Finding the Calm in Your Cupboards

By MJ Ali

Let’s face it. Daily life stress is more the norm than the exception for most people, and we don’t always think we have the time to do anything for ourselves that will help alleviate that stress. Too expensive, too involved, not enough time.

What if you could find something you already have in your home and do something simple that only takes minutes? There are even some things you can do that involve nothing but your own body.

Nothing-but-you things you can do

Breathe. Often, especially when we’re stressed, we end up taking these shallow breaths that are getting just enough oxygen to our blood to keep us upright. But even one nice deep mindful breath can reset you in powerful ways. You can do breathing while doing the dishes, imagining your kids back at school (I did not say that), or pretty much anything.

When we’re stressed, we go into survival mode, and this includes our breathing. Changing this one thing even for a few seconds can have a wonderful domino effect on other body stressors as well.

Stretch. Sometimes just taking a second to check in with our posture and where we’re holding our tension can help us reset. There are also easy, quick stretches we can do anywhere and any time. Stretching helps increase blood flow to the muscles among many other things. You can read more about some of the benefits here.

Abdominal massage. You know that expression, “tied up in knots?” Our abdomens house our vital organs and they get stressed when we’re stressed. Thirty seconds standing or lying down, doesn’t matter. Whatever you can do. Just massage gently from navel outward in a clockwise motion, or simply palpate, find your tender spots and give them some TLC. Anything is better than nothing, and it can have a profound affect.

Smile! Believe it or not, smiling provides powerful physiological and emotional benefits. You don’t have to want to smile to reap the benefits, either. Just smile! In addition to releasing endorphins, smiling also has a domino affect that might surprise you. Read more about it here.

Stuff-in-the-house things you can do

Nothing elaborate, just simple things that take seconds.

Water! Oh heck yeah. Hydrate inside and out. The cliché “water is life” really is true. Lots of folks end up reaching for other beverages under stress, from energy drinks to soda. Replace just one of those beverages with water. Just one. If you feel a little better, replace another one. Why not? Water is what helps our bodies do what they do, and when under stress, they need all the help they can get.

Dry brushing. Doing a lymph brushing really helps detoxify, and is very easy to do. Before a shower, use a brush or loofa and brush your skin from extremities toward your core (from feet to torso, hands to armpits). This action helps move lymph toward areas of drainage. Lymph is related to stress, and a helping hand can encourage optimal function. Plus, it helps with overall circulation, and also assists in removing dead skin cells (I know, ew, but necessary).

Good smells. I love aromatherapy, but sometimes a simple sniff of something we love can be effective, too. It is our most powerful sense, so when we smell our favorite flower, or the spray from a citrus fruit, freshly crushed herbs, cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint, it can be very powerful. Many of these things are right in our homes, and don’t require setup or extra cost. This can be especially helpful if we have family members who are sensitive to essential oils or just don’t like them. You know your senses better than anyone. If sticking your nose in that bag of coffee beans inspires you to get things done or clarifies your mind, or you feel energized after smelling that peppermint extract, do it! Why not?

Whatever you decide to try to help reduce stress, keeping it simple keeps it doable. Here’s to finding your moments of “ahhhhh.”

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