April: the month to prioritize your well-being by pursuing what brings you peace of mind, grounds you, and makes you feel like your best self, ready to take on the world, no matter what curveballs life throws your way.
It’s officially National Stress Awareness Month and it’s safe to say that it’s always vitally important to nurture our mental, physical, and emotional well-being so that we can remain balanced when stress shows up. However relaxation looks on you, it’s crucial to not only define it, but actively seek it.
That’s why we’re celebrating April as the perfect time to keep calm and carry on: to develop a healthy relationship with yourself — an opportunity to put your mental well-being first, so you can handle daily stressors with strength and resiliency.
At one time or another, many of us will have experienced a sense of being overwhelmed — that’s because life can be stressful! And, while stress can have serious repercussions on our health, sometimes, simply taking time to pause and rest the mind can be enough to feel better in the moment. In training the mind to be more open and less reactive, we’re better able to cope when life’s stressors — in work, family, relationships, school, finances, even traffic — start accumulating. Rather than being caught up in our stress, these tips teach us to control certain mental patterns, and, therefore, become less affected by them. Here are our top tips to reduce stress now:
Pause and Breathe
When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed take a moment to STOP:
Stop what you’re doing. Give yourself a moment to pause and step back from the situation.
Take a few conscious deep breaths. Notice your breathing in and out through your nose. You can place one hand on the chest and one hand on the belly to help you feel your breath
Observe your experience just as it is including thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Tune in and sit with whatever is arising for you without judgment.
Proceed mindfully. Consider how you’d like to proceed and take it one step at a time.
Move Your Body
Did you know April is also Move More Month? Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. It pumps up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Any aerobic activity can contribute to this same high feeling. It reduces negative effects of stress on the body, such as the flight or fight response, and instead helps increase the positive effects — including your cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems. It's also meditation in motion. Post-work-out you may often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations while concentrating on your body's movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, the energy and optimism from focusing on a single task can help you stay calm, clear, and focused in everything you do.
Try Restorative Yoga
The practice of restorative yoga allows for the nervous system to come back into balance, for the breath to deepen and for the mind to settle. Postures are floor-based and held for several minutes (5-20 minutes per pose) with the use of props, such as bolsters, blankets, blocks, and eye bags to support the body to rest deeply. It is a gradual process of downshifting the nervous system from our stress response which is the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) to the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which is our relaxation response.
Developing a consistent meditation practice has been scientifically proven to aid in reducing stress. A 2016 study from Harvard University revealed that meditation had longer lasting effects on reducing stress than going on vacation. If you’re new to meditation try using an app like Headspace or Insight Timer that offer free guided meditations. Once you build up your practice you can then meditate without guidance.
Incorporate Mindfulness into Daily Life
Take time to slow down and find a short daily activity you can do mindfully. It can be brushing your teeth, drinking a cup of tea, or washing your hands. Focus on the activity and notice any thoughts, feelings, or emotions arising moment by moment.
Connect with Nature
Taking a long walk in the woods or visiting your local park can be a wonderful antidote to the stresses of everyday life. When we connect with nature we connect with the Earth. This can make our internal world seem insignificant in the bigger picture of things, such as the miracle of life. It gives us the opportunity to step away from our technology, stretch our legs, and breathe fresh air. Not to mention, April 22nd is Earth Day, another reason to embrace the beautiful natural world around us.
Cuddle Your Pet
A daily snuggle is good for both you and your furry friend! When we’re busy with our daily lives, it’s easy to lose track of the things that matter most. Between the stresses of work, social obligations, and an ever-growing to-do list, cuddling with your pet often falls by the wayside. Instead, stop what you’re doing and give the love and affection it’s craving. When you cuddle with your pet, it stimulates the brain’s production of Oxytocin (also called the “love hormone”) in both of you. This is the same hormone that is released during childbirth and when a mother breastfeeds her baby. It’s associated with feelings of trust, empathy, and strong bond formation. Oxytocin also inhibits cortisol production. High levels of this stress hormone can lead to weight gain, reduced immune function, and an array of other problems. Cuddling with your pet can lower your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, and stimulate the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which help relieve depression and may make you feel happier. The act of holding and stroking your pet is also an effective way to combat anxiety. It creates a calming effect and helps you focus on the present moment. And guess what? April is also National Pet Month!
Book A Day At The Spa
Our SpaSpace partner spas are just the place to combat stress and reconnect with oneself this season.
At SpaSpace, we are dedicated to enhancing one’s whole well-being, through personalized services and world-class spa experiences, customized to meet each individual’s unique needs.
Now it’s time to take the first step in practicing self-care in April. Let us treat you with mind and body rejuvenation at one of our luxury spa locations nearest you. Click here to book the ultimate spa day for YOU just in time to stay ahead of the game for National Stress Awareness Month!