Keep calm and drink tea The soothing benefits of tea

Tea vs. coffee. Why do people have to take a side, it’s not a federal election for goodness sake.

Try your green tea with a bit of honey.

I love both, and see it (or rather, drink it) in a yin-yang way. I love a morning coffee, but I also relish my afternoon and evening teas. A good cup of tea is soothing and provides mental clarity.

Dr. Malcolm Cross and Dr. Rita Michaels, psychologists at the City University London, conducted a research study that focused on how effective tea is when someone is feeling anxiety. They found that “tea not only relieved the anxiety of the task itself, but it also made the participants more relaxed than they were before they did the task.”

Certain teas have various medicinal benefits that contribute to overall good health. Best Health delves into which teas have these health benefits.

Which teas are perfect for relaxation?

There are so many to pick from, but some of the popular teas for relaxation are:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Green
  • Valerian Root
  • Lemon Balm
  • Jasmine (the flowers are mixed with white or green tea leaves).

I find that certain brands are superior to others, in taste and quality. Organic tea brands are your best bet, if you yearn for that exceptional cup of tea.

It’s not just the tea itself that is calming, but also the simple ritual of putting on a kettle.

Unwind with some tea and a friend.

People associate teas with breaks. Get up from your desk and make yourself a cuppa. Making some tea won’t take long and it will ease your tension. Next time you’re grocery shopping, pick up a tantalizing box of tea to help you relax.

 

There is one warning I must issue about tea: don’t leave it to cool off and then wander away, because you might forget. Coming back to find a cold tea is always so disappointing.

Waltz your way into peace Use music for immediate calming benefits

You are inherently pretentious; your blood pressure levels prove it. That is, if you consider listening to classical music as being pretentious.

A study headed by the University of California, examined which genre of music lowers blood pressure after subjecting participants to stressful conditions. Classical music was found to quickly reduce the listeners’ blood pressure. I’ll be sure to remember that when filing my income taxes.

Listening to classical music can have immediate calming effects.

Music can soothe your soul, as well as your body. It’s effective in setting a calm ambiance in your home after a long, hard day of school or work. Soft classical music inspires clarity of mind, which is perfect for alleviating stress.

Best classical pieces for stress relief

  • Satie: Trois Gymnopédies
  • Johann Strauss II: The Blue Danube
  • Debussy: Clair De Lune
  • Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata
  • Chopin: Raindrops
  • Liszt: Liebesträume
  • Johann Strauss II: Rosen aus dem Süden

I have these pieces and others in a playlist on my Spotify. I usually play it while I’m driving home because it’s the perfect way to unwind and make the commute more pleasant. I highly doubt that you can have road rage while you’re listening to Debussy’s Claire De Lune.

Try listening to soft classical music in your daily commute.

While classical music is a wonderful way to infuse peace into your life, there are other calming sounds that you can listen to, if you want variation in your playlists.

Peaceful sounds:

  • Rain/soft thunderstorms
  • Gentle waves on rocks
  • Tropical rainforest sounds
  • Soft breeze
Sleep peacefully with soothing white noise playing in the background.

These sounds create white noise that will enhance your mood and will help you ease into a peaceful slumber at night. You can play these sounds on a sound machine to prevent battery depletion on your mobile device. Walmart sells a HoMedics SoundSpa Portable Sound Machine, which has great reviews. I did purchase this exact model years ago, and it was my favourite device (sadly, I lost it in a move).

What’s your favourite music or sound to help you relax?

Amazing Self-Massage Tips and More How to relax at home and in the work place without making a spectacle of yourself

Life Hack: you don’t have to spend lots of money on massage appointments. You can do it yourself to achieve similar results. That’s right, you are a self-reliant person.

While we can all agree that massage feels sinfully good and it makes you feel so relaxed, there are undeniable health benefits. Even that doctor who staunchly disagrees with alternative medicine and treatments will admit to the health benefits of massage. That says A LOT about the effectiveness of massage.

The Mayo Clinic states that there are some studies that indicate that massage is effective in:

  • Reducing stress
  • Combating headaches
  • Relieving insomnia related stress
  • Easing myofascial pain syndrome.

The above list is to name a few of the benefits of massage therapy.

Effective massage is not about a rub down of your muscles. Rather, there are several techniques and targets spots that will reduce you to a pool of putty. Buzzfeed offers 11 easy self-massage tips that will make you feel great.

I am a huge fan of reflexology because it gives me fast relief of muscle tension and can be done at my desk, while I’m in the throes of stress and pain.  The Toronto School of TCM displays the best pressure points for sleep and relaxation.

This head massager is a must have. Keep one at your work desk for on the go relief.

Some items you should have at your home to help you with self-massage are:

  • Rolling pin
  • Head massager
  • Tennis balls
  • Resistance band.

These tools can be found in your local dollar store.

