax. As we all try to turn ourselves into better people for a new year we someone manage to forget to look after ourselves causing anxiety and – yes, stress!
I have devised my favourite ways to wind down and relax for you all, so do your body and mind a favour and tick some off the list. The best thing is you can do some of them in less than 5 minutes so they don’t take a lot of time out of your busy ‘New Year, New You’ schedule.
Munch that chocolate.
Now, I don’t want to disturb anyone’s diet but it’s SCIENCE. Not only is it effing tasty but eating some dark chocolate can reduce stress and anxiety. It improves memory and is related to happiness and increasing your mood. So, if science says it’s okay then you have that chocolate! To avoid the guilt maybe don’t race for the vending machine for the goods but instead keep with you a few squares of dark chocolate with you. My favourite is Pascha Chocolate *bonus – gluten free, dairy free, soy free and nut free*
Meditate – ahummm.
I am telling you, once I got over the Buddha feeling this seriously helps. From as little as 5 minutes can seriously affect your mood for the better. The mind, heart and body can improve with regular meditation! For me personally it grounds me and steadies my thoughts so that my brain doesn’t go into overdrive. Meditating improves concentration and causes the pituitary gland to secrete endorphins that help elevate the mood and have a positive effect on your whole body. So sit your ass down and hum a few bars to center yourself. Trust me, you’ll feel better.
Drink a green tea.
I don’t know what it is but a sense of smugness washes over me that calms me down when I drink a green tea. It’s the same sense that you get off those that sit in Starbucks for hours writing or banging away on their laptop. Anyway, drinking green tea helps with your metabolism but aids in relieving stress also as it contains theanine, a calming agent. If you find it hard to get used to the taste then try another kind of tea or add in some diluted juice (sugar free!)
Come on now, I work in retail so I have had to count down from 10 several times over the Christmas period and for a little quick fix this really works. It sounds like a test, but trust me it’ll make you feel a lot better as you’ll find that when you are counting your breathing will go in time to the numbers therefore calming you down.
Pat cold water on your wrists.
Okay, hear me out on this one. I really do mean cold water and not perfume. When you apply cold water to your wrists and even behind your earlobes too this can calm down the whole body due to these areas being major arteries. Sounds bizarre, but go and try it – and I do mean a little not a whole bottle of water or anything crazy.
Find your space.
I don’t mean hide somewhere until the calm goes away like the stationary cupboard at work but I mean find a space that you can really relax in. For me, it’s curled up in our ‘vibe room’ in my house where I can sit and listen to music. I have my paints there if I fancy pushing some paint around. I have a bean bag and my books. It’s bliss and it makes me really happy. So if I am having an off day I come home and sit in there and chill out. Ideally make this space somewhere where there are no phones, TVs, etc so you can really truly relax.
As if I even have to put this one in here. I feel like this point goes without saying… I have never been s relaxed as when I have a bath. The only reason we are renting the house we are, is because it has a bath. The only thing is after I am done being relaxed in the bath and I pop some pajamas on I get sweaty and stressed again from being too hot. Worth it. Get your sorry ass down to Lush or The Body Shop or wherever your favourite smellies place is and pick out some amazing bath stuff and get in a hot bath with a book or with Netflix and chill out.
Turn off your phone.
I get it, it’s the 21st Century and most of our lives revolve around our phones. Most of you will probably be reading this from a phone. Regardless, as much as I love social media and all the things I post about, I hate how attached I am to my phone. As soon as I put it down I pick it up again to do something else. Even as I write this one point I have picked my phone up twice. When my phone is off, I feel more relaxed. Try it out, I am sure you can last even an hour and it will do you the world of good.
Sounds obvious, right? But when was the last time you did something you enjoyed? Whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, catching up with friends, watching football, whatever. Don’t deny yourself fun in your busy, hectic schedule. Take that time for yourself and even plan it in advance so that you have something to look forward to. I love having a plan for the weekend ahead so that I know my busy week has a happy ending!
So there we have it, a few of my favourite ways to wind down and calm down. Hopefully this post has inspired you to take a chunk out of your busy life and relax. Your body and mind will thank you for it!