In honor of National Relaxation Day, I am bringing you some ideas of how to “fuggetaboutit” and chill! Relaxation is defined as “a state of being free from stress and anxiety,” something we all need in this busy world! There are many relaxation exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation,visualization, massage, meditation and other techniques that decrease muscle tension, blood pressure, and the harmful effects of prolonged stress.
Tips to Optimize Your Success With Relaxation:
1. Adopt a passive attitude. Approach relaxation with a “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude. Don’t try to force things to happen. I know, easier said than done!
2. Relax in a quiet environment with few distractions. No TV, cell phone, etc. You might light a candle with a scent you like. I find aromatherapy can be relaxing or energizing depending on the scent.
3. Get comfortable. Position yourself so you have neck and back support: on a firm bed, or a comfortable mat on the floor. Make sure the temperature is comfortable, not too hot or too cool. Choose a position that you can maintain for at least 10 minutes.
4. Monitor your breathing. Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, shoulders relaxed: slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. You will be amazed at how this can slow you down and leaves you feeling refreshed!
5. Stretch. I carry all my stess in my neck and shoulders so I will take a minute while I’m at desk and stretch my arms above my head or turn my head from side to side.
6. Decompress. Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.
7. Make time to relax each day. Start with just 5 a day and work up to longer periods of time. Some people prefer to relax right before bed to help them fall asleep, others relax first thing in the morning to start the day revitalized. When your stress level is high or your energy is low are ideal times to relax for 15-20 minutes. It’s okay to take this time for yourself everyday.
8. Meditate. A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds. To be honest, I’m not good at this. My mind wanders too much, but it works for LOTS of people!
Here are a few products that help me relax:
I LOVE to take hot baths in the winter and LUSH has THE best bath bombs and bubble bars ever! If relaxation is truly your goal, Twilight bath bomb is it! Recreate the magic of a starry night in your bath water with clouds of lavender and tonka absolute to fight the demons of insomnia and soothe your stressed out body and mind. Our most relaxing Bath Bomb yet, Twilight is our gentle, reassuring hug for the bath to transform you from worn out to warm and fuzzy. It changes color like the sky at dusk, from pinks to purples and darker still. Lay back in the comforting herbal waters to soak your troubles far, far away.
If you prefer bubbles in your bathtub, Blue Skies and Fluffy Clouds Bubble Bar is for you. Calm your body and mind and slip into a peaceful trance in a tubful of bubbles with our largest bubble bar slice. Exotic frankincense oil has a woody, grounding aroma that blends well with earthy patchouli to relax and restore your state of mind. Lay back and feel yourself float through swirly blue skies and fluffy white clouds of bubbles and into a serene garden of a Far Eastern temple, leaving stress and worries far behind you. For an even greater peace of mind, break your bubble bar in half for two relaxing escapes from the every day.
How about using a face mask while you lounge in the tub? LUSH face masks are handmade fresh! They use freshly squeezed juices, extracts, or whole fruits and vegetables in their face masks, so they need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent spoilage. Unfortunately, this means you are unable to order online. Please visit your nearest LUSH shop to purchase your Fresh Face Mask. Fresh Masks means that the benefits of each ingredient are delivered directly to your skin within minutes. Your face mask should be used as a treatment, applied once or twice a week to refresh and deep cleanse the skin. Not sure which mask is for you? Stop by your local shop for your skin care consultation today. I like The Sacred Truth Anti-Aging Mask.
Another thing I like to do to de-stress is to use a eye gel mask for just a few minutes once a week, more often if my allergies are acting up. This one from THERA PEARL can be used hot or cold for headaches, sinuses, puffy eyes, or to take the sting out of brow waxing. I keep mine in the fridge to de-puff my eyes. The gel beads inside the mask make it very comfortable.
As I mentioned, I carry all my stress in my neck and shoulders and this NeckEase pillow helps to ease the tension in that problem area. The Neck Ease helps to alleviate and soothe pain and stiffness. It fits snugly around the neck providing gentle pressure to the base of the skull while encouraging to drop and relax. It can be applied cold or heated in the microwave. There is a blend of aromatic herbs and spices that create an aromatherapy experience. Find at BodySense.
Herbs and Spices with rice
Allspice- pain relief, calming, relaxation
Black Pepper- stimulates circulation
Cinnamon- analgesic for arthritis, calming
Clove- analgesic for arthritis, calming, sedating
Scent can be very calming and restful too. When it’s too hot in the summer to take baths, I take a shower at night just before bed and use a scented shower gel and body cream. One of my favorite scents to use before bed comes from H2O +. The Sea Lotus Body Wash and Body Lotion has me smitten. The Asian aquatic plants of water lotus and crisp sea grass are calming to me and it reminds me so much of my childhood at the beach in Southern California. I use the body wash in the shower and follow with the lotion just before bed. The smell of my sheets is amazing! The body lotion is deeply hydrating with a marine blend of red algae combined with Vitamin E. Love these both as well as the matching scrub!
Finally, a pillow I can sleep on without being all crunched up! The JuveRest Pillow has really helped with my neck pain, it has both neck support for sleeping on your back and side support for sleeping on your side. It is even supposed to help prevent wrinkles! I highly recommend it for side sleepers like me. Read my full review here.
How do you relax? Do you have any tips for the rest of us? Do share!