Ready to kick off the summer on the right foot? Here is a month’s worth of relaxation hacks to help you jumpstart your way to om…
Food and Drink
Eat an anti-stress diet
Just like a car runs best on high quality fuel, so too do our bodies. Fill your body with foods that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, such as turmeric, citrus, leafy greens, whole grains, and fatty fish, such as salmon. Reduce your caffeine intake and replace it with herbal teas, such as chamomile, lavender and lemon.
Give up sugar
Did you know that the average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day? Eek! Studies show that when it comes to our health, sugar is more dangerous than salt. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, you may have a sugar addiction. Cut out sugar by making healthy swaps. Swap fruit juices for fruit and sugary creamers for an all-natural coffee creamer.
Eat some chocolate
Studies show that people who describe themselves as “highly stressed” exhibit lower levels of stress hormones after eating chocolate. Choose high quality chocolate that is at least 70% dark, or raw cacao. Stay away from chocolate that is packed with sugar and artificial flavors.
Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique
Touted as one of the most effective stress interventions ever discovered by some medical professionals, 4-7-8 breathing is a relaxation hack you can do anywhere, any time. With your mouth closed, breathe in for four counts, hold for seven, and breathe out for nine counts. Practice three times in a row, three times a day.
Get some sunshine
There’s good reason why we feel so relaxed after a day out in the sun at the beach. Studies show that Vitamin D, which we get from the sun, may improve seasonal depression, boost immunity and help us kick anxiety to the curb. Summer is a great time to soak up some rays and catch up the Vitamin D that many of us miss throughout the winter months.
Take a digital detox
Did you know that the average smartphone user checks their device at least 6 times an hour? This summer, set an intention to take a digital detox. Pledge to take a real vacation (with an out of office email message you’ll stick to!). Or put a basket next to your door to ditch your phone when you walk in.
Walk 30 minutes a day
When you go for a walk, the first few steps trigger energy-producing chemicals in your brain that keep you moving. Endorphins lift your mood, and toward the end of your walk, a meditative state helps clear your mind from clutter, stress and anxiety. Kick off your summer with a 30 minute walk each day.
Give yourself a hand scrub
Make a calming lavender hand scrub and treat yourself to some easy self care. Scrub your hands, arms (and feet, if you’d like!) in circles – the circular motion is calming and soothing, especially on your wrists. Enjoy the calming scents and how soft your skin feels after each treatment.
Give yourself a foot massage
Rub your foot over a golf ball to release muscle tension. Then, take each toe one by one and gently pull. Rotate your toes one way, and then another. Finally, lather some lotion onto your feet.
Declutter your home
For people who struggle with anxiety, clutter in their home environment can be a great source of stress. Reduce your stress this summer by doing some cleaning up and getting rid of anything in your home environment that doesn’t totally nourish you and make you happy.
Create a garden
Gardening is one of those relaxation hacks you can practice at any level – whether it’s spending several hours a week in your yard, or simply planting a few herbs in a box in your kitchen. Studies show that the sensory experience of gardening allows people to connect with their primal state.
Use essential oils
For thousands of years, people have used essential oils to reduce stress and relax. Tired of lavender? Try frankincense, which contains acetate, a natural chronic stress and anxiety reliever. Clary sage is also a natural antidepressant that can boost self esteem and combat anxiety.
Go on a date or vacation
Did you know that just the act of planning a vacation can lower your stress? Whether it’s a big vacation or just a small getaway to a local beach or town, planning a trip can ease stress and help you relax (as long as you don’t get too caught up in the details!).
Saying no can be hard. But if you find yourself overcommitted, this may be the summer of “no” for you! Let the person asking you for help know that you’ve taken their request seriously. Be stern in your response, and use your body language to emphasize it if they push back. Enlist the help of these tips and you’ll have a crowd-free calendar in no time.
Don’t take life too seriously
If you find yourself in a rut of getting caught up in the little things, try to remember the big picture. Summer is the perfect time to let go of people or commitments that are holding you back or bringing you down, and surround yourself with people who lift and lighten you up.
Kick back with Healthy Human!
Filling our bodies with plenty of clean, pure water is essential to our mental and physical well-being. Join us over at Healthy Human where you can read daily health hacks and make water your essential health and relaxation companion. #takeitwithu.
What are your favorite relaxation hacks?
Have you tried any of these relaxation hacks? Let us know in the comments section below!