9 ways to chill the f out

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We are living in stressful times, but there are lots of tools to help access a state of calmness. I’ve made a list of some of my go-tos (the brass hands in the pic above are from Consort, the crystals are from here and there and the tray is from Pottery Barn).

1. Breathe. This is a biggie. Take a deep breath in for 2 counts..then let it out for 4 counts....there. Now do that 4 or 5 times. Always spend a longer time on the outward breath. The outward breath is linked to the part of the nervous system that triggers relaxation. If you are into this and you want more, check out another breathing technique here.

2. Take a relaxing bath. Wash the stress of the day off and watch it go down the drain. If you really want to take it to the next level - pour in 1 cup of Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil.

3. Go for a walk, run, or get on the elliptical. Exercising and getting outside are great ways to get clear.

4. Stay in the present. Don't look back, don't look forward. This sounds so simple, and it is simple.  Whenever I find myself thinking about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow, I lead my mind back to the present. I am HERE now, stay HERE.

5. Aromatherapy. Smells can hold memories, tell stories, evoke, attract, repel and comfort. Put a few drops of essential oil on your wrists and whenever you need a hit of good mood, it's there. I like lavender, sandalwood, cucumber and chamomile. I use Aura Cacia essential oils, find them here. Incense is a non negotiable in our home, I use Triloka incense. Find it here.

6. Yoga. If you don't already do yoga, do a few restorative yoga poses. I do one or two mostly every night before bed.  Check out these.

7. Meditate. Find somewhere quiet, sit down, close your eyes and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, that's okay, it happens...come back gently, back to the breath. Just a few minutes a day. You can find meditation music and guided meditations online. You could also check out the Headspace app.

8. Love. Hug it out.

9. Perspective. Sometimes I look at whatever it is that is causing stress, and I put it into perspective. Is it really that big of a deal? And you know what? It usually never is.

The truth is that there are lots of things we can do to get calm and relax when we need to. Sometimes I sit with my anxiety way too long and sometimes I do the thing that helps. These techniques and ideas are all over the internet now, so much so that we don’t even pay much attention anymore, it’s just part of the noise. The long lists of the things that we should do to relax becomes one of the reasons why we are stressed in the first place. The pressure of wellness. Do what you can, when you can.

Until next time, Ava