Stressful days can make it nearly impossible to get things done. In a cruel twist of fate, the human body often responds to stressors by shutting down. You need to present project results at a meeting, coordinate with your manager, pick the kids up from school, and get dinner on the table.
Don’t even think about fighting rush hour traffic. The more stress you anticipate, the more upset your mind and body get.
Instead of trying to struggle against your body’s response to stress, indulge your instincts to feel more relaxed. Even a few minutes to yourself can help replenish your energy so you can tackle the next task on your list.
For days that really feel difficult, try these six relaxation techniques. They’ll do more than help you get through the day. They’ll help you conquer even the most difficult challenges!
Turn Your Bathroom Into a Spa
Turning your bathroom into a spa gives you a chance to de-stress without spending a lot of money. When you stay at home, you can pamper yourself inexpensively.
Some of the easiest ways to make your bathroom feel like a spa include:
Adding flowers, plants, and other natural elements.
Using a diffuser to circulate essential oils like lavender and vetiver through the air.
Wrapping yourself in soft towels that you only use on special occasions.
Putting scented Epsom salts into your bathwater.
Playing gentle, ambient music that sets a calming mood.
Forbidding family members or roommates from bothering you until you emerge from your personal spa time.
Think about the things that you love most about going to the spa. You can usually find a home version of that item that doesn’t cost much money. A small investment makes it possible for you to enter a deep state of relaxation any time you need it.
Enjoy a 20-Minute Steam Room at Home
Spending just a few minutes in a steam room can decrease the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that suppresses your immune system and encourages your body to store fat. Unlike endorphins, a feel-good hormone that makes you happy and health, high levels of cortisol can take a serious toll on your body.
Busy days don’t give you much time to relax in a gym’s steam room, but you can easily simulate the experience at home.
To turn your bathroom into a steam room:
Turn up your water heater as high as possible.
Get the bathroom as cool as possible by opening a window during winter or cranking the air conditioner during summer.
Close the bathroom door and place a damp towel on the floor to block air.
Close your bath’s drain and turn the shower on hot.
Let the shower run until the room develops a thick steam.
Put a clean, plush towel on your toilet seat so you can relax while the steam does its work.
If you’re not used to steam rooms, then you should start with short sessions of three to five minutes. As you get used to the steam, you can stay in longer. Most people max out around 20 minutes, though. After that, you might start to feel lightheaded from the heat.
Drink plenty of water after your steam shower. Dehydration will only make you feel more stressed!
Keep Stress at Bay With Self-Massage
Unexpected stress doesn’t always give you a chance to escape to your prepared bathroom for a spa treatment or steam shower. When stress wears you down at work, you can use self-massage to relax stiff muscles and release a surge of endorphins.
Some of the most useful places to focus your attention on include:
The spot between your thumb and index finger.
The arches of your feet.
The type of self-massage that you choose probably depends on how much privacy you have. Your coworkers probably won’t appreciate you tearing off your shoes and massaging your bare feet. If you have a private office, though, that’s certainly an option that can help quickly.
Your hands are great tools for massaging stress out of the body. Start to massage gently and build pressure as the muscles loosen.
You can also use wands, vibrators, and other massage tools. Try a variety of options to discover which one works best for you. Some people respond differently than others, so you may have to experiment before you find the best method for your body.
Take a Five-Minute Break for Mindful Breathing
An impressive amount of research shows that mindfulness meditation can improve mental health, fight chronic pain, improve sleep, and promote relaxation. On particularly difficult days, though, you might not have 20 minutes to sit down for a full session of mindfulness meditation.
Ideally, you should practice mindfulness daily since studies show that it becomes more effective over time. When you need a quick fix, though, you can turn to a quick mindfulness practice that will give you some relief.
You can start with this five-minute breathing meditation. You just need a quiet place to sit and listen to the guided meditation on your smartphone. After five minutes, you should feel less stress and fewer negative emotions.
Again, it’s best to practice mindfulness every day. When you have a meditation schedule, you build a wall between yourself and the stress in your life. Instead of letting stressful events lead you into catastrophic thinking, you can take a calmer approach based on rational thinking. Still, a five-minute break never hurts.
Escape Stressors With Visualization
Mindfulness helps you relax by putting you in touch with your feelings. Sometimes, though, you need help escaping stress before it overwhelms you. When you feel the need to escape, let visualization transport you to a tranquil place in your mind.
You can use visualization without relying on recordings. For instance, the next time you feel like yelling at your kids, you might imagine yourself relaxing in bed under a soft comforter. The more detail you can imagine, the better visualization will work.
If you really want to de-stress, though, you should consider finding some recordings that will guide you through your visualization. You can find countless guided meditations on websites like YouTube and Spotify. The best ones will encourage you to imagine calming scenarios and places where you always feel comfortable.
You can also download apps that give you access to a variety of guided meditations. Some popular apps include:
Most of these visualization apps give you a free trial membership. If an app works well for you, then consider buying the full version or paying for a subscription so you can access more content that will help you escape stressors with visualization.
Stretch Away Stress With Desk Yoga
Yoga emphasizes the mind-body connection and intentional breathing to improve health and sweat away stress. Going to an hour-long yoga class isn’t always an option, though. You can’t expect to keep your job for very long if you walk out of a meeting to hit the nearest yoga studio.
You can, however, use desk yoga to stretch away stress. The YouTube Channel, Yoga With Adriene has a six-minute desk yoga video with poses you can do anywhere. After stretching your neck, twisting your spine, and opening your chest, you’ll feel more relaxed.
The yoga poses don’t require any special skills. You can do them even if you’ve never taken a yoga class. Adriene shows you exactly how to move your seated body to get the most from your short yoga workout.
If the Yoga With Adriene video isn’t your cup of tea, you can try other instructional videos online. One of them will address your needs and help you feel prepared to conquer the rest of the day.
Some people need to put more effort into stress management than others. Anyone, however, can start to feel tired and anxious on difficult days that require too much. Keep these ideas in mind so you can bring your stress level down. The more stress you can remove, the more productive you’ll become. That’s exactly what you need on busy days that feel relentlessly stressful.