Hi guys! Can you believe we’re already well into September? This has been such a full year! It’s hard to believe so much has been packed into just a few months, and this year is not over yet. Whether you’ve had a lot of good experiences this year or have gone through loss, we can all agree that there’s been a lot going on. It can be enough to make your head spin. Life is happening, and it’s coming at all of us fast. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been stressed out at some point this year, and ways to de-stress can be a little hard to come by. It can be hard to figure out where to start – especially if you’ve been highly stressed for a long time. Let me help with that!
I wanted to take the time to think about and try about different ways to wind down and reconnect with peace. Let me tell you, some didn’t work at all. *insert facepalm emoji here* Some, though, were AMAZING. So, I’m sharing them here in hopes of giving you all some good options to de-stress and relax – even in the midst of the chaos.
Here are my top five tried and true tips to de-stress. They’re very simple, but sometimes simple is best.
#1 TAKE A DEEP BREATH
I did say these would be super simple, right? There have been times when I’ve gotten so overwhelmed that I could barely speak – where I’ve felt like I needed an immediate escape or I wouldn’t make it to then next moment, let alone the next day. So, you know what I did? I found a quiet place to sit down (usually a bathroom because… #MomLife), closed my eyes and breathed. I blocked everything out as best as I could and focused on my breathing – deep breathing – in through my nose and out through my mouth. Focused and slow intentional deep breathing has been the method that works the fastest for me to calm down and de-stress. I’ve found it so relaxing that I now do slow and intentional breathing even when I’m not stressed out. Sometimes, I also have my son do it with me. We’ll lay on our backs in the middle of the living room floor, close our eyes, and just breathe.
I cannot begin to emphasis the importance of prayer, faith, and a personal walk with the Lord Jesus. If there’s anything that you could ever do that will bring lasting peace in any situation, it’s accepting the salvation that only Jesus can bring. Being immersed in and understanding that kind of love – of someone unconditionally sacrificing themselves for you – and having the space to tell Him any and everything without judgment. Turning over the whole of your cares and frustrations and stress through prayer to the Lord brings an unexplainable peace no matter what is going on outside.
Another thing that has really stood out for me, especially during the past few months, is unplugging from news and social media. There’s nothing wrong with being well-informed and making sure that you’re understanding what’s going on in the world. But by now, we all know what 2020 has been like. It literally sounds like Jumanji outside everyday – political, systemic, and environmental chaos at every turn. Sometimes, taking a hiatus from social media is not just a good idea, it’s also vital to help you de-stress and keep moving. Taking a day or two (or more if you need it) away from watching the news and checking social media is not going to put you completely in the dark with what’s going on outside. Don’t be afraid to take that break, and re-focus that time on reconnecting with family and friends, spending more time in prayer, or doing other things that you enjoy.
This is HUGE. Self-care should be such an important part of normal living, and it’s a great way to de-stress. I think it’s becoming more mainstream now, but it was forgotten about for a long time. Taking time for self-care, even if just a few minutes a day, has a positive impact on the way you feel and can greatly help to reduce stress levels. It doesn’t take much, but when done consistently, it becomes something to look forward to. In my experience, that alone, having something to look forward to, has been an instant mood booster. To help give you some ideas, here are a few things that I like to do:
- Atmosphere: I run my essential oil diffuser every single day. I love the environment that it sets, and I’m using my favorite scents so the room(s) always smell amazing. Essential oils have wonderful health benefits. I recommend you do a quick Google search and read up on them. They can be used for wide range of things – much more than just to fill the room with a nice scent. In my diffuser though, my favorites to use everyday are tea tree and lemon. This is my diffuser of choice: https://amzn.to/2RjhatE. I love it because it works along with the essential oils as an air purifier, is a cool mist humidifier, and the reservoir is larger than other diffusers I’ve used, so I’m refilling it less often. Fill it with distilled water and several drops of your favorite essential oils, and you’re good to go. I pretty much leave mine running all day.
- Body Care: Three words – exfoliate, exfoliate, and moisturize. To exfoliate, my preference is a sugar scrub. I love the Tree Hut brand linked here: https://amzn.to/33q3faH. I also use an African bathing net from time to time, which also works great: https://amzn.to/35wWdU9. Because it’s so long, it does a great job to exfoliate hard to reach places across your back. Just stretch it out behind you, grab with both hands, and move from side to side. There’s also no need to purchase any additional cream or scrub when using the bathing net. Use your regular soap or body wash, and the bathing net takes care of the exfoliating. I try to exfoliate at least 2 to 3 times a week. I promise, you’ll love the way your skin feels afterwards. For moisturizing, I have two old favorites. I use the classic cocoa butter lotion from Palmer’s most of the time: https://amzn.to/3iy4ivO. When I’m feeling a little fancier, I reach for a lotion from Soap & Glory: https://amzn.to/35BuTnR. I also absolutely LOVE their ‘Heel Genius’ foot cream and ‘Hand Food’ hand cream. They’re staple products for me. I always have spares on hand.
- Skin Care: There’s something so spa-like and relaxing about having on a face mask. Whether it’s a clay mask, sheet mask, or peel-off mask, my skin looks and feels better after I use one, and I feel better about myself for taking the time to do something just for me. My son certainly doesn’t care if my skin is dry or or if I have a breakout, but I do! This is just a little thing that I do at least once a week that transports me to the spa (even if just in my mind) and pays dividends to the look and feel of my skin, in my opinion.
#5 HEALTHY HABITS
Another thing that can make an impact on stress levels, and just your mood in general, is what you eat and how much, or how little, you’re moving your body. I had definitely been moving a lot less since I started working from home. I’m not walking downstairs anymore to check on work on the floor. I’m not walking the halls to get to other people’s offices or conference rooms. So, I had to be more intentional about what I could do to get and keep my body moving to at least the same level as I was before I started working from home. I’m still figuring out which workouts I like and the best routine for me, but even something as simple as just going outside to take a walk has been great. Find a good workout to do or take a nice long walk at least 4 to 5 times a week.
Pay attention to what you’re putting inside of your body. How much water are you drinking? What are you eating? Chips and ice cream are delicious and I certainly indulge, but I’m working on indulging less often, and replacing them with other things. I like having my coffee in the mornings, but I don’t drink a lot (I only brew 8 ounces) and I don’t have it everyday. I’m focusing more on drinking water to stay hydrated, or having something like BodyArmor, especially after a workout. I also have quite the tea collection. There’s nothing like a warm cup of tea and honey to de-stress and relax after a long day. As far as what I’m eating, I’ve learned that that it is much easier to stay on track with better eating habits if you batch prep or meal prep ahead of time. I’m trying to make vegetables the star of the show with a protein on the side instead of the other way around. I’ve also switched to a new multivitamin. I’ve been using this one from SimplyOne for about 3 months now; it’s made a drastic difference in my energy levels and the way I feel overall (they make a blend for men as well): https://amzn.to/3irFbKN. Don’t judge my chewables, ok. I avoid swallowing pills like the plague. Never liked having to do it… but SimplyOne does make their vitamins in the pill form as well.
Last but not least, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. You may have to play around with it a little bit. Some people are fine with 7 hours of sleep, and some people need 9 in order to function. Figure out what your body needs, and make sure that you’re giving it that every day. Lack of sleep can have negative impacts on not only your mood, but your physical and mental health overall as well.
What do you do to de-stress? Is there anything else you can add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
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