How To: De-Stress

Most people deal with stress and anxiety in their day-to-day lives. It's awful and it sucks but a lot of us feel it. I feel it all the time. I'm so tense and high-strung all the time that I get back pain just from being constantly tense (I would get a massage, if the idea of a massage didn't give me anxiety). Do you see what I mean? Worrying and constantly dealing with our inner-voice running a marathon in our brains can leave us feeling worn out. This is going to be a collection of things that I have found work for me. When I feel like I just want to curl up in a ball and cry, or when I feel like I can't breathe and I'm on the brink of having some sort of full-fledged anxiety attack or when I'm just feeling flustered or frustrated. I'm currently dealing with some school-related stress.

Hopefully one of these things can help you! 

1. Take A Bath - This is probably one of my number one fixes, something about soaking in hot water just makes everything feel OK. It's soothing and it helps with my muscle tension. Light some candles, and throw in a Lush bath bomb or a bubble bar. I also have one of those bath boards that sits across my tub, so I can read or I can watch Netflix on my iPad. Honestly, sometimes I even do homework in the bath (but I wouldn't recommend that for relaxing)! 

2. Read or Watch a Movie - For some people this works and for some people it doesn't. It's just a way to really get your brain focusing on something else, other than what is currently stressing you out. Reading for me is the best because it's such an involved experience. If you aren't a big reader, or you are just too scatter-brained to read, watch a movie. I prefer feel good movies for this, so if I'm in a bad mood or feeling anxious, I watch a kid's movie or a chick flick. I love Pixar (or other animated films) and one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies is "Legally Blonde".

3. Clean - This is another one that might not work for everyone. Sometimes if my apartment is too messy, it just adds to how anxious I am feeling. It's extremely unfortunate because I'm not the most organized person ever. Let's get real, my bathroom is usually an explosion of clothes and beauty products (I'm working on this!!!). If you are a clean freak, this can definitely help. You always feel good after everything is clean and fresh and scrubbing your counter tops can be really therapeutic.

4. Yoga - Yoga has gotten pretty big in the last 5 years or so. I am definitely a yoga newbie, I've never taken a class and I can't give much advice on it. I don't do yoga daily, I just do it at home in my living room, a couple times a week.There's a reason people like it so much, it's sooo good for you, in more ways than one. You're getting in exercise, you're strengthening your body, you're stretching and relaxing and when you're done, you feel amazing. I recommend using the app "Yoga Studio". I can't remember exactly but it's in the $3-$4 range. It's worth it if you are interested in yoga and have no idea what you're doing. Especially if you are just looking to do it at home and aren't ready or wanting to take a class. It offers tons of classes, ranging anywhere from 4 mins to an hour and they offer everything from beginner to advanced, yoga for relaxation, yoga for back pain, etc. I see improvements in my mood when I use it and even 15 minutes of yoga makes my arms sore!

5. Meditation - Meditation is something that gets talked about a lot but not actually done. This one is pretty recent to me after I did some reading up on it. The act of intentionally clearing our minds and practicing mindfulness can really help with our stress levels. I am also such a newbie at this, I've been using another app (I know, I know, I just really love apps). It's called "Calm". The app offers all kinds of awesome scenery sounds (think rain, the ocean, summer meadows, a fireplace, etc.). They also offer a "7 Days of Calm" meditation, it's 10 minutes a day and it's a guided meditation that teaches you the basics and helps to get you started. The app has TONS of other meditations for anything and everything you can think of - but there is a membership fee, I believe $30 or $40 a year. I haven't taken the plunge to purchase the membership yet but I'm considering it. 

6. Magnesium Supplement - The original "Chill Pill". I have to put in a little disclaimer here, some people don't like or believe in taking supplements and a lot of times there is insufficient evidence in some of the claims that they make. I'm not a doctor, so I can't give medical advice. If you are having serious issues with anxiety, depression or stress you should seek the help of your physician. I started taking a Magnesium supplement after I heard that it can help with your stress levels. Maybe it's all in my head, but I feel like when I am taking it, it really helps me to feel more relaxed. Magnesium is important for a lot of functions within our bodies, it helps with growth and maintenance of our bones, it's required for the proper function of nerves and muscles, it can also help neutralize stomach acid and help with bowel movements. The majority of people are mildly deficient in it. Fibrous foods typically contain magnesium, so that's a good place to start if you wish to supplement those foods into your diet to gain the nutrient naturally. Here is a list of foods containing magnesium. I will also include a couple of articles (one from WebMD and one from Psychology Today), if you wish to do some more reading. The supplement I take is a powdered supplement, in a lemon flavor, it's very similar to Emergen-C (if you've taken one of those before). I'm not a huge fan of powdered products, so I add it into my smoothies and I can't even taste it! You can get the one I use at Vitacost. It comes in a variety of different flavors.

What are your favorite fixes for stress? 

- C

* I am not affiliated with any of the apps mentioned, they are apps I discovered on my own and paid my own money for! (:

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