Tis the season of holiday events, family commitments, end of year deadlines, more spending and less rest. So, how do we cope with the craziness? Ideally, we’d all take time each day to meditate and mentally reset. Realistically, we can all use the extra help we can get.
Here are 5 tips to help you de-stress when your mind simply is not enough.
1. Up Your Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies out there - since it is one of the first to deplete when we become stressed. This “stress” could be anything from emotional to lack of sleep, to rushing around, to physical exertion (i.e. exercise).
So, what’s the big deal? Magnesium is important in liver detox, it helps your body flush excess hormones (think PMS symptoms), it assists the breakdown of fats, and for the purposes of today’s discussion - it is the “calming” mineral (see image below for common Mg deficiency symptoms).
While we can eat allll the magnesium rich foods, our bodies still struggle to absorb enough to function optimally. So, if you’re feeling extra stressed, try a Magnesium spray. When applied topically, the Mg oil will absorb into your blood stream within 24 seconds. Aim to use before bed for a more restful sleep and/or post workout for quicker recovery.
2. Head off, Headphones In
If your thoughts are spinning on repeat, one of the easiest ways to get out of your own head is by listening to someone else talk. Whether that means an inspiring podcast, motivational speaker, religious figure or your favorite musician - plug in your headphones and fall asleep to someone else’s positive thoughts, rather than your own stressed ones. My favorite is Pastor Steven Furtick (a mix of religious and motivational speaking).
3. Get a Massage
The benefits of massage therapy run deeper than just feeling great. Massage therapy can help release tension in the body, increase circulation, boost the immune system and flush out toxins. What does this mean for you? A less stressed body = a less stressed mind.
My favorites -
Deep Tissue Massage - Deep tissue therapy is used to break up knots, adhesions and scar tissue that can cause pain/tightness/limited range of motion and/or inflammation in the body. While its often painful during the treatment - your body will feel significantly less stressed and tight afterwards.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage - The lymphatic system is our bodies natural flushing/detox network, which can actually slow or stall due to various types of stress. A lymph drainage massage gently assists the lymphatic system to improve circulation and jump start your body’s natural “flushing” process. This treatment is great for anyone with inflammatory conditions, lowered immune systems, slow circulation, fluid retention and/or those in recovery from surgery. Its also a relaxing one :)
Do it yourself - If a massage isn’t in your budget, simply stretching and releasing whatever muscles feel tight will help put your body at ease. Grab your foam roller/lacrosse ball to release the areas of your body that hold tension (for most of us that means the neck/traps) and be sure to stretch as well. Some of my favorites can be found on my social media - lower body series, upper body series & assisted stretches.
4. Reset Your Breathing
When we’re stressed, rushing, or anxious - we tend to shorten our breathes, which only adds to our stressed feelings.
If this is you - make a habit of consciously resetting your breathing patterns throughout the day. Do this by taking exhales that are twice as long as your inhales. Fully emptying your stomach will allow you to calmly change those short, chest breathes to deep, diaphragm ones.
Not sure if you’re breathing properly?
Try laying with your back pressed flat into the floor. As you inhale, drive the pit of your stomach up toward the ceiling. Slowly exhale, emptying your breath completely. Hold that until your body signals you to take a breath in again. Repeat until this becomes your patterned, relaxed breathing.
5. Go for a Walk
It is no secret that exercise releases feel-good endorphins. However, if you’re extra stressed, intensive workouts can actually work against you (remember, exercise in itself is a form of stress to your body).
Rather than hitting the gym- opt for a walk, preferably in nature. Studies show that a mere 10 minute walk is enough to reduce anxiety symptoms and boost your mood. Additionally, walks have been proven to increase creative output by 60%, due to the “free flow” of thinking that’s triggered during the activity #NoMoreRuts (NBC).
Happy Holidays everyone! ENJOY your down time, your time with your loved ones and your “treat” foods.