16 Simple Practices That Calm Me Down
I love lists and by the popularity of sites like Buzzfeed & Listverse millions of other people do too! Lists have this great quality of making you feel accomplished whether you mentally or physically check off things you’ve done, places you’ve been, or task you’ve completed on your daily to-do list.
Today’s list is personal and hopefully will lend some inspiration to you for relaxing during the stressful seasons of life. I’ve put my list in descending order so you will see number one at the bottom.
16. My Morning Routine
I wake up, fix my hair and put makeup on. This is a 10 minute process for me, considering that my sunscreen is most of my makeup. I then grab my phone, journal and sit down on my yoga mat in a quiet spot and listen to a guided meditation, stretch, and write down 10 things I am grateful for. When I am done, I make and eat cinnamon toast and enjoy tea or hot lemon water.
15. A Cup of Tea
A good cup of tea is so calming. I drink a lot of tea at work. It helps me chill out when the deadlines get crazy.
14. Listening to Podcasts
I really like to consume information and listening to podcasts while I work calms my mind. I appreciate listening to people who have something to share and teach.
13. Going Home for Lunch
I know this sounds irrelevant to most people but hear me out. I designed my work commute around the idea that I could travel home for lunch each day. That means I live 2 miles from my office. Having that break in the middle of my day is so valuable to me. I make a healthy meal and in the summertime can even swim in my pool. This was a big lifestyle decision for me.
12. A hike or dinner (or even a phone call) with my Girlfriends
Bonding, venting, laughing, crying, and laughing some more. Anything with my closest friends makes me feel human again. Connecting and realizing that we all struggle with the same things gives me perspective and a good jolt of humor just when I need it. Time with friends is so important to me, so while I don’t do it often, as I am an introvert, when I do the effects last for weeks.
I am an artist and doing anything with my hands allows me to experience flow. I recently picked up knitting and love the meditative state it provides. I’ve also recently learned that picking up a new habit every 5 years is fundamental to brain health.
10. Evening Hikes with my Lab, Grizzly
I try to escape to one of my favorite “out of the way” parks near my house for a hike once a week. I take Griz and let him run free. It’s nice because he get such awesome exercise when the park is empty and I can hike at a slower pace and enjoy the beauty in the surroundings. These hikes aren’t about the calorie burn, they are about the peace I get from being surrounded by nature.
Living outside for an entire weekend is a balm to my nerves. I also get to disconnect because most of the campgrounds my boyfriend and I camp in don’t have cell service. A hike, good book, wine, and hearty meal under the stars hit the restart button for me.
8. Weekend with My Family
My immediate family lives within a 4 hour radius, which is nice because it used be more like 24 hours. So I make an effort to see my parents, siblings, and niece and nephew on a very consistent basis. Our relationships give me peace. We play games and just generally check out when we are together and that is meaningful to my stress levels.
7. A Weekend Trip, Alone
As I have mentioned before, I am an introvert and very independent. I honor both by traveling alone. Lately, weekend trips are all I can fit in but it’s often enough to recharge my creativity and make me miss my boyfriend and pup!
I struggle with not only tension headaches but also migraines, monthly massages have regulated my headaches and improved my stress levels. When I get a massage, afterward I feel like I drank a bottle of wine without the crappy after effects of a hangover and hurting my body!
Yoga has changed my life. I started practicing 6 years ago and my stress-levels, sore muscles and flexibility have improved. Yoga has also improved my ability to breathe, run longer distances, and be more mindful. I practice yoga about 4-5 times a week and appreciate the mind-body workout. A new study out explains that Yoga might even change your DNA and improve your chances of avoiding diseases like cancer. Check this study out! Exciting stuff!!
4. A Hot Shower by Candlelight
Do I even need to explain this? A hot shower cures just about everything. It’s a luxury I am grateful for everyday. The steam and dreamy light prepare me for sleep.
The second I feel stress coming on, I thank the “Papa” (my name for God, the deity, I believe in) for all the good that is in my life. I have a gratitude journal that I write in daily.
Sleep is one of my favorite hobbies. I am not kidding. I am a champ at sleeping. I urge you to change your mindset around sleep if you think it is a waste of time. Sleep allows your body and brain to repair itself. Need more of an argument on why sleep is so important? Check out my previous blog post on the 9 Reason Why You Need More Sleep, Now!
Reading is my number one for three reasons: 1. My quest for knowledge, even if I am reading a fiction, just-for-fun-book, it improves my vocabulary. 2. I experience flow when I read and the world disappears for a few moments while I am immersed in learning or a totally different world. 3. It puts me to sleep!
Make Your Own List
I encourage you to make your own list of stress-relieving activities and use it to help you when you feel anxious, uncomfortable, frustrated and just generally overwhelmed by stress. Stress is so hard on our bodies and if building a simple list can save you from brain fog, inflammatory disease, and physical discomfort, why not do it?
Remember, my list has big and small things I can do to de-stress so if you aren’t in the position to travel alone or book massages all the time, find the simple pleasures you enjoy and that relieve stress. A cup of tea and lighting a candle is often just enough to make me feel in control again.
Please let me know what your favorite ways to relax are!