Hello, everyone and HAPPY SPRING!
The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, and I couldn’t be happier for the new season. However, it seems like our lives have never been busier! Anybody else feel this way? With work, school, pets, kids, friends, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, chores, errands, hobbies you want to try, bills you have to pay, deadlines you have to meet, dresses you want to fit into–UGH! It can all be too much sometimes. And you deserve to take care of yourself. I like to think of my self-care time as rewarding my body and mind for all that it does for me 24/7.
So let’s talk about it for a second. STRESS. Everyone experiences it and the ways to relieve it are so personal and varied, but I wanted to give you an insight on my own tried and true methods.
- I always connected incense to acts of praise in churches or to create an atmosphere in a yoga studio or spa, but never researched the benefits behind the burning. Similar to essential oils, certain scents have their own benefit. Did you know to relieve stress, sandalwood and cedarwood are great because they both reduce your heart rate and sooth nerves? Who knew? Now you do. If you’re looking for some accessible and affordable ($1.99 at my local Fred Meyer) incense sticks to start out with, check out these by GONESH that I have been loving.
- I’m not sure what all I can write here to convince you guys that this really helps me in lifting my mood and will benefit you as well. I think it’s the same reason that we crave warm soup when we’re sick and why we live for those moments wrapping ourselves in a blanket straight out of the dryer–because warmth is that comfort. I love this particular one from the brand Yogi because it’s yummy (nobody likes those diluted teas, am I right?), but also because of how the blend of lavender and honey make me feel. Lavender is known to reduce stress and anxiety and even improve sleep and brain function. What else can you ask of your tea?
3. Meditate & Practicing Affirmations
- I cannot even begin to express the ways in which meditation has saved my soul. I mean every word of that. I had always heard about it and skeptically always brushed it off. Where have I been? Not meditating and being miserable, that’s where. That may be a slight exaggeration, but you follow me. Who knew that sitting still in silence and being present would help relieve so much stress?
- The other part of this method of stress-relief involves the affirmations. I began to experiment with these when I watched The Secret a few years back. However, practicing 5-10 min of affirmations at the beginning of my day is almost essential for me now. Sometimes I practice affirmations in place of meditation if I’m running behind. Regardless, I love this time to say these affirming statements of self-love, awareness, and optimism because they make me feel as though what I’m saying is practically reality. The statements go from being desires and thoughts to strong statements in the sound of your own voice. There’s something very profound in that. Here are some of my favorites that I constantly go back to.
4. Art Therapy
- This is actually a thing guys. Let me give you a bit of necessary tidbits; creative expression can be achieved through some therapeutic and creative activities, it helps with reducing stress and anxiety, and provides a meditative state in which you really have no choice but to participate in. I love how this article about the benefits of art therapy put it–“Unplugging from technology promotes creation over consumption.” I have always been a creative, so when I don’t work with my hands on something colorful like sketching or even ripping my favorite pages from a magazine for a mood board, I basically lose my marbles. I got this ‘adult’ coloring book a while ago and have been immersed in it recently. So much so, that hours go by and I am so consumed by what I am working on that I don’t even notice. I really love this method of stress-relief because there is a beautiful and colorful result at the end, and because I am so concentrated on the colors I am choosing and how it’s all looking. Honestly, I have no choice but to be the most present that I can be and all other worries naturally fall to the wayside. Check out the progress I have made on this piece!
I very much sincerely hope that you found these helpful and that you find yourself inspired to implement any–or all!–of these methods into your lifestyle. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Until the next post,