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Try Essential Oils

Hey y’all, so with the holidays coming up, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and then BAM Christmas, I think it’s safe to say everyone’s feeling the stress a bit more. I know I sure am, and when I get stressed, I start looking for different ways to help me handle the stress. One way that is a great option for many people is essential oils. While I certainly don’t believe essential oils can cure everything, I do think that a pleasant scent while you are dealing with potentially unpleasant emotions or feelings can make a huge difference in stress levels.

Scientific evidence backing up the use of essential oils is slim, but I know for myself, whether it’s a placebo effect or not, breathing in certain scents helps me to calm down and relax for a bit. There are many people who will agree with this sentiment and have found using essential oils to be beneficial in several ways.

Certain scents help with certain things, so depending on what’s going on with you, you may need a different scent than one I would reach for during the holiday season. Here are the associated health claims with each one.

  • Peppermint is used to boost energy and aid in digestion (while peppermints themselves are great for eating, you don’t want to eat peppermint essential oils, just enjoy the Christmas-y scent they bring 🙂 )
  • Lavender, Bergamot, and Sandalwood are all used to relieve stress and help with relaxation
  • Rose helps with anxiety
  • Chamomile is a mood booster and helps with relaxation (a cup of chamomile tea is one of my favorites after stressful evenings)
  • Ylang-Ylang helps with headaches and nausea
  • Tea Tree helps with fighting infections and immunity (tea tree oil on your scalp can also help relieve dandruff, just make sure to use a small amount)
  • Jasmine helps with depression
  • Lemon helps digestion, mood, headaches, and more. It’s also a great scent for kitchens, very fresh and clean.

If you want to find out more information about essential oils, check out this article https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-essential-oils#types It’s a great resource for those who are interested in trying these out.

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Journaling

Hey y’all so for this Wellness Wednesday, let’s talk about journaling. I am actually new to journaling. I kept a diary for a bit when I was a tween (I mean, what girl didn’t), but I never really got into that, and so when journaling really started becoming popular, I was iffy about it. Well, I am here to tell you that I am ready to give it a shot!

You may be wondering, what made me change my mind about journaling. First, as a psychology major, I try to keep up with things related to mental health, so that means anything new as far as ways to help improve your mental health, ways to relax, ways to rewire your brain in a positive way, I want to hear about it and learn about it. Journaling is no different, especially since there are many journals that guide you through the process and only take a few minutes out of each day. Studies are showing that journaling has a positive impact on reducing stress, helping you to let go of anxieties, and even rewiring your brain to think in a more positive manner. I mean, with all of that going for it, I figure, a little more positivity can never hurt!

I went ahead and bought two very different journals to get started. The first is a two minute morning journal. It’s designed to help you “win every day” and one of the ways it does that is by having you write down something you’re letting go of today. You also write what you’re grateful for, every single morning when you get up. They say, the more specific the better, and here’s where the sign behind that comes into play. When we focus on things we are lacking in our lives, we become a little more down about things, especially when bad stuff happens, and we forget all the great things we have. By putting those thoughts in your head first thing in the morning, you’re making your brain think about positive things and keeping it at the forefront of your mind right at the start of your day, which will help you have a more positive and upbeat attitude about things in the future, even if your day takes a turn for the bad. The second journal is a bit different in that it has several journeys for you to go on, thus providing journaling in different areas for your life for a long time. There’s a spiritual, achievement, humanitarian, mending fences, self-discovery, and more. I figured, that is definitely something worth exploring, even if you’re pretty certain you know who you are and what you believe or what you want out of life, taking a deeper look could help clarify some things for you.

journaling

So give journaling a try, if it’s not for you, no harm done, but if you find it helps you out in any way, even if it’s just giving you some time to sit down and unwind, then it was definitely worth it.

Take Time to Breathe

We live in such a rush-rush world that sometimes we can forget to take a few moments to just catch our breath. This weekend was absolutely crazy for me, I had a concert, Disney with the family, brunch, then was hanging out with people, and it was a whirlwind. And then this week is going to be full of work and errands, and laundry and cleaning, and just the thought of it all is a bit much. But what will help keep me calm and going strong through it all will be taking time to breathe.

It’s important to set some time aside during your day to just take a few deep breaths. My Apple watch is great about reminding me to breathe about twice a day, but I generally try to take a few deep breaths when things start to get stressful or I get overwhelmed with client emails coming in. No matter what it is stressing you out, take time to breathe and work through it. Even just a few deep breaths can help you to tackle your stressor more easily.

