relaxation

Ultra Relaxed Breathing

The next time you’re doing some deep breathing, you can relax even more if you do the following:

  • Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, directly against the back of your upper teeth
  • Proceed to breathe in and out

Why is this more relaxing? The positioning of your tongue stimulates cross-lobe integration and relaxation in the brain.

Source: unknown

Give this a try and let me know if you notice the difference!

T – 60 to Calm

Need to calm down asap? Try this: Stare up at the ceiling and slowly count down from 60.

Why does this work? Looking up stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings blood pressure down and slows your breathing. The counting aspect also helps to get your mind off of whatever is stressing you out.

Don’t delay relaxation. This only takes 60 seconds! If you’re stressed right now, do something immediately (like this for example) to let it go…

 

Relax Your Entire Body

Feeling stressed? Don’t know how to relax your entire body? Well you can start by relaxing your forehead this instant.

Why it works — If you can keep your forehead from tensing up and your brow from furrowing then you can trigger an automatic relaxation response from head to toe.  This tip is often used with women in labor to cut down on pain. Pretty cool, right?

I’m doing it as I type right now and I can really feel the difference… I hope you do too!

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Major added bonus — If used regularly, this technique will definitely help you out in the wrinkle department. Are you relaxing your forehead yet? ;)

Free Shipping at House of Steep!

A quick FYI – House of Steep is offering free shipping on all orders placed before February 10 and a 20% discount on “Lovely” soy candles and tea soak bags.

Every House of Steep product is designed with relaxation in mind including their Cleansing Calm Foot Spray and Herb Soak Salts (below) made by Branch & Vine, my new line! If you try anything out, I would love to hear what you think.

Photo Credit: House of Steep

Cared for Feet

I love this tip from House of Steep

Cared for feet will carry you far:
Soaking the feet in warm salt water draws out toxins that build up in your feet.  These toxins are present not only because of gravity, but also because every nerve that touches every organ and passes through the body ends in the feet.  7,200 nerves per foot, to be precise.  Add reflexology, herbs and aromatic essential oils and the result will heal not only the overused feet, but also the total mind and body.

If you’re looking for a good foot soak, you can try one of these from the House of Steep line: Herb Soak Salts (made by me!)

Photo Credit: House of Steep

An Optimal Foot Massage

The next time you’re giving or hopefully receiving a foot massage, it’s great to keep this reflexology chart in mind to make the massage even more therapeutic. I’m a huge fan of acupressure. If done correctly, you can find relief from such a wide range of ailments including hormonal imbalances, breathing disorders, back aches, circulatory problems and so much more! Make it even better: soak your feet  in warm water right before the massage.

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1 Minute Stress Relievers

Stress flushes the body with cortisol and adrenaline, too much of which can raise blood pressure hence negatively affecting your cardiovascular and digestive systems. Sometimes it takes a while to feel really stressed out, but hopefully with these tips you can cool down much quicker than you heated up.

Here are some quick tips to keep stress away:

#1 (BY FAR) BREATHE
Take a few slow, deep cleansing breaths. Sit up straight, but not rigidly. Imagine slowly blowing your abdomen up like a balloon, moving the breath into your solar plexus, then up into your shoulders. Breathe out, consciously moving the air back out in the opposite order.

#2 RELAX

Particularly your muscles. Scan your body from the top of your head to each of your toes to monitor tension. Thinking specifically about each one leads it to relax. So say to yourself,  “head relax”, “shoulders relax”… until you do every part of your body.

#3 STRETCH
Any old stretch will do. I’m sure you have some old standbys. Just get yourself loosened up whether you’re at your desk, around the house or in the car stuck in traffic. Less muscle tension = a more relaxed you!

#4 FOCUS
Shut off that incessant chatter in your brain by focusing intently on anything: a picture, a cloud, a candle.. Now, don’t think.  Not easy I know, but if any thoughts drift into your mind just try to gently let them float by. This can really help clear your mind.

43 Ways to Simply

I think basically everyone today could use some more simplicity in their lives. Don’t you agree? Well here are 43 ways to make your days more simplified from zenfamilyhabits.net.

I just love this list – it has so many small and easily doable changes that can make a huge difference to your quality of life! I’ve bolded some of my favorites…

1. Turn off your cell phone.

2. Process email only twice a day.

3. Go to bed early.

4. Get rid of (or at least reduce) commitments that you do out of obligation.

5. Create a weekly meal plan.

6. Automate your finances.

7. Purge as much unneeded clutter as possible.

8. Keep your paper shredder on top of your recycling bin.

9. Add items you want to a wish list as you think of them.

10. Get a label maker or write labels out by hand.

11. Set your clothes out for the next day the night before.

12. Make your lunch for the next day the night before.

13. Make time to catch up with an old friend.

14. Just say no.

15. Ask for experiences not things for your birthday and Christmas this year.

16. Tell the truth.

17. Keep your list of addresses and phone numbers up to date.

18. Consolidate debt.

19. Create an organizing system that works for you.

20. Keep a bag for garbage in your car.

21. Cary a notebook and pen with you where ever you go.

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22. Unsubscribe from emails, newsletters or RSS feeds that don’t provide value anymore.

