With the looming knowledge that the world is in the middle of a global pandemic, life can feel more stressful now than ever before.
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It can be hugely taxing on the mind and body to think about the impacts of COVID and social distancing, not to mention that all of life's usual stressors from work to grocery shopping to taking care of the kids are still present as well. It can feel like too much to handle, and it's hard to get out of a rut when you're used to being stuck in this huge ball of stress. But de-stressing and finding ways to relax is really important, especially since stress is known to weaken the immune systemand if you get sick that certainly won't help the matter. Next time you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, try one of these ways to relax that, with a little bit of practice, can boost your well-being practically anywhere, anytime.
And once you feel comfortable incorporating these little acts of levity into your lifestyle, you'll notice a huge change in how you feel, both physically and mentally. If you're ruled by your to-do list, it's time to learn the art of anything goes.
Contradictory as it sounds, you have to schedule spontaneity, at least at first, says life coach Cheryl Richardson, author of The Art of Extreme Self-Care. Plan a plan-free day: Put it on your calendar in pen! Whatever you feel like doing that day, do it—no chores or "responsible" tasks allowed.
Wake up and then go right back to bed. Watch a Real Housewives marathon. Spend an embarrassing amount of time on Facebook. Go solo to see that new rom-com your husband scoffs at. Give yourself permission to spend the whole day doing exactly whatever you want, and see how improved your mood is by the end of it.
Two tennis balls in a tube sock is all you need for a DIY deep-tissue massage. Kristy Yazzi, a massage therapist at Canyon Ranch wellness center in Tucson, Arizona, advises: Lie down on the floor or in bed and place it under your lower back with the balls positioned on each side of your spine. Using a slow, continuous movement, roll your body back and forth toward your head and then toward your feetletting the tennis balls knead your muscles.
And go ahead treat yourself for a job well done with the money you would've given your massage therapist as a tip. You spend so much of childhood thinking about growing up, but take a minute in your adult life to go back to being a. For a guaranteed mood lift, do whatever it was that gave you joy before teen angst changed your world view. Think of a few things you couldn't live without when you were that age.
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Who cares if it's age-inappropriate? That's the point! Solo dance party for one, please. Don't have a quiet spot to get Zen? You don't need it. Try mindful meditation, the simple practice of moment-to-moment awareness to quiet the mind and calm the body.
Say you're cutting up veggies for dinner. With each chop, really notice the crunch and vibrant color of the carrots and peppers. Heading out for a walk? Let the rhythm of your footfalls put you in a meditative state. If you need an extra hand to find your happy, peaceful place, Dr. Steinmetz recommends listening to guided imagery recordings by psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek.
Got extra coupons? Offer them to the people in the checkout line behind you. It feels good to do good—and acts of kindness even mini ones totally count toward your lifetime karma points. When you apply moisturizer, gently massage the muscles along your jawline, under your ears, in a circular motion. It's easy to find the spot: Clench your jaw and it'll pop right out.
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Rid yourself of that stuck-in-a-rut feeling by throwing a wrench into your daily routine. Look for opportunities to make those precious moments happen—and we really do mean moments. Spend just five minutes on the phone with a friend you haven't talked to in a while, take the dog for a late-afternoon bonus walk around the block, take a more scenic route on your drive home from work once in a while.
There's a reason grandes dames like Carol or your sassy great-aunt are so unflappable: Everyday annoyances are no big whoop when you've been there, done that. Baker explains. You'll get there too…eventually. Until then, try to adopt that "so what" attitude whenever you feel yourself getting riled up about something small. You'll be amazed at how well it works. Remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams?
What you say and how you say it steers your state of mind. So when a friend asks, "How are you? Instead, say how you want to feel as if you already do "I'm fantastic! You know you could use it, but you insist on powering through your day anyway. Your brain needs a breather in much the same way your muscles do when you are working out.
There's definitely a point where overdoing it le to diminishing returns.
A little shuteye clears the fog and reenergizes you to tackle your daily tasks much more effectively. But be sure to limit your mid-afternoon snooze to 20 or 30 minutes set an alarm just in caseDr. Sahni says.
Quick stress relief
Any longer and "sleep drunkenness" will make it difficult to rouse from your nap and hard to fall asleep at bedtime. Toss your covers aside, bend your knees, bring them to your chest and hug them close to your body with your arms. Hold the pose for 20 to 50 seconds, then release and repeat, Yazzi says.
This stretch hits all the muscles in your body— and it feels great. What better way to start the day? Kids get a break during the school day. Why shouldn't you get one too? So head out to your backyard, plop down on the grass and just chill. One huge advantage of the great outdoors: no power outlets.
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Just you and nature. Natural environments turn down the static of everyday life, wake up your senses and calm the constantly whirring frontal lobes of your brain. You spend your days caring for everyone else, and you know where that leaves you?
At the very end of the line. It's time to give yourself permission to cut the line for your own TLC—and don't be stingy about it. Doctor's orders. There are tons of free yoga tutorials and classes available online that range from 10 minutes of stretching to an hour of more intense poses. Listen to how your body is feeling, and take a class that best suits what you need for the day. Yoga has tons of health and wellness benefits including increased flexibility and improved energy levelsaccording to the American Osteopathic Association. So it's never a bad time to start practicing.
There's no bad way to pamper yourself, so follow your gut and do whatever your body is craving most. Maybe it's a mani-pedi this is a good time to hone your skills of painting with your non-dominant hand or a face mask. There are tons of easy recipes to make face masks at home that will leave your skin glowing and hydrated.
Or, if you're feeling extra into your pampering party, have fun going through a whole skincare routine from cleansing to toning to moisturizing and more!