When we think of summer, it’s the scent of freshly mowed grass, the crack of bat hitting baseball and the feeling of sand in between our toes that come to mind — not stress. But the warmer months can be chockfull of demands on our time. If you’re feeling a bit burnt out between shuttling the kids to swimming lessons, mowing the lawn, and making desserts for the local community or church celebration, consider taking a moment to yourself to de-stress. These methods can help:
Breathe deeply. Taking slow, mindful breaths slows your heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Set aside a few undisturbed minutes to just breathe.
If you’ve never done breathing exercises before, start by sitting or standing up straight. Close your eyes, if it feels natural to you. Inhale slowly through your nose, focusing on filling your abdomen. You want your belly — not the upper part of your chest — to expand the most. Slowly exhale through your mouth.
Want to build up this particular relaxation skill? Consider taking a meditation or deep breathing class. Akanishta Kadampa Buddhist Center explains how to create a sacred space for such pursuits in “Refresh your meditation practice.”
Enjoy essential oils. Aromatherapy contains the word “therapy” for a reason; certain scents can sooth. Lavender and chamomile are perhaps the best known relaxation oils, but also consider diffusing ylang ylang, frankincense, bergamot, or other essential oils in your living and working spaces.
Get active. A quick walk on your lunch break or a few good stretches can boost endorphins — the feel-good hormones your body produces — thereby reducing stress. Stuck in the office? Read up becoming a better “computer athlete” in part 2 of Jade Bunk’s “Thriving in the modern world.”
Eat right. Did you know that vitamin C can work as a stress buster? According to WebMD, “Studies suggest this vitamin can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system.” Time to load up on those oranges!
Looking for other simple ways to incorporate wellness into your life? This month’s issue of Nature’s Pathways has plenty healthy inspiration to share. Debbie Armstrong offers “Surprising alternatives for treating headaches,” while Nikki Cohen-Wichner helps guide us through “Adventures in self-awareness.”
Remember: Every little healthy step you take matters!