The daily grind sometimes is exhausting. In fact, a poll from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 49 percent of Americans reported having a major stressful event or experience in the past year, and 26 percent of people said they had a “great deal” of stress.
In small amounts, stress can push a person to act and grow. But constant stress can become debilitating and has been linked to a compromised immune system and other unhealthy side effects. This is why a number of people resolve to reduce stress.
In addition to taking on fewer responsibilities, engaging in some activities to promote a relaxed mind and body can help alleviate stress and tension. Though the term “pampering” may not appeal to everyone, a day of pampering might be just what you need to relieve stress and unwind.
• Get a full-body massage. Licensed massage therapists have the training and knowledge to work the kinks out of your muscles and ease aches and pains. Massage therapy works tension out of the body and can help release feel-good endorphins. A massage can improve circulation and help reduce blood pressure. It’s difficult to walk out of a spa without feeling relaxed.
• Schedule a manicure and pedicure appointment. If you do not have time for a full massage, having your hands and feet pampered can be a good substitute. Manicures and pedicures are not just for ladies, either. Men can indulge and opt for no nail polish. Many salons offer different types of manicures and pedicures, depending on personal preference. Spa treatments may include warm paraffin wax or hot stones to further ease pain and enhance the pleasure of the experience.
• Take a retreat. Schedule a trip to a resort or even a small hotel that is away from the hustle and bustle of where you live. Such a respite can provide a welcome change. New scenery and a chance to escape the daily grind can effectively relieve stress. Consider low-tech accommodations and turn your phone or tablet off for a few days.
• Try relaxing aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils to elicit mental and physical responses. Lavender is a relaxing scent that can be used during a massage or in baths to induce a sense of calm. Experiment with other scents and oils to achieve the desired result.
• Laugh with friends. Plan a friends’ night where you can go out for drinks and conversation or huddle around the television and watch your favorite comedy. Laughter is often a great medicine for stress, as is the company of other people who can provide some comic relief.