After your bath (add some epsom salts or a few drops of lavender essential oil for added calming benefits) or a hot shower, remember to do your own TLC by trying out the massage and reflexology tips in this post.

Add epsom salts and or lavender oil to your bath for added relief.

Instead of going into panic mode or gritting your teeth out of frustration at your work place, don’t forget to try out these quick reflexology tips and or using the head massager. It might save your job and prevent jail time.

Organization is the Key to Tranquility How clutter can prevent you from attaining peace

CLEAN YOUR ROOM. These are the nagging words uttered by every mom. You probably rolled your eyes as you answered her—but hopefully not in her eyesight.

These old memories may not inspire great nostalgia; however, our moms have a valid point. Psychology Today verifies that living and working in a tidy space significantly decreases stress in your mind and body.

How can a little clutter in your life prevent you from feeling tranquil?

The very epitome of stress.

Psychologist, Sherrie Bourg Carter, states that “clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.”

 

 

Clutter can also:

  • Cause tension by making the person feel that he/she should be embarrassed
  • Distract your mind from thinking about worthwhile thoughts
  • Prevent easy access to your needed items (the ever-frustrating search for your cell phone).

As steadfast as you may be in your proclamation that you are unaffected by the “mess,” let’s be real, everyone feels better in a clean and tidy room. Your senses don’t have to battle against extra environmental stimuli (and no more frustrating searches for your cell phone).

It could be that you simply abhor the cleaning process. If you have more than one place to de-clutter and or tidy up, I strongly recommend tackling it all on different days to avoid putting it off and feeling overwhelmed. HGTV offers some great advice on how to effectively organize your space.

Once your work space or living area is de-cluttered and organized, ensure that you restore items to their intended places, otherwise the mess will grow and take on a life of its own.

It’s natural to feel relaxed in a tidy place.

Living and working in a clean and organized place will make you feel more happier and in control of your life. Organization is an easy and quick way to find serenity in your life.

 

 

Follow Your Heart…and Your Nose The Benefits of Aromatherapy

Our noses are bombarded with different scents every day, some lovely, while others can be downright unpleasant. It’s safe to say that our noses do more than just bring oxygen to our lungs, as vital as that is of course. Indeed, your nose also plays a big role in your mood.

Inhaling essential oils to gain various benefits, including calmness, is the art of aromatherapy. The concept of aromatherapy was practiced thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations, like the Egyptians.

Essential oils are potent concentrations of plants. Therefore, it’s always important to carefully handle these oils by not ingesting them and to avoid direct skin contact without a carrier oil, no matter how lovely the smell.

The most well known essential oils for relaxation are:

  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Rose
  • Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Frankincense
  • Vetiver (don’t use a lot of it at work, you might sleep on the job)
An inexpensive and easy to use essential oil diffuser.

Some of the best ways to practice aromatherapy is to use a diffuser to disperse the essential oils into the air. There are diffuser machines, or a simple one with a candle will do just as well.

 

Quick and easy application on the go.

I personally use a dark coloured (protection from sunlight), glass roller vial and fill it with a carrier oil, like olive oil. This vial contains about 5 to 6 drops each of my favourite calming oils, like lavender and bergamot. The olive oil will allow you to apply the oils directly to your skin. The best part is to inhale the beautiful aroma, with closed eyes, and be transported to a serene place.

For those who are skeptical and didn’t expect to read a bit of poetic sentiment, I assure you there is a scientific explanation. The essential oils stimulate your olfactory receptors, ultimately sending a signal to your amygdala, the part of your brain that involves emotion and memory.

The next time you feel stressed, whip out your trusty essential oils to savour some tranquility… because your nose said so.

Make a Healthy Choice

Let’s be honest, how many of us believe that to be genuinely relaxed means to be away on some tropical trip or booked at a fancy spa? I used to think that to be really relaxed takes time and is difficult to achieve. In trying to reach this level of relaxation, I was just adding more stress to my life. Anyways, who has the time and the money to indulge in this grandiose level of calm?

We all have commitments, deadlines, budgets—in short, we all suffer from stress. Some more than others. There are easy and quick ways to effectively feel relaxed without selling your soul to the bank or potentially get fired for booking off too many vacation days. Some examples of effective relaxation techniques are aromatherapy and maximizing your pressure points.

It’s no surprise that stress can affect your body as much as your mind. The Mayo Clinic states that stress can cause any symptoms from headaches to drug or alcohol abuse. The World Health Organization claims that depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Just reading that made me feel very unsettled.

time to charge our bodies and mind with serenity

Now more than ever, we live in an age where we are inundated with unbelievable amounts of data to the point where our senses are being overwhelmed. I’m not saying let’s ditch technology, but let’s remember to take some time each day to recharge our senses and feel the calm. We all deserve it.

Relaxation does not have to be a luxury. It should be an important part of your everyday life. In each post, I will discuss a different relaxation technique, so stay tuned.