This past year has tested stress levels in many ways. Just about everyone we know has been struggling in one way or another as the world continues through such a confusing time. The best way to combat stress and balance mind, body, and soul is to focus on the things we can control. No matter how small they may seem, each mindful step in the right direction has a powerful impact on our well-being. I (Barbara) have found an array of techniques that help me achieve calm and wellness on a daily basis. I slowly added health-focused changes to my routine and saw the transformation happen slowly but surely. Here are my favorite ways to tackle stress through small changes and consistency:
Don't let this word scare you! You do not have to join a gym to reap the benefits of a workout. A daily, brisk walk can do wonders for you. It boosts mood by pumping oxygen into the brain, releasing feel-good endorphins. Spending time outside can also help lower your risk for developing certain neurological conditions. To renew your spirit, simply breathe fresh air and admire nature's beauty.
This is another way that I balance my mind, body, and soul. Stretching and holding poses improves strength, balance, and flexibility. Deep breathing and slow movements increase blood flow and warms up your muscles. Yoga can also reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. Incorporating meditative music, candles, incense, or essential oils will create a soothing atmosphere and help you achieve calm. Set aside a few minutes at the end of your practice for meditation, in order to rest your mind. You will be amazed at how good you feel!
This is just as important as exercise; it regenerates your body. The more sleep you get, the better you will perform the next day. If you struggle with sleep difficulties or insomnia try some of these tips:
Turn off the blue-light-emitting devices one hour before bed. Blue light, whether from the sun, laptop, or phone, is very effective at inhibiting melatonin production-thus reducing both the quantity and quality of your sleep.
Incorporate a high-quality magnesium supplement into your routine. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to decreased melatonin. I take magnesium every night to alleviate my restless legs and support a good night's sleep.
Avoid caffeine after 5 PM. Most people take four to six hours to metabolize caffeine.
Lower your thermostat. Our core body temperature drops at night and sends a signal to the brain that it's time to sleep. A warm room can inhibit this process. 62 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit may work best for sleeping.
Read. Grab a book or magazine to help prepare your mind for sleep. Reading allows your muscles to relax and slows down your breathing, leaving you calmer.
Take a soothing bath. Soak the tension away in a warm bath of scented sea salts. Sea salts can stimulate circulation, ease muscle cramps, relieve stiffness in joints, aid arthritis and back pain, and soothe achy legs and feet. Plus, sea salts help cleanse and detoxify the largest organ in your body: your skin. Try our Baja Mama Bath Salts; you will dream of clear waters, white sands, and beautiful cactus blossoms!
Utilize essential oils. An oil roller, pillow spray, or diffuser can increase the amount of slow, deep-wave sleep. Certain essential oils promote feelings of relaxation and drowsiness that help you fall asleep quickly. Try our Oil Roller for Sleep.
Stop to think about the things you have going for you and appreciate them. Take the time to make a mental list of the things you're grateful for first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. You can even write them in a journal! This simple act can relieve stress, strengthen social relationships, and provide overall health benefits.
Smile & Breathe
When you smile, even a fake smile, it can make us feel happier in the moment. Your smile can even bring joy to another person, too. In addition, incorporate deep-breathing throughout the day to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and gain a sharper focus.
Dark, leafy greens should be a staple in your daily diet. They are SO rich in vitamins and minerals. Salad greens, kale and spinach are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, and broccoli, bok choy and mustard are also rich in many of the B-vitamins. These vegetables also contain an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants that protect cells and play roles in blocking the early stages of cancer. They also contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol. Start every morning with a healthy green smoothie, and you will feel your body thank you for it. We love this Vegan Green Smoothie.
No matter your personal beliefs, it's important that each and everyone of us develops a powerful connection to our souls. This past year, my own spiritual journey has impacted my life in so many interesting and positive ways. With the onset of the pandemic, I was at a point of despair, lacking the fulfillment I got from attending church each week. Then, a friend asked me to join a Bible study, and I became part of an amazing church and community. I am learning how to incorporate spirituality into my daily life and be mindful of faith. An incredible faith that brings me joy and trust, even in the darkest times. I hope that you can find a way to grow in your faith, no matter what it may be...so long as it truly connects you with your soul.
These exact techniques have helped me to balance my mind, body, and soul during a very stressful time. It did not happen all at once; I made small changes everyday, as I was able to handle more. We would love to hear the steps you take to alleviate and balance stress in your own life. Leave a comment below!
P.S. - try our Oil Roller for Stress! We love this for soothing our body and mind from daily stressors!
Co-Owner of Nora Natural Shop