Just Breathe // 6 Tips to Reducing Stress + Product Review

For as long as I can remember I have experienced anxiety and stress. Even in high school, I can recall long nights of pacing around my room; studying 50 notecards aloud. Well, graduate school turned my pacing around my room at midnight into me pacing around the library at 3 am and my 50 notecards into 200. Just looking at my Erin Condren Life-Planner makes me nervous. I promised myself 2017 would be dedicated to freedom of worry, less stress and less obsessing over money. So in January, I began my new journey of self-care by investing in my well-being.

1.) I got a gym membership through the university I work for. I began setting aside three days a week to workout (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays). One day was strictly for hardcore exercise, one was only for yoga class, and the other was a combination.

2. ) I invested in an Apple Watch (iWatch) to monitor my breathing, calories, and daily activity. Taking my phone on runs and while I was in my workout classes was becoming extremely annoying. I could never get an accurate portrayal of how many steps I took or how many calories I burned, how long the run was, not to mention my phone was constantly falling out of my pockets. My Apple Watch ended all those difficulties and added more cool features. The watch picks up on the owners stressful moments – even notifying them to take a moment, stop moving, and just BREATHE! A factor that ended up helping more than I expected.

3.) Aromatherapy products. Sleeping regularly has always been an issue with me so when I discovered Bath and Body Works was having a sale on their aromatherapy products, I couldn’t think of a better time to test the products out. I ordered multiples of each product after reading reviews to see which ones best suited the issues I was having, and I must admit it the best decision I ever made.

Every product I use on the daily. The key to getting the products to work is taking deep breaths as you are applying it or using the product. For example, when I shower using the stress relief soap – I take slow, steady deep breaths. Same goes for the sleep lotion – which I make sure I apply once all my homework and paperwork is completed. Both the sleep lotion and mist cause immediate drowsiness within 20 to 30 minutes. I typically don’t spray my sleep mist until I am ready to fall asleep. Remember, a little goes a long way so spraying your pillows evenly across your bed, lightly will work. I have been known for saying some pretty delusional things once it takes effect. Lastly, I use my stress relief candles when I am working, just to mellow the mood. While the candles don’t seem to have as much of an effect as I would have thought, I recommend the sleep lotion and mist to all my readers. The soap also does an excellent job.

4.) Less television, more focus on activities you love. 2017 encouraged me to seek out all my talents. Cooking has been one of my favorites thus far. I enjoy the day to day preparations to cooking dinner. I love shopping for the items I need then the process I go through to prepare the meal. The presentation of the food, however, has proved to me my absolute favorite. I love posting the finished product on my Snapchat for my followers to see and ask about. Cooking gives me an opportunity to forget all my frustration of that day and focus on one thing….preparing my meal. Rather it’s Taco Tuesday or Red Meat Wednesday – the love of the activity gives me a sense of joy and keeps me busy. I am enjoying finding hobbies that interest me.IMG_5095.JPG

5.) Sweet Cinnamon Milk Tea. This vegetarian, gluten free treat has done the treat on getting me to fall asleep on some of the toughest nights ever. The recipe only calls for three black tea bags, maple syrup, three cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 cups of milk (in my case lactose milk, HA). You combine the cinnamon sticks in a saucepan with two cups of water. Once you bring the water to a boil, remove it from heat, and add in the tea bags. Cover the pot and let the tea bags sit for several minutes. While that is sitting, heat the milk in the microwave. After the seven minutes have passed, remove the cinnamon sticks and tea bags. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix in the milk and BAM! There you have a simple, yet sweet treat to put you right to sleep.

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6.) Sometimes taking a break is OKAY! Every method won’t work every single day. Don’t stress about it, girlfriend. Drink that glass of wine, take that Friday off, pamper yourself – manicures and pedicures are the best stress and anxiety killers out there. As 20-something-year-olds we work hard day to day and we certainly should reward ourselves. It’s perfectly okay to give yourself a free day every now and again. YOU EARNED IT!

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