23. Apologize immediately when you realize you’ve done wrong.

24. Enjoy the present moment as much as you can.

25. Take time to really see the little things in life.

26. Reduce the amount of TV you watch.

27. Get outside.

28. Create morning, daytime, and evening routines.

29. Ask for help.

30. Do things at home as much as possible (eat, date nights, entertain etc.).

31. Don’t get caught up in other people’s drama.

32. Let go of the self-imposed need to be perfect.

33. Focus on a simple, but healthy, eating plan.

34. Share responsibilities.

35. Reduce your wardrobe to a few versatile items.

36. Be positive.

37. Start a gratitude journal.

38. Finish old tasks before taking on new ones.

39. For every new item that enters your home set two free.

40. Want what you have not what you don’t.

41. Revisit what you carry with you in your purse or wallet.

42. Focus on one thing at a time.

43. Store new garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can.

Reminders for Your Next Massage

Some great advice from Healing Lifestlyes & Spas for the next time you get a massage:

  1. Be punctual. You don’t want to stress yourself out right before or feel rushed through your massage.  (Personally, I love to get there early to drink tea and read some good mags… get in chilled out mode)
  2. Communicate with your therapist before the massage begins. Tell them the amount of pressure you prefer, specific areas of tension along with any other desires/concerns.
  3. Don’t talk during the massage, unless it’s about the massage itself.
  4. Be present. Try to breathe deeply into the area that is being worked on.
  5. Turn off your cell phone. The last thing you want is ringing/vibrating in the middle of a rare hour of complete relaxation.
  6. Don’t rush off the table. Take your time when the massage is done and try to keep that relaxed state continuing throughout the rest of your day (makes it worth even more than whatever you paid)
  7. Drink plenty of H2O for the next 24 hours. Hydration helps the lymphatic system flush out wastes and mitigates soreness from the deep tissue work you just experienced.

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Hopefully many of you are taking advantage of Spa Week (starts today) and can put these tips to good use very soon!

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Reminder: Take a Deep Breath

For so many of us, the daily stresses of life can lead us to take shorter, shallower breaths. Ironically yet not surprisingly, this kind of breathing only compounds stress in the body, by depriving the cells of oxygen and by not fully exhaling toxins from the lungs.  As few as three deep focused breaths can be extremely calming to your entire body and your mind. So next time you get stressed out, check your breathing - you’ll almost always find it’s shallow and that is the time to stop and take a deep breath.  Please don’t put it off  and remember “Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” {Montaigne}

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Stressed?

Try alternate nostril breathing! If you’ve done yoga, you might already be familiar with this mellowing technique, which is used to help calm the mind and nervous system. This is one of my favorite things to do to de-stress.  One of the reasons I love it is because it’s so easy to do anytime, anywhere once you get the gist of it..

How to:

*Ideally do this while sitting

  1. Use your right thumb to block your right nostril. Breathe deeply through your left nostril (a count of 4 seconds is good)
  2. Right away, close the left nostril with your right ring finger while simultaneously removing your thumb from your right nostril, and exhale through your right nostril (for a count of 8 seconds).
  3. Inhale through the right nostril (4 seconds), close the right nostril with your thumb, and exhale through the left nostril (8 seconds)

That completes 1 full round. Repeat again if desired.

**Do not attempt if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any way!

Some Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is probably my favorite essential oil. It really is such a relaxing scent and it can be used to help so many things!

 

Here are just a few things that lavender is good for:

  • headache and migraine relief
  • healing burns and insect bites
  • acne, psoriasis and other inflammations
  • stiff joints and sore muscle relief
  • relaxation
  • insomnia
  • hypertension
  • repelling mosquitoes

Lavender is one of only two essential oils that can be used on the skin without dilution (the other being tea tree oil)!

Use sparingly though. 

Examples:

  • A few drops to combine with a lotion or shampoo.
  • Just a drop or two to apply to any inflammation.

 

*Allergies – People with allergies should test an oil on a small area of sensitive skin (inside of arm).

*Pregnant – Check with your doctor before using any essential oils (Lavender usually does not appear on the AVOID DURING PREGNANCY list).

**Discontinue use at the first sign of any irritation!

One of my favorite things to do….Foot Baths!

I started doing foot baths when I was about 4 years old and I’ve never stopped since!

 

These are some of the times to treat yourself to a relaxing foot bath:

  • When your feet are sore
  • When you’re stressed
  • When you’re cold
  • When you’re rundown
  • When you’re sick
  • When you just want to do something relaxing!

For a foot bath you can either just fill your bath tub up with enough water to submerge your feet OR you can use an actual foot bath (you can find foot baths at Target, Walgreens, etc.).

Some of my usual mixtures to include in the very warm water:

  • For relaxation: a few drops of lavender oil & 1- 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • For a cold: a few drops of eucalyptus oil &  mustard seed powder (detoxifying)
  • For tired feet: 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and/or a few drops of lemon juice & 1-2 tablespoons of epsom salt

**You can always simply use warm water and still being doing something healthy and relaxing for yourself.

Try a foot bath today or at least, this week!