I don’t know about you, but the stress of this year has candidly put me all out of sorts. I would classify myself as a high functioning high stress kind of girl. In fact, I would push the limit to say the old me thrives off of stress.
I didn’t realize how much stress I truly carry until the spring of this year. I had some pretty serious health events happen recently, which forced me to be still and not feel guilty about it. From a work perspective, I love being busy and find that having a full schedule makes me more productive. Typically, I would feel shame and inferior if my work schedule wasn’t full to the brim of meetings and calls.
In light of my recent health events, I’ve realized how important it is to rest and give your mind, body, and soul the time to be still. I have grown to become more conscious of my inner emotions and protective over my responsibilities, priorities, and wishes. I was always that girl to say yes to every opportunity and request (where all my goal achieving girls at?!), but hindsight shows me where that lifestyle was taking me. It was literally hurting my body in more ways than I thought possible!
I choose to manage stress and not let stress manage me.
2020 has been a year of transformation and growth. I don’t know if it’s because I coincidentally turned 30 this year, but I feel different. I feel more in touch with myself as a person, more confident about which goals are non-negotiable, more thoughtful about the type of people I want to create memories with, and more conscious of how to take care of my body through it all.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get stressed. I believe stress can be motivating at times, however, it’s vital to be aware of how stress affects your wellbeing. For those who hold on to stress for too long, keep it inside, or do not process it well, it begins to take a toll on your mental and physical health. With my awareness of my personal stress levels and my interest in knowing more about cortisol and other bodily functions, I’ve taken it upon myself to dive into activities and rituals that bring me joy and calm my nerves.
Here are five of my favorite things when it comes to managing stress and decompressing. All of these activities are relatively cost effective (if not free!) and simple things you can add as a ritual to your week or sneak into your day.
1 // Diffuse a calming essential oil blend.
I’m obsessed with setting up a diffuser and filling the air around me with scented oils! I love Young Living’s selection and blend of essential oils. My YL diffusers have the prettiest light settings that create a whole mood ambiance. The perks of their monthly Essential Rewards Program are huge and helps me stock up on new oils, especially some of the pricey ones! Some of my favorite comforting blends are:
Spa Vibes: 6 drops Lavender, 3 drops Tangerine, 3 drops Patchouli
Woodsy Fall: 6 Drops Northern Lights Black Spruce, 4 drops Tangerine
Bedtime: 3 Drops Lavender, 3 Drops Cedarwood
2 // Brew a hot cup of tea.
Hot tea has proven to be very soothing and relaxing for me. After dinner, I’ve gotten in the habit of winding down with a cup of Honey Lavender Yogi tea. I add lemon or honey, depending on what kind of mood I’m in. The warmness of the tea makes my body feel centered and chilled out. Sometimes I feel like a little old lady getting ready for bedtime, but it’s an activity I’ve adapted to and my body craves.
3 // Soak in an Epsom salt bath.
When I was training for a half marathon, you could find me soaking in a warm, cozy bubble bath filled with Epsom salts and essential oils. I’ve always loved taking baths ever since I was a child. I grew up with nausea and found that submerging myself in warm water eased my symptoms and left me feeling balanced. I continue to go back to this practice because it an easy, yet majorly impactful way to have some “me time.” I love the way the Epsom salts penetrate into my skin and muscles, relieving tension and leaving my skin feeling smooth. Dr. Teals Epsom salts are amazing, and I think I’ve tried every single soak they create. My favorite Pure Epsom salt soaks are Coconut Oil, Wellness Therapy, and Relax & Relief. Sometimes I add a few drops of essential oils to give an extra later of aromatherapy!
4 // Go for a tech free nature walk.
With all of this work from home, I seem to be much more attached to my laptop and phone. Don’t get me wrong, the work from home life gives a ton of flexibility with my personal life and schedule. However, my customer meetings that used to be in person, laptops down, have moved to video chats and lots more emails. I can’t seem to escape a communication device any time of the day.
It’s easy to let time pass you by and let all of the constant noise feel normal. Lately, I’ve had to force myself to put away my phone and let my mind relax. Lately, I’ve been loving walks in the evening (before the skeeters unleash!), either by myself or aside family, technology free. It’s a relaxing way to ease my mind and a simple way to hit that step goal.
5 // Journal your thoughts & feelings of gratitude.
My brain constantly runs a mile a minute. At times I feel like “I gotta do this thing, then on to the next thing, and oh shoot, I forgot that thing!” The list seems never ending and at times very overwhelming. I loved journaling as a child and young adult and so excited to have the opportunity to do that again in my blog work. Journaling looks different for everyone. Whether you want to write how you’re feeling, log your daily activity, make a to do list, and more. There is something about putting pen to paper, or even typing on Notes that makes you feel accomplished and back on track.
I love the Start Today journal practice created by Rachel Hollis. Rachel is huge on how journaling your goals and dreams, while recognizing what you’re grateful for, can make a huge impact on your daily and future life. I too have grown to love this practice because it reminds you to be thankful for the little things. It also gives me the reality check that my life does not seem as bad as it does in a high stress kind of moment.
What are some of your favorite ways to manage stress and decompress? I’m always looking for new ideas to add to my repertoire of stress release magic!