Like so many of you, I have been guilty of going a mile a minute and paying very little attention to my health. The result? I've felt drained and exhausted to unimaginable levels. I began to wonder why I felt the way that I did, and eventually came to realise that I wasn't taking enough time for myself. There were very few, if any, moments where I would pause during my day to just breathe. While that might sound like a load of BS to some of you, I promise it makes a world of difference.
I've since decided that I need to make a more conscious effort to be aware of my health and well-being. Taking some time for self is a luxury, sure, but it is also a necessity.
I spoke with Ling Chan of LING Skincare and she shared a few tips on how to relax. See what she had to say below along with some of my thoughts of how you can ease your mind and body when life feels a touch overwhelming.
1. Get A Massage
Confession time: a few weeks ago I had my first ever massage. I know, I know! What the hell have I been waiting for, right? Simply put, they're amazing.
I went in for a Deep Sleep Wellness Massage that begins with a cup of green tea (the root of health in Asian cultures). Then it went on to heat therapy via an Energy Lift Machine that's said to relax your automatic nervous system. After soaking in that warmth, the experience concludes with a massage complete with a beautiful aromatic oil.
How did I sleep that night? Like a baby. I remember waking up thinking, "Wow, when was the last time I slept that well?" For a moment, I had honestly forgotten I had received the massage, and started wondering why I felt so refreshed. It then dawned on me that it had to have been the relaxing rub down that helped with a good night's rest.
The lesson to be learned here is that massages do work!
2. Practice Yoga
Yoga is something I have recently decided to get back into after a brief run with it back in college. Why? The benefits of it are endless. Not only is it good for the mind, it offers a slew of health benefits. According to the Yoga Journal, it can up your heart rate, boost immunity, drop your blood pressure, and so much more.
Feel free to practice yoga at home or head to a studio. Remember, it's all about your comfort!
3. Turn Off ALL Gadgets
When I got word from Ling Chan of LING Skincare, she was clear: gadgets are a no-no when trying to relax. That goes for phones, tablets, computers, and TVs. All of those stimulate the mind, making it all the more difficult to fall asleep at night.
4. Go for A Run
All runners know that there's just something about the activity that clears the mind and gets the heart pumping. While stress can leave you restless, going for a run is a great way to release considerable energy, and enhance sleep quality.
It's not only an exercise, it's definitely a way of life.
5. Get Some Sun
Statistics found at the National Centre for Biotechnology Information revealed six percent of the US population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); a form of major depressive disorder; marked by seasonal changes.
If you're hidden behind a desk all day, and very rarely have an opportunity to get some sun, it can increase your chances of suffering from SAD. Make sure you take some time to soak up all the vitamin D the sun has to offer.
A little sunshine never hurt nobody!
All roads lead back to meditation for Ling. Her method? She sits down, starts breathing, and counts to twenty one. Just watch as your breath comes and goes; emptying the mind in order to relax.
7. Have A Cup of Tea
Have you ever came home after a long day of work and fixed yourself a hot cup of tea and noticed all your troubles melted away (albeit temporarily)? Same.
As it turns out, it's not all in our minds. There are actual ingredients in tea plants that promote calm and peace. Try some matcha green tea for some added alertness.
8. Talk it Out
If you have something on your mind, don't let it boil. Speak about it. You might even want to consider seeing a therapist if life is becoming too overwhelming for you.
While you might be hesitant about sharing personal details of your life with a complete stranger at first, it gets easier as you go along. There's a certain freedom that comes with being able to get your heaviest thoughts off your chest without the risk of judgment and anxiety you can experience when sharing with loved ones.
When you're feeling stressed, talk it out.
9. Put Pen to Paper and WRITE
Not much of a talker? No worries. Release all your troubles onto a piece of paper.
Writing has always been my greatest source of therapy and continues to be so today. Whether it's poetry, a personal essay, or just scattered thoughts, it's a great way to free your mind.
10. Run Yourself A Bath
After a rough day come home and run yourself a bath, suggests Ling. Be sure to try the feeLING Calm Massage & Bath Oil for its lavender scent.
11. Get Your Hair Done
One of my favourite things to do after a hard week? Get a blow-out complete with a glass of wine. The entire experience is always pleasant. But I'm sure that comes as little surprise, as getting pampered is the antithesis of stress.
12. Go For A Long Walk
I'm pretty sure you've heard the saying, "Just walk it off." If you're angry, anxious, or restless, do yourself a favour and go for a long walk. Really take the time to clear your mind while strolling and taking in your environment.
13. Book a Mani/ Pedi
Again, some times it's all about the simple things in life. A lot of women feel a sense of relief after having their nails and feet soaked. I can't tell you exactly why it brings us so much joy, but it does. It feels so darn good.
14. Indulge In A Little Retail Therapy
While I don't want to promote any shopping addictions here, there's nothing wrong with buying that really cute skirt you've been eyeing (and CAN afford!). What's the point in working your life away and never being able to treat yourself? Shop when you can. It's all about moderation!
15. Do Some Positive Thinking Reading
Ling says to try to read a book with positive thinking because negative thoughts can keep us up at night.
Now, I have to say I can 100% agree with this, can't you? There have been nights where a million thoughts are running through my mind as I toss and turn for hours. A little positive thinking could have gone a long way.
Duly noted, Ling.
16. Go On Holiday
I'm looking at you, my fellow workaholics! There's a reason we're given annual leave; everyone needs to escape it all and refuel at some point. Working 365 days a year is sure to leave you burnt out and empty.
Discover a new country and culture instead. I promise enriching your mind will do wonders for your being.
17. Rediscover Your Passion
Do you work a 9 to 5, but are secretly yearning to live out your artistic dreams? Don't let anything stop you. Balancing your life with a little bit of your true passion is a great way to unwind and relax.
18. Never Forget to Laugh
Sure Kim K says she doesn't smile because she doesn't want wrinkles. But guess what? There are more important things in life than interesting anti-ageing techniques; like being happy. If you're feeling stressed, turn on a funny show and get laughing.
19. Take Some Time to Be Alone
In a day and age where we feel like we're constantly connected, whether it be online, or in a work and social setting; it's easy to forget what joy and peace comes with having a few moments entirely to ourselves.
When you need a moment alone, don't be afraid to take one.
20. Just Breathe
If you've ever suffered from an anxiety attack you'll know the first thing you're told to do is "just breathe." If you find your heart racing while you're flustered, just pause and take deep slow breaths. Keep breathing in and out slowing until you've returned to a state of calmness.
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