#FeelgoodFebruary: How to spend your me-time
Stress has become such a huge part of our daily lives that it’s all too easy to sweep it aside as just a normal feeling rather than taking the time out to combat it. Setting aside twenty minutes a couple of times a week to enjoy some quality me-time could really help lift your mood and reduce your stress levels. You don’t have to do anything fancy, expensive or extreme; here are five of our favourite quick and easy ways to relax and unwind.
1 Have a massage with aromatherapy oils
Essential oils have been used to calm stress and relieve negative energies for longer than any of us can remember. Take the time out of your busy schedule once or twice a week to treat yourself to a facial massage. Opt for eucalyptus or rosemary oil to relieve short-term stress or choose sandalwood or jasmine if you’re feeling angry. If your stress is more on-going, for example if you are suffering a bereavement, frankincense and vetiver oils should help clear your head and lift your mood.
2 Take time out to enjoy a cup of tea
Whenever you’re feeling stressed or down the first thing anyone is likely to do is hand you a cup of tea, but despite it being the pit of many quintessentially British jokes, it actually makes perfect sense too. The phytochemicals found in black tea have been proven to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, in our blood making us instantly calmer. So a quick 15 minute tea break between breakfast and lunch, and another between lunch and dinner could be all you need to make that huge project that’s been looming over you seem all the more manageable.
3 Enrol in a weekly yoga or Pilates class
We know it can be hard to fit regular exercise into your already packed schedule but if you can squeeze in just one yoga or Pilates class a week (even if it’s at home with a DVD) you could improve your stress levels greatly. Stretching doesn’t just loosen and relax muscles but it also relaxes your mind, reducing your stress levels to a minimum.
4 Set aside the laptop to tuck into three meals a day
When we skip meals our blood sugar levels go loopy making us prone to mood swings and increased stress levels. When you’re feeling stressed the immediate reaction is to reach for the most sugary snack available to you. Don’t. Choose something instead that will give you a long-lasting energy boost, bringing your stress levels down and improving your general health.
5 Go shopping for mood-boosting snacks
Step out of the office once in a while to stock up on the sort of must-have snacks that will improve your mood and keep you working at your maximum ability without stressing you out. Foods packed with vitamin C are known for keeping levels of the stress hormone cortisol and blood pressure low – citrus fruits, peppers and broccoli are all good sources of vitamin C. Brazil nuts are also a good snack to keep on your desk as the selenium in them will help prevent anxiety. Celery and carrot sticks are also good for relieving a tense jaw, one of the prime symptoms of stress – and they’re healthy too.
Got any more suggestions for how to spend your me-time? Tweet and tell us @healthymag