Stress isn’t fun for anyone, especially when it begins impacting your mood, sleep, or relationships. Whether you’re experiencing work stress, or stress related to something else, it’s important to treat yourself every once in a while. Are you nodding your head in agreement? Do you desperately need a mental vacation? Try these 10 relaxation strategies!
1.) Give Yourself Permission to Laugh
You’ve probably heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” Scientifically, this claim is accurate. Laughter reduces muscle tension and releases mood-boosting hormones into the bloodstream. If you’re feeling worn down from stress, seek out things that make you laugh. Try watching a funny movie, comedy skit, or playing if your kids.
2.) Enjoy Nature
Enjoying nature is a great way of giving yourself a mental vacation. In nature, there’s fresh air, big trees, and perhaps even some wildlife. Whether you’re able to go to a National Park or just the park in your neighborhood, spending time in nature is a great relaxation strategy.
3.) Practice Gratitude
While it may sound cliche, practicing gratitude helps you to relax. Nothing is better at clearing the mind than saying thank you and expressing that to those around you. Research from Harvard shows that psychologically, showing gratitude is directly associated with happiness.
4.) Listen to Music
Listening to music is a great way to give yourself a mental vacation. Whether you’re a music fan or not, studies show that listening to music positively impacts mood and reduces anxiety. No matter what your taste in music looks like, turn it up and de-stress.
Practicing meditation has been found to have a calming effect on those experiencing stress. Putting yourself into a quiet headspace, for even just 5 minutes a day, promotes self-reflection, relaxation, and is calming.
6.) Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods is not only good for your body, but it is also uplifting to your mental health. Eating leafy greens, omega-3’s, and colorful vegetables help your body to maintain homeostasis, allowing it to perform at its highest level.
While exercise may require movement, it does give you a mental vacation as well. Exercise releases mood-boosting hormones, reduces stress, and can even alleviate anxiety.
8.) Take a Bath
Treat yourself! Light some candles, get out a bath bomb, and read a book while taking a bath. Taking a bath helps to release muscle tensions and reduces inflammation – what a great way to give yourself a little mental vacation!
9.) Get a Massage
Getting a massage, either from a massage therapist or from a significant other, is a great way to relax. Oftentimes, we carry our stress in our neck and back, which can lead to inflammation and stiff muscles; massage is a great way to both relax and help your body.
10.) Light Candles
Nowadays, candles are made with more natural ingredients and therapeutic essential oils. If you want to create a more relaxing atmosphere, light candles! Choose candles with essential oils that promote relaxation, like lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and orange blossom.
Time to Relax
Any of these relaxation strategies can help you to reduce stress. Remember, you deserve a mental vacation, so kick back and employ any of these strategies – you’ll be on your way to a happier and healthier self.