Our often chaotic lives create a huge amount of stress, a lot of which is unavoidable. Stress has become such a normal part of daily living that it’s easy to forget how important it is to take a step back and relax. Headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression and digestive issues are just some of the effects that stress can have on our body and mind. Stress is also a risk factor for many chronic diseases. Here are 5 easy ways to de-stress:
1. Reconnect With Nature
Many of us are guilty of spending too much time indoors, both at home and at work. But nature is all around us and you don’t even have to go very far to find it; even sitting in your garden for a few minutes can help you to relax and wind down from a stressful day. Spending time outdoors has a huge positive impact on our emotional well-being, and even our physical health can be improved by connecting with nature. In fact, ‘Ecotherapy’ (outdoor activities in nature which aim to improve physical and emotional health) is recognised as a treatment programme for mental health by the Mind charity. Living in Cornwall, we have an abundance of beautiful landscapes right on our doorstep, providing the perfect opportunity to de-stress and promote calmness.
2. Explore Essential Oils
A number of herbal remedies have been associated with improved mood and a reduction in stress, including lavender, chamomile and rose. These can be administered either by inhalation or through the skin as a balm. An Aromatherapist can discuss the best oils for you to use and how best to use them, and you can even book in for an Aromatherapy Massage for a relaxing experience. Click here to find out more about our Aromatherapy services.
3. Have a Massage
Massage can help relax tight and painful muscles, improve range of motion in the joints, enhance circulation and lower stress levels. It’s a relaxing and calming experience which will leave you feeling refreshed and calm. When combined with aromatherapy (as mentioned above), the stress-relieving benefits of massage are even greater. There are various types of massages available, each designed to help with different conditions. Indian Head Massage, for example, is especially beneficial for stress and anxiety by encouraging the supply of oxygen to the brain and relieving tension in the head, neck and shoulders. Find out more about Aromatherapy Massage or Indian Head Massage.
4. Learn Breathing Techniques
Breathing is a natural and instinctive function that occurs without much thought, but improper breathing can upset the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, and other physical and emotional disturbances. When we’re feeling stressed or anxious, our breathing can often become rapid and shallow, which can then contribute to further anxiety and stress as we’re not getting enough oxygen into our bodies. Regulating your breath with breathing exercises can help to calm you down, and even the very act of focusing on your breathing is a great grounding and mindfulness technique.
5. Make Dietary & Lifestyle Changes
Stress may be unavoidable sometimes, but often our lifestyle choices can have a detrimental effect on our well-being and how we react to stress. Alcohol, sugar and caffeine have all been shown to increase anxiety and agitation, making us less able to cope with the everyday stresses of life. Additionally, a lack of exercise has a huge impact on both our physical and mental health. Making small changes to your diet (such as replacing your tea & coffee with de-caf, reducing your alcohol intake and switching to low-sugar food alternatives), as well as increasing the amount of exercise you do can help to improve stress levels.