April is National Stress Awareness Month and this April seems more stressful than any April has before! Is anyone else experiencing drastic life changes lately? I feel like every week a different area of my life is being flipped upside down on it's head, and practicing stress reduction techniques are more important than ever for me!
I am the type of person that masseuses constantly ask me what I've done to my body to make it so tight… you see I've struggled with high anxiety since I was a little girl and in general, my body does not carry stress very well. I have to practice regular self care to ward off panic attacks, headaches, and muscle spasms. Needless to say, stress reduction and self care are very important topics to me.
1. Spa week! Across the country from April 11-17 is National Spa week! Many spa's offer services at deep discounts! Check out what's happening near you and snag one of these great deals while they last. I've experienced some amazing spa's using Spa week and Spa month (we will get to that in the summer!) specials.
2. Laugh. Who doesn't love a good laugh? According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter is a great stress reliever and alleviates tension in the body while boosting our overall mood. Watch a funny tv show, catch up with an old friend, or give your cat some catnip and watch the hilarity ensue
3. Yoga. What I love about yoga is how it combines both meditate to physical exercise. When I first began meditating I needed to lock my mind on something, and mantras weren't doing it for me. The practice of yoga allowed me to connect my mind to the movement of my body and breath. Inhaling my arms and exhaling them down taught me to breathe normally again. As someone who struggles with anxiety this is a vital practice, too often I spent my days either hyperventilating or holding my breath. By developing a regular yoga practice, I could ultimately begin to practice meditation in many other forms down the road.
4. Happiness or Gratitude Journal. Gratitude and happiness have been linked to better physical and mental health. Getting into the habit of a daily gratitude list or happiness journal can significantly reduce stress and improve your relationships with others and yourself.
5. Essential Oils. I love essential oils! I got hooked on them in yoga and can't sing their praises enough! Essential oils have been linked to stress reduction and have many other physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Whenever I feel myself getting stressed I turn on my oil diffuser with lavender and eucalyptus to decompress. You can rub a little dab of oil on pressure points, infuse your shower, or spritz your pillow before bed. There are so many ways to incorporate oils into your life, so play around with it and figure out what works best for you.
How are you celebrating National Stress Awareness Month? What are some of your favorite stress-reducing techniques or activities? Let us know in the comments!