Five Things to Counter Stress

There are a lot of words we could use to describe what’s going on in the world lately. There are even more to describe how we all feel about it. The word I find myself using the most is “weird.” It’s weird out there you guys. The world is weird. While hundreds of things happening on a “normal” day will wind up in a history book somewhere, it is an odd feeling to realize what is happening with COVID-19 will be in everyone’s history books around the world. Even more, the chapter is still being written and we don’t know how it’s going to end.

That unknown is what gives even the calmest person some anxiety and stress if they sit around thinking about it for too long. I stand by my post from last week, in that facts, not fiction, will give us answers and peace. Check your sources carefully, and when in doubt, we should probably stick to what those with medical backgrounds are saying right now. Doing so will relieve at least a little bit of angst.

If you still need some help calming your nerves, try one of my favorite go to options:

Taking a Hot Bath: This one is a no brainer for a lot of people. I would venture to say it’s even the dream of mom’s everywhere. I would encourage you to add a calming bath soak to your water. One of my favorites is made by an Oklahoma family who started a little company called Salt Soothers. I personally love their Peppermint Eucalyptus Dead Sea Spa Salt; it really seems to relax my muscles. If you’re looking for a little more of a beachy vibe, try their sea spa bath salt in their Butt Naked fragrance.

Grove

Now I get it, not everyone has the time to take a relaxing bath. Although many of us are home, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a hundred things we’re realizing need done. Also for some ladies like myself, my “female plumbing” does not agree with me taking long hot baths very often. It will revolt and that is anything besides relaxing. *If you’re a dude, I’m sparing you the details. All the women out there, you know of what I speak.* So, I have recently found a nice alternative: Grove’s hydrating bar soap in lavender & rosemary. The lavender is oh so calming and the rosemary adds a nice little spark of freshness. Plus all their products are more eco-friendly than most traditional household products AND they ship right to your door. There’s even a subscription option for your favorite products you never want to run out of. Each shipment helps them plant trees across the United States.

A Hot Cup of Tea: If I’ve convinced people of one thing more than any other it’s that hot tea belongs in their life. My people are hot tea people. If you’ve read many of my posts here or happen to know me in person, we drink tea for the holidays, tea when we play cards, tea to make us sleepy, and yes even tea to calm our nerves. If you’re looking for the latter, make sure the tea you select does not have caffeine. Messing that up can actually have the opposite effect. My most recent favorite I cannot take credit for finding – Royal Treatment by Big Heart Tea was in my swag bag from RISExToronto, as one of Rachel Hollis’ go-to’s. It is now fondly referred to by my fiancé as my “Rachel tea.” I’ve had a lot of variations of lavender teas, but the addition of mint makes it both refreshing and relaxing without overpowering the entire cup. Now if you’re a lover of chai teas, theirs is actually caffeine-free, which is pretty unusual for chai. It’s a spicy hug in a cup without keeping you up! Plus buying from Big Heart Tea also means you are supporting a women-owned business.

Headspace Meditations

Guided Meditation: Don’t get me wrong, my mind is going 90 mph and doesn’t like to hit the brakes, so slowing down takes some serious willpower. I had to start with three minute mediations and work my way up. Now I happily enjoy two ten minute sessions almost every day. The Headspace app for your phone or tablet is wonderful at teaching this skill. There are lots of variations, topics, and guides. You can even logon to their website from a laptop, desktop, or anywhere that uses a browser if you prefer. The free version gives you access to enough content to figure out if it’s a good fit for you. I used it for almost six months before buying an annual subscription and there was still plenty of free content. Both versions also include some “sleep music,” that I often play in the background while I read and journal. With the current conditions of our world, the owners have actually released even more free content, including a collection titled “Weathering the Storm.” Check it out with an open mind, and understand that it is definitely something you learn to do, so be patient with yourself.

Practice Gratitude: This is something I added to my daily routine about a year ago. Instead of choosing big huge things, take the time to find the little things you miss if you go through the day too fast. It makes you really appreciate what life has to offer, even when it gets a little crazy and unpredictable. Some people like to do it at the end of the day before they go to bed; I like to do mine at the start of my day so I can really choose to have a positive mindset from the beginning. There are lots of cute ways to do this practice. Definitely write them down instead of just thinking them through in your mind. It’ll really stick with you that way. You can of course do this in a simple spiral notebook or if you prefer, try the 4 Things Gratitude Journal by The Shop Forward. It has a fun tie-dye pattern with lots of room to doodle pictures if you prefer, is a great option to get your kids involved in the practice, AND it supports education in Haiti!

Grey’s Anatomy

Dance it Out!: Take a lesson from Meredith and Christina. When the times get rough and you just don’t know how you’re going to get through the day, turn on some Texan & Sara and Dance. It. Out. Ok, you can pick whatever music inspires you, maybe EDM (electronic dance music) is more your style. Play what’s necessary to get your booty off that couch for a few beats. Extra points if you include everyone in your household, but be warned, if your fur babies are like mine, they’re going to look at you like you’ve lost your mind. Now if you reenact this scene from Pretty in Pink I just might love you forever.

Ducky from Pretty in Pink

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