Finding the time to unwind from your daily stressors doesn’t need to be hard. Try these simple ideas out, and find yourself loving life again in no time.
In one way or another, everyone deals with stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, stress can impact every area of our lives, and we now know that health issues are connected to long-term stress.
And when our bodies are under consistent, chronic stress, our physical and mental well-being is impacted.
It’s challenging to manage all of the stressors life throws our way, yet we don’t take enough time to care for ourselves. Stress can manifest as both physical and emotional symptoms – whether it’s fatigue, poor concentration, digestive issues, mood disorders, or autoimmune diseases.
Our lives are busier than ever, which is why it’s more important than ever to break allow our mind and body the time to rest and recover. Luckily, there’s a growing awareness about the benefits of stress reduction. Our happiness and our ability to thrive increases when we learn the tools to manage stress.
A great tool? You may have heard of this little thing called self-care.
Consistent, small acts of self-care make the biggest difference in lowering the body’s stress response and improving well-being. These practices help us cope with stress, boost mood, and manage illness especially when life feels tough or overwhelming.
While the term self-care has become popular and trendy, there are some misconceptions about what it has to be. Self-care doesn’t mean shelling out cash to jet set to the Caribbean, going on a yoga retreat to Bali, or spending the day at an expensive spa. It can simply just be getting a manicure, going for a massage, or out to a nice dinner with friends.
That can be one side of the spectrum, whereas the other end of the spectrum may look completely different. Think grocery shopping, staying organized with your time, creating your planning meals ahead, and going to bed early.
But in the day-to-day, if you’re feeling run down and need a break, you may want to cozy up at home and simply take time for yourself. It isn’t glamorous, it just has to feel good. These cozy activities can still have a positive impact on your health, and you can do it all at home.
Plus, they won’t have to break the bank. Here’s how you can get started.
1. Create a calming environment.
Self-care at home is all about creating a calming environment, so it’s a good idea to tidy up a few spaces, such as your living room and kitchen, so you can truly find some relaxation. Create relaxation by turning off the T.V., putting away your cell phone, turning on your essential oil diffuser, and lighting a few candles.
Try a face mask in the evening while you read or wind down for bed to add some fun and indulgence while giving your skin a little extra love. If this isn’t your thing – then skip it! This is all about what helps you relax.
2. Try a few calming yoga poses
If you’ve never practiced yoga, don’t worry! Here are two positions that anyone can do:
Supta Badha Konasana (bound angle pose)
Lay down flat on your spine. Place the soles of your feet together, knees open wide. For a more relaxed pose, place blocks or pillows under your knees for extra support. Close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths. The pose is said to help promote deep relaxation, while stretching the low back and inner thighs.
Viparita Kaani (legs up the wall)
Lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as comfortable. From there, you extend your legs up the all, so that the back of our legs are resting fully against it. Close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths. Consider staying in this position for 5-10 minutes, but there are benefits for just a few minutes too. This position helps the mind quiet and is calming on the nervous system.
3. Cook a nourishing meal
There’s no better way to care for yourself than to cook a simple, delicious meal to enjoy at home. Eating balanced meals can help combat the body’s stress response, so it’s important to get in all the food groups like protein, carbs, veggies and fat. Remember, this is a self-care day so no need to make a long, complex recipe. Turn on your favorite music or podcast to listen to while you make a cozy meal.
4. End with a luxurious bath
Some research studies show that taking a bath can be helpful in improving the participant’s fatigue, stress and mood. Hot baths can make you feel sleepy, so consider doing this before going to bed.
Take your bath to the next level: Add a few drops of essential oils to the water (like lavender), light a few candles and dim the lights. Add a bath bomb to the water to make it extra soothing.
Enjoy your evening, my friend!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: WILLIAM KARL
Jessica Patel, RDN, LDN is a Chicago-based private practice dietitian who helps others connect with good food through simple, healthful cooking techniques. With a love for wholesome, natural food, Jessica uses a holistic-minded approach to nutrition to help her clients stay healthy through the healing power of nourishing foods. Visit her at Well Fed Nutrition.