A relaxed face is a pretty face, right? Sure, yeah. But that’s easier said than done for a lot of us.
It’s August—a time when people go to the beach, sleep in, and show up late to work—but if my horoscope is any indication (and it usually is), this is not going to be a quiet month for me. With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to share five of my 10 favorite ways to reduce stress naturally and healthily, and I really hope you guys share yours in the comments, too.
(I’ll do another five soon, but I’m too stressed to write them all out now.)
1. Breeeeeeeeeeathe. Blah, blah, blah—but it’s true. When you slow down your breath, your nervous system gets a signal that it’s OK to relax, which then tells the rest of your body to take it down a thousand. Then, as if by magic, your mind quiets down. We all know this is true, and I think it’s just one of those things we need to hear over and over again until it clicks and we start doing it when we need it most.
2. Use the quiet moments to plan for the, um, noisier one. I know I have a hectic month ahead of me, so I’ve been trying to take the calm periods after work and on the weekend to recharge my batteries so that when the sh*t hits the fan, as it inevitably will, I’m better able to deal (or duck, as the case may be). You probably all have different ways of doing this. For me lately it’s been spending time with people who make me feel good and who I love, meditating, hanging out in nature (even when that “nature” is a litter-strewn public park) and—eeks!—making collages. I’ve been making art! The nice thing about collages is at the end, you have a thing. You made it! With your hands! Very calming, somehow.
3. Use aromatherapy. Last week I had a wonderful session with Hope Gillerman (which I will write more about soon) and she taught me about her incredibly concentrated and wonderful line of organic aromatherapy. Her collection has been a cult hit for some time, and I was delighted to finally learn about it. I gravitated naturally to the stress remedy, which smelled nothing like the little janky bottle of lavender I keep by my bed at home. I have found her blends to be incredibly effective at taking the edge off. Alexandra and I also like Hope’s tension remedy, which we find less sedating than the stress one; perfect for when you need to focus on the go but you don’t want to lose your mind.
4. Also, use flower essences. Flower essences are going to have to get their own post, too, because they’re special and widely misunderstood, but the gist is: Certain flowers contain certain properties that, when grown organically and distilled by people who know what they’re doing, can impart certain qualities to the person who ingests them. What I find especially interesting about them is that they are working on root causes. Lavender is great when you’re actually freaking out, and I’ve been using Lotus Wei flower essences to target the deeper things that make peace of mind more challenging. I learned about this just a few weeks ago, when I had a wonderful lunch with Katie Hess of Lotus Wei and Lisa Reinhardt of Wei of Chocolate. Meeting women like this is what makes my job (“job”) worthwhile, no question. I especially like Pure Energy and Infinite Love in chocolate and mist and elixir form. You can go to their sites and see which ones might work best for you, too.
5. Be a little irresponsible (but don’t hurt anyone, and don’t get arrested). This one’s as important as the others, in my opinion. Yes, it’s great to be Buddha on the mountain when things are hard, but sometimes what you really need is to take life a little less seriously and have FUN. Maybe you could lie around in bed with a bodysuit on, a bottle of something brown, and some records? I don’t know. I just liked the picture. I look at it and I think, “That looks awesome.” And very, very relaxing.
What are your favorite ways to beat stress? And have you tried the ones listed here? Your answers will help us, too, so share!