In 2020, stress and anxiety has become a universal issue. Let’s dedicate August, also known as the Wellness Month, to improving the health of our immune system by alleviating stress. While taking care of the mind and body is more important than ever, some of us hesitate to embrace tried-and-true ancient remedies. This is the time to keep an open mind, educate yourself, ask questions, and have a sense of adventure. No matter how silly you feel, using your common sense, and wanting to feel better, is at the core of all all our suggestions. As a mental health advocate, and depression sufferer, I know it takes saying “enough is enough” to start a wellness journey. Here is a list to get you started.
Grounding – Grounding has become a type of buzzword in the wellness community, but this is no trend. Athletes, famous actors and doctors do it. I was lucky to grow up in a natural setting; in a village surrounded by mountains. As a child, running barefoot in grassy fields, or climbing trees barefoot was normal for me. I consider it a privilege, one that not all children get to experience. In fact, my ancestors had no choice but to be barefoot at times – No money for shoes that would survive all seasons. Today, shoes are a must, but they do have their time and place. It is as simple as taking your shoes off in your backyard or park. Feel and connect with the ground under you. Grounding (similar to earthing) is a free gift from Mother Earth; one we fail to take advantage of. She supplies endless electrons to heal and recharge you. All you have to do is put your bare feet and/or hands on the earthy ground and stay that way for 15 minutes, or longer. The Earth’s surface gives us an instant natural electric charge. This recharge has the potential to help reduce inflammation, stress, energy and improve sleep. Try it for yourself, and get the kids involved.
Hydrotherapy – When it comes to mental wellness, water and therapeutic treatments have a complicated history. While in the past, some mental health treatments took things to extreme levels, using hydrotherapy safely still remains to be one of your best stress relieving friends. Bathing is an ancient ritual, one that provides many benefits. When it comes to stress, one of the most annoying side effects is insomnia. Showers are quicker, but if you can’t fall asleep, I highly recommend a warm bath soak. Even better, make the soak count with a special product. Try a few scoops of Kanya’s Tranquility Soak & Scrub.
According to an article in Psychology Today, a warm bath before bedtime is more effective than a shower. In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Michael J. Breus (who specializes in sleep disorders), says – “Baths can also help you fall asleep faster and more consistently. The effect has been attributed to a drop in the body’s core temperature after the bath and the fact that warm baths are very relaxing. Certainly, both those factors play a role, but new research indicates that a warm bath at night signals the release of melatonin, a hormone that basically tells your body that it is time to sleep.”
For more bath soak or balneotherapy benefits read our story on the 10 Powerful Benefits of a Bath Soak.
Get in Savasana – Savasana is a calming yoga pose (my favorite one), and while it might look simple, some might find it difficult. When guided into savasana by a teacher, the pose can be beyond relaxing. When practicing yoga on your own, self-guiding might be necessary. To get into this pose, lay down on your yoga mat or floor. Try to extend your arms and legs away from your torso in even lengths. Guide yourself with self-talk: start by telling yourself to relax your feet, your legs, your torso, relax your shoulders, your forehead and your head. Unclench your jaw. To help you get there and avoid any distractions, cover your eyes with a soft eye mask, or eye pillow.
Masturbation – Sexual wellness is an important part of our lives. We know masturbation provides stress relief, but don’t take it from me. The spike in sales of sexual wellness devices speak for themselves. The Founder of PlusOne, an affordable but quality line of pleasure devices, Jamie Leventhal says: “plusOne is at the forefront of democratizing sexual wellness, eliminating taboos, emphasizing the health aspects of masturbation and orgasms by providing quality stress relief at a fair price during a time when sexual self-care products have evolved from a typically luxury and pleasure perspective into more of a wellness necessity. Self-care is an essential necessity.”
Meditation – This is an obvious one. Mindfulness and meditation are often recommended by our friends and therapists alike. There is a good reason for that. Practicing meditation works on lowering stress levels. If you have trouble getting started, like I did, try using an experienced friend or app as a guide. I find that a soothing and guiding voice helps me cross that threshold from worrying to feeling tranquil. Start out slowly and limit your expectations. When I have a hard time pushing myself into meditation, I set the scene. Here is how.
Unplug from all electronics. Find a quiet spot in your home. Sit or lay down. In the beginning all you have to do is concentrate on staying in the present, feeling the surfaces or fabrics around you. Either close your eyes, or pay attention to the details of the world around you. If your feet are on the ground, feel your feet connecting with the earth, also known a grounding. For your next step, focus on your breathing. Pay attention to your body, your chest moving up and down, inhaling and exhaling. Don’t try to. control your breathing. Remember to be nice yourself. Don’t judge yourself if you can’t get into it right away. Simply close your eyes, put your hand on your chest. Keep bringing your mind and body back to the present, and back to your breathing. The point of mindfulness is to remain in the moment, not thinking about your to-do list or life stresses. This is your time to relax. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes, and try to do it longer each time you do it.
Diffusing Bergamont – Essentail oils are a controversial subject. Many swear by them, and many think they are bogus. My tip is to find organic or 100% pure essential oils. Quality and brand transparency is key in finding the right oil for you. I use essential oils when I experience menstrual cramps, diluting lavender or peppermint oil with fragrance-free cream and rubbing it on my stomach. My other favorite way to use essential oils is by diffusing them. Bergamont is my current favorite oil because it does wonders for your mood and depression. Scent therapy is real and has real potential to alleviate your stress. All you have to do is try it for yourself.