And 4 other necessities for relaxation
Stress is a factor in all our lives. Regardless of how much or little stress you are experiencing, it is important to prioritize time for relaxation as part of your self-care routine. You might already have some go-to avenues for relaxation. If so, it may be helpful to expand your options and increase your stress reduction.
1. Bath Time
There is little as relaxing as soaking in a hot bath. Fill the tub with hot water, throw in a bath bomb, and pour yourself a glass of wine while you let the tension melt away. If you want to level up the relaxation of your bath, invest in a bath pillow. You want to find a bath pillow that supports your back and your head, providing full adjustability for any tub. Suction cups are another feature that can improve your relaxing bath experience. The strength of the suction cups is important to provide a sturdy place to rest.
Whether you prefer to wash up before or after your bath, cleansing yourself can greatly aid in the relaxation. Getting refreshed from head to toe is extremely helpful in destressing. You will want to ensure you have all the necessities on hand for your bathing experience. When considering shampoo and conditioner sets, you want to pick something that is free of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. You also want to ensure you are choosing the right set for your hair type and texture.
As part of your extra-relaxing bath, you may want to do some exfoliating. Sugar scrubs are a great way to exfoliate. They smell delicious and gently slough off dead skin. You can also make them at home with a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup sugar (not confectioner’s sugar)
Mix together and spread over your body, massaging into your skin in circular motions. You can spruce up this recipe with essential oils (which we will discuss in more detail shortly) and vitamin E oil.
Once you are done with your relaxing bath routine, you will want to ensure you are moisturizing, especially after exfoliating. You will want to ensure you are choosing the best moisturizer for your skin type. If your skin is oily, you will want to choose a lotion that is lightweight. If your skin is dry, you will want something thicker. It is helpful to apply your moisturizer to slightly damp skin. They even have lotions that are designed to be used in the shower.
There are a variety of ways that sound can be used to de-stress. Whether you have a specific artist or playlist that soothes you, or you like to listen to thunderstorms or the jungle, put on something relaxing while you lie in the tub, and for after you get out.
Do you experience autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)? While the science behind this is inconclusive, it is possible that if you have certain wiring in your brain, you may benefit from audio or visual triggers that have a relaxing effect. The sensation that comes from ASMR is generally described as euphoric and people have reported that it can help with sleep, mood improvement, and pain relief. You can look up ASMR videos on YouTube and figure out what if anything triggers that type of response for you. Common triggers include: whispering and other quiet sounds, tapping, or crinkling. You can focus on the sounds themselves, or in some cases, the visuals can provide the response as well.
3. Essential Oils
Certain essential oils have proven relaxing properties. You can add them directly to your bath, mix them into your homemade exfoliator or unscented lotion. You can also diffuse them in the room to further reap their aromatic benefits. Oils known for their relaxing properties include lavender, ylang ylang, neroli, and citrus oils:
To further reap the benefits of essential oils, you can ingest certain oils by adding them to tea or water. Just ensure if you are adding essential oils to a drink, you are using a stainless steel or glass container. Essential oils can break down plastic and allow the chemicals in the plastic to seep into your fluid. You can also cook with some essential oils or just put them in a smoothie. When ingesting oils, you only need one or two drops.
Whether you are getting a massage from a loved one or a professional, they are one of the key ways to de-stress. You can always save the moisturizer for a post-shower massage. Or mix your relaxing essential oils with coconut oil for a homemade massage oil.
Adding massaging tools can further enhance the relaxation of your massage. You can pick up handheld manual massagers, scalp massagers, or electric massagers at your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond or online. You may also want to consider investing in a therapeutic massage gun. Most massage guns come with a selection of interchangeable heads to provide different levels and intensity of massage.
When you are considering electronic options, you want to consider something that is rechargeable and not too heavy for the person using it. Additional massager options include chair massagers and foot massagers that can be plugged in. These options often also have a heating function to increase the relaxing and pain relief properties of the massage.
In addition to using essential oils as a supplement for relaxation and stress relief, there are other herbs and superfoods that are proven to be effective with anxiety and stress. A cup of chamomile tea or glass of red wine can provide the relaxation you need. Certain herbs (especially adaptogens) have scientific evidence that they can combat stress and help you relax.
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
Most of these herbs can be ingested in food or as a supplement such as a pill or tincture. CBD is available in most of the same mediums as cannabis: flower, vaping, tincture, oil, etc. Some people enjoy CBD gummies, and Goli recently released an Ashwagandha gummy. Of course, CBD, Ashwagandha, and other adaptogens can be ingested in almost anything, not just gummies.
Perhaps you are one of those people who finds comfort in food. Comfort foods are usually high in carbs, fat, or both. As adults, we may find comfort in foods like chocolate, ice cream, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup, or mashed potatoes and gravy. The downside is that many of these foods when eaten too much and too often are bad for you. However, there are a lot of healthier versions of common comfort foods that will still provide the dopamine release.
Regardless of why you are stressed, what is causing your anxiety, or how you are choosing to cope with and manage your stress, finding time to decompress and relax is key. The world will continue turning; everything around you will still be there for you to deal with after you take time for a deep breath. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup. Make sure you are finding ways to keep your cup full and it will overflow into everything else around you.