HOW TO DE-STRESS NATURALLY – LPN’S TOP 6 STRESS RELIEF TIPS
Stress is one of the biggest causes of premature aging (up there with sun exposure). Wait, what? When you’re stressed out, blood begins to flow to your muscles and other extremities preparing you for “fight or flight” and is diverted away from key operations such as absorbing vitamins and minerals. When you’re stressed out, your B vitamins are depleted at far above normal rates and chronic stress depletes your beauty vitamin C as well as zinc and magnesium (all key components to the beautiful skin). So, if your longevity and happiness aren’t good enough reasons to start winding down, then at least, save your skin 😉
So with a lot on my mind, too little sleep and not enough “me time”, I used the weekend slow down, reflect, nourish, move and connect. Given that I was practicing this self-love, I was also inspired to share my Top 6 Ways to Destress Naturally. Apologies in advance for the lack of product recco’s in this post – but a lot of this comes down to you and your core.
1. Movement & Yoga
Whether it is getting up off the couch and out for a walk, or putting yourself upside down to change up your view on things, the movement is key in helping remove stress. We all know this, we’ve been hearing it for ages, but I have to admit, for me, yoga can be magic when I am stressed. It can be magic at recharging the batteries with both restorative poses and intense poses (while restorative can bring you back down to the earth, more intense poses can be invigorating and aid in getting your life force back up to its full capacity).
Yes, sleep obviously, but what I’m talking about here is relaxation – conscious relaxation. When I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, making my space feel tranquil and peaceful is hugely important to me. What that means to you might be different, maybe it’s as simple as lighting a candle or putting on wooly socks with a cup of tea, or maybe it’s diffusing essential oils and listening to calming music. Regardless of what it is, it is all rooted in removing yourself from digital devices (and all that comes with that) and really just connecting.
3. Herbs & Essential Oils
When it comes to herbs, I love what they can do for our bodies naturally. Do keep in mind though, herbs can be powerful. Always check with your healthcare practitioner if you have any conditions that could be affected by the use of herbs – or if you are growing a little one in your belly.
4. Nature & Meditation
Getting out in nature, grounding into the earth and connecting with your breath are powerful experiences when it comes to calming the mind and body. Something about getting out near the water, into the trees, or onto the grass that just helps you feel more aligned and at ease. After spending a long day in the office, try and place yourself in nature – even if it is for just a short period of time – and come into your breath.
Meditation doesn’t necessarily mean you sit with your legs in the lotus position and close your eyes, maybe meditation for you is running the trails, or walking around a garden (or in my case in the north, the snow). Whatever it is you do, take some moments to come into yourself – breathe, take notice of the breath, and if you can do it out in nature, all the better.
Nourishing your body is huge when it comes to combatting stress. Feeding it with sugars, caffeine, and refined foods can wreck havoc on your well-being – both physically and mentally. You’re likely already living a healthy life, but do make a point of taking extra care of your body during stressful times.
The connection is so hugely important when it comes to stress. Yes, alone time is good, but hiding away from the world isn’t always beneficial. That being said connection doesn’t need to be with a person, heck it can be with your pet (my puppy back home has the most amazing way of taking away all the worry in the world), your parents, siblings, besties, or even yourself through journaling. What’s important is that you reconnect yourself with love and realign with what’s important. Often times what we are stressing over just needs a change of perspective and with that, we find less of a negative influence in our lives.
BALI YOGA RETREAT
Over the course of the week, we lead a transformative retreat focusing on vinyasa and yin yoga practices, pranayama and meditation. Throughout our journey, we will lead classes which explore our energy centers — our chakras. As we move through our energy centers, we are able to realign ourselves to what is important and tap into that self-love goodness.
Yoga Poses for the Chakras
To prepare for this journey through the chakras, we have put together a fun post talking about poses for each of the chakras.
What does it entail? Read on!
Day 1: On Grounding (1st Chakra)
Our 1st chakra, Muladhara is all about the earth, so we think of grounding, survival, stability and stillness. It works with our adrenals in leveling out our bodies stress to illness, our bones so that we can carry ourselves through life, and our large intestines so that we not only digest our food but also our undigested memories and fears. Tree pose embodies the 1st chakra as a way to feel balanced and steady, it makes us strong and leaves us in a state of true grounding.
Day 2: On Creativity (2nd chakra)
Our 2nd chakra, Svadhisthana is all about sweetness. The sweetness of desire, creativity, and joy. It works with our ovaries and womb for not only procreating but also the act of being creative in our hobbies and life. It assists with the kidneys to remove waste and make room for healing, while our circulatory system to continues to flush and detox the body. It’s all about cultivating our emotional and sensual being. Malasana is the perfect pose for honoring the 2nd chakra. Strengthening the hips and balancing the power, we release to the physical world.
Day 3: On Releasing (3rd chakra)
Our third chakra, Manipura, located above the navel or slightly below the solar plexus, translates from Sanskrit as the “City of Jewels.” It is this space where the core of our personality and ego reside. Letting go is the theme for this chakra as we learn to release attachment and control. In this release, we connect to our true selves. The third chakra governs our kidneys, digestive system, and liver – but also transgresses into areas of spiritual growth, and personal expansion. Tapping into the power of Navasana allows us to work towards cleansing the third chakra by strengthening our abdomen and back.
Day 4: On Devotion (4th Chakra)
Our fourth chakra, Anahata, is located at the heart center. As you can imagine, it’s all about love, and all its forms – including one of the most important: self-love. The heart center is a healing place and a powerful space to contend with as you move through life’s experiences connecting with both yourself and others. It governs a great many things, but most obviously the heart and healing. Here we will focus on the practice of devotion – devotion to our practice, to our happiness and to whatever we connect with. Ustrasana helps us crack open space this space which is often blocked; opening our hearts to new experiences and full blown love.
Day 5: On Receiving (5th Chakra)
Our 5th chakra, Vishuddha, located in the throat, is all about purifying and speaking our truth. The fifth chakra governs the thyroid, parathyroid, jaw, neck, mouth, tongue, and larynx. So to speak, the fifth chakra is blocked when we begin to hold back on our beliefs, thoughts, and will. We will focus on receiving the strength to speak our truth with and through opening postures such as Sarvangasana. By strengthening our fifth chakra, we open ourselves up to the new opportunity and the gifts that we are meant to receive.
Day 6: On Intuition (6th Chakra)
The sixth chakra, Ajna, is also well known as the third eye – or the center for intuition. This is our inner intelligence, where we gain our insights and seek the truth. Often our gut instincts reside in this area of the body. Tapping into the sixth chakra is often about trust. Trusting your insights and trusting your inner voice. In order to open up our third eye and intuition, we will focus in on meditation and pranayama. A wonderful way to enter a meditative state is through breath-work. Nadi Shodhan is a practice of alternate nasal breathing, where nadirefers to subtle energy channel and shodhan is cleaning and purification. Use this breath to help the third eye see!
Day 7: On Bliss and Renewal (7th Chakra)
Our 7th Chakra, Sahasrara is all about bliss and understanding. A deep connection to this part of your body gives you access to the here and now. The seventh chakra works with the pituitary gland and central nervous system to smooth out and relax the body during times of stress. A deep meditation practice can help us access this chakra along with yoga Nidra and even headstand. Anything that can draw you out of your mind and down to the here and now can help this chakra flourish.