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Natural Ways to Relax

The holiday’s aren’t just around the corner.  They’re here!  I thought a post about natural ways to relax was as important as ever to share.

I’ve pretty much dealt with anxiety most of my life.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered techniques that when implemented correctly, have truly made a world of a difference for me.

Holy basil aka Tulsi aka the Queen of Herbs, my current favorite.

holy-basil

It’s a garden herb, closely related to sweet basil that originally hailed from India.  We’re currently growing a few patches in our own garden.  I simply take a handful of the leaves and steep in warm water for 5-10 minutes and sip on the tea.  Not only is taking a moment out for yourself nice and encourages you to slow down, the act of sipping something warm and comforting can also be calming and ritualistic.  Its role in holistic ayurvedic medicine has been long standing and is said to be a natural anxiety remedy.  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s caffeine free and full of antioxidants.

Melatonin or Kava for sleep.

kava

When I’m feeling restless, I just know that sleep is far from my reach.  That’s when melatonin helps.  It’s a small supplement that contains a hormone that’s naturally found in our bodies.  You can find it at most stores in the vitamin aisle.  I personally only need 3-5 mg and fall asleep after 15-20 minutes of taking it.  I have friends that take valerian supplements for a similar effect but I’ve never taken it myself.  Alternatively, if I’m out of melatonin or wanting something warm to cuddle up with before bed, I brew myself a cup of kava tea.  I was first introduced to this root-tea with sedative qualities in Hawaii.  For a milder cuppa, chamomile is nice and soothing.

Essential Oil Diffusers.

diffuser

This real bamboo diffuser is the one I have that was given to me by some friends for one birthday.  Heat and bpa free, it maintains the integrity of the essential oils you’re putting in.  My favorite ones are the ever classic lavender and my new favorite, frankincense which I’ve been obsessively diffusing and adding to all my lotions.  As you probably already know, lavender has long been used in aromatherapy for its relaxing benefits but frankincense is something I just discovered a couple years ago and I’ve been delighted at just how versatile it’s been as well.  I enjoy diffusing since it naturally scents the air without releasing any toxins like traditional candles.  My homemade beeswax candles do the same thing.  For an alternative source of ambiance, I also enjoy salt lamps.  Unfortunately, since moving to the tropics and never running AC, mine has melted and dwindled down to a numb.  I find salt lamps interesting since they work by emitting negative ions into the air which are also prevalent in nature {particularly around water}.  This is precisely why I chose to live my life by the sea.  The water alone helps to release my anxiety.

Magnesium.

Bath salt

Sure, you could take a magnesium supplement.  They seem to be all the rage right now, but I prefer the old fashioned method of allowing an epsom salt bath soak into my skin.  Ever wonder why when you’re super stressed out, it’s easier to get sick?  Magnesium helps to maintain a healthy immune system and supports regular blood pressure and sugars.

You’ve heard it all before…

Breathe!  Meditate!  Exercise!  Journal!  These are things that are harder for me than anything else.  When I’m stressed, I tend to hold my breath in {does anyone else do that?!}  If I’m busy, I don’t make time for exercise and then who has time to journal or meditate?  These are all defeatist things that float around in your head that you don’t have to listen to.  I’ve noticed that when I make myself park my butt down to take a second to not only catch my breath, but to take deep, deliberate ones, it helps to center my core and slow me down.  Meditating in the water while floating on my back is something that also helps me a great deal.  It really helps to empty out the garbage in my head and flood it with those healthy negative ions I was talking about and fill it with GRATITUDE instead.  Gratitude is the most important one of them all.  When I maintain this perspective, I’m too busy feeling blessed.

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