Create a Relaxation Area

For this week’s Wellness tip, we’re going to look into what relaxes us. So I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, the ocean has always been a place that I feel peaceful. I can sit in the sand, hear the ocean waves, feel the salty breeze, and can think through whatever is going on in my life, and I just feel better. I think it’s mainly the sound, there’s something soothing about the sound of waves crashing on the shore. That’s what works for me anyway. Other people have other things that relax them. For some, it’s hearing crickets each evening as they chirp away. For others, it’s hearing nothing at all, just focusing on silence and their breathing.

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Now, how many of you can honestly say that you get to go to your relaxation area each day? Not many, I know that even though I’m near the beach, I don’t get out to it every day, there’s just not enough time for me to do so. Luckily, there’s a way to bring our relaxation to us in our homes, and no, you won’t need a lot of money or even a lot of space necessarily. Creating a relaxation area is something you can do if you only have a small corner of a room to work with or the whole room.

Here are some tips to create a relaxation area in your home:

  • Determine your space. So if you have a spare bedroom that you’re not using for anything, you can use it to create your meditation room or your relaxation space. If you don’t, don’t worry, just find space in a corner of a room or in one specific area of your home.
  • Download some apps. If noises are something that really help to relax you, download some free apps on your phone that will play different sounds. You can easily find a crackling fire or the sound of waves on the shore. With that background, if you close your eyes, you’ll transport yourself to your happy place in no time.
  • Decorate as needed. What colors help to soothe you? Do you find blue relaxing or maybe a mint green to help calm you down after a rough day? Even if you can’t paint an entire room, find a painting or paint a strip of a wall. Add some flowers or something that reminds you of that area. Put a comfy chair for you to sit and relax in the room. Make it nice and clear of all distractions and clutter, so you can focus on your relaxation.
  • Add an essential oil diffuser or candle. Whether you live with essential oils or not, there are plenty of studies showing that certain smells do help with relaxation. If the beach is your thing, there are plenty of ocean breeze candles out there, my favorites are from Bath and Body Works. If you prefer more woods or are going for a meditation room, try sandalwood or lavender scents.
  • Get an eye mask if needed. If you struggle to keep your eyes closed, and are drawn to your phone, put it in another room and get an eye mask for your area. This will help you to keep your eyes closed, and allow yourself to relax for a bit, no matter what time of day.

Whether you have a budget of $500 for this project and can go all out renovating a room or you can only spend $20, there’s a way to make this work for everyone, and then you’ll have a little piece of your personal relaxation all at your fingertips. Now more than ever, with how hectic and go go go our lives are, it’s important to find time to relax and unwind each day. The easiest way to do that is to create a relaxation area in your home.

Get a Massage

Hey y’all welcome to my section on wellness! With everything going on in our lives it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves, and an easy way to relax, unwind, and take care of yourself physically and mentally is by getting a massage.

Massages to me, are things that I budget out for once a month, as a part of my stress relief. I tend to hold tension in my shoulders, which can cause neck and shoulder pain, not to mention headaches, and is just generally bad for you. An easy way for me to fix this is with a 60 minute stress relief massage. It’s amazing, I get to just drift away into zen mode for an hour, and I always feel so much better afterwards. Maybe a little sore depending on how stressed I was that month, but you get the idea.

I’m big on saving money, and a lot of people ask why I make that a priority in my life since they can range anywhere from $30-$100 depending on where you go. I make sure to get a massage each month because I know that stress is dangerous for my health, and this is something that really helps it. To me, that makes it completely worth the cost.

Sometimes, we have to just splurge and spend money on ourselves, especially when it’s for the good of our health. Not only are massages good for stress relief, but they improve circulation as well, and obviously, we all need good circulation. I highly recommend if you’ve never had one before but have considered it that you go give it a try. I got hooked, and I’m sure you will too!

Take a Lazy Day

Did you know that one lazy day a week can help reduce stress, blood pressure, risk of stroke, and risk of heart disease? So listen to your body and take a lazy day. With all the running around we do, taking a day to just relax and catch up on your favorite shows or just hang with friends sounds pretty nice.

Practice Yoga or Meditation

Take a few minutes, unroll your yoga mat, and practice some yoga or meditation. Give yourself a few minutes of finding your Zen and relaxing after the busy couple of days you’ve had. Holidays can be rough, so stay calm.

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