Writer: Roxanne K. Tarapor ~
Feeling stressed out or anxious is completely normal, that being said, don’t take your mind and body for granted, hoping that something external will come to help you. Whenever you feel this way, the best thing to do is practice some relaxation techniques to help you think clearly and make you feel calm. Everyone can find happiness and stability by connecting with themselves and making a conscious effort to change for the better. This means taking some time out in the day to be by yourself and do things that give you peace of mind.
The twenty-first-century world is incredibly fast paced and it seems as though the more the human race grows, the more anxiety and suffering is produced. Money, work, family matters, keeping up with social media or your social reality (and all the discriminatory things attached to it) can bog us down and make us feel torn to a point where we’re in a permanent state of confusion.
There is a way to get out and feel liberated in spite of all the noise around us.
Below are some things you can do to feel more relaxed:
1. Om chanting (meditation): my favourite form of de-stressing by far. Meditation has incredible health benefits and it is scientifically proven to heal your brain. You can do this once in the morning and once before going to bed. If you feel a bit awkward when you’re starting out, play an om chanting video on youtube but make sure you can hear yourself as that is integral.
2. Yoga: Om chanting and yoga go hand in hand, as it helps you get centered before starting your yoga practice. Even though widely considered an exercise, yoga too is relaxing and fills you with new life and energy. Even basic yoga poses like knees to chest and touching your toes can have this effect on you.
3. Body or head massage: Getting a massage is therapeutic, relaxing and good for blood circulation. Visit the spa or call a massage person home at least once a month and soak in the pampering. Also, get into the habit of putting oil in your hair once a week, this does not only relax you but also gives you gorgeous hair.
4. Listening to calming sounds: If you’re feeling agitated and anxious especially before going to bed, listening to these sounds can alleviate your stress. You can also unwind by taking a walk at a park near you. The fresh air and calming sounds of nature would be a real treat as we spend most of our time in concrete buildings and A/C-ed rooms.
5. Breathing into the belly: A lot of us shallow breathe; however when you’re feeling anxious breathe into your belly (feel your stomach rising and falling). You can do this right now. Take a deep breath, pause for a few seconds and release. Feel better already? A lot of anxiety is connected with the stomach, so breathing into it fills the pit with energy – making you feel better instantly.
6. A hot shower: Hot water is known to relax you, so even splashing some on your face can help lift your spirits. I like doing this when I get a cold because it also acts as a steam. Alternatively, you could light some scented candles, play some relaxing music and give yourself a pedicure.
7. A warm cuppa: Warm drinks raise the temperature of your body making you sweat out toxins. So indulge in your favourite non-caffeinated tea, opt for chamomile as it’s well known for eliminating anxiety. If you are in the mood for something savoury a bowl of soup will work just fine. Make sure you shower afterwards, as keeping these toxins on your skin for a long period of time can be harmful.
8. Tidying your living space: If you’re feeling up to it, try cleaning and organising your room or house. We don’t realise how much the clutter around us affects our mental state. By tidying up, you distract yourself from the thing that’s bothering you and the end result is a visually pleasing space – which is always nice. This also creates a sense of order in your external world and can help you think clearly.
9. Keep your phone away: Many of us are guilty of scrolling through our feed mindlessly especially when we are bored or have nothing to do. It’s important to detach ourselves from the digital world, even if it’s only for an hour. Do something else instead, like reading the book you’ve always wanted to read or preparing yourself a wholesome meal. Get into the habit of keeping your phone away at night. Most of us will find this hard and even unreasonable, but switching off your phone before going to bed can help you get better sleep. This means having lots of energy during the day, as your body has had a chance to rest and heal fully whilst asleep.
10. Adult colouring book: There are a number of adult colouring books available in the market, but if you don’t want to invest in one, maintain a journal in which you can write or doodle. This is a healthy way of releasing negative thoughts and it also draws on your creative side, making one feel good. You can also maintain a diary in which you write 5 things you are grateful for at the end of every day.
11. Aromatherapy: Calming smells instantly rejuvenate us. Invest in a diffuser, which makes it easy to release the essential oils in the air, this not only makes your house smell good but also soothes and relaxes you. Find out which essential oil best suits you based on your mood, or go for the one that appeals to you the most when you smell it. While taking a shower try sprinkling a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on the floor, the heat will warm the oil and release it into the air. Lavender essential oil is known for its calming properties, doing this at night will get you ready for bed.
12. Our furry friends: Having a pet can alleviate depression and instils one with a sense of responsibility. Many studies have shown that having a pet reduces depression in older people. If you don’t have a pet, ask your friend if you can take their dog for a walk or look after it when they are out. If you stay in Mumbai, there is a place called ‘Pawfect Life’ in Andheri East where you can hang out and play with adorable dogs.
13. A good friend: We all have that friend who we can say anything to, and trust that their advice is filled with good intention and positive wishes. Phone this person up, or meet for a coffee. Even if you have nothing to say, it’s nice to keep in touch with friends and take an interest in their life.