When it comes to living lifestyles of health and wellness, physical health is often emphasized the most. Taking care of our bodies through exercise, nutritious foods, and sleep, so they’re able to carry us to the next adventure, is extremely important in the pursuit of aging well and feeling our best. However, taking care of our mind and nerves is just as vital but often less noticeable or measureable, which means it can sometimes take the back seat. When stress enters the picture especially, it’s important to have tools that allow us to calm the mind rather than giving into whatever the stressful situation might be. In the midst of a holiday season, there's a lot we want to do with the people we love, but often life throws us curve balls that we aren’t expecting. Putting these tools into practice can equip us to step back and see the good in every situation, even if it’s a difficult one.
When stress enters the picture especially, it’s important to have tools that allow us to calm the mind rather than giving into whatever the stressful situation might be.
We gathered a few tangible ways to combat stress and help calm the mind. If these simple practices are practiced enough, your body will actually begin to crave them, thus, setting in motion healthy habits that will serve you for years to come.
Exercise. The effects of exercising to increase heart rate are both immediate (just twenty minutes can reduce stress) and cumulative, with benefits to long-term health and confidence. The good news is you don’t need to train for a marathon to feel the benefits either. An evening walk around the neighborhood will even help reduce stress and calm the mind.
Reduce caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, and processed food intake. These foods/drinks can make one feel sluggish and are also linked to increased stress levels, so consume them only in moderation. Instead, try refueling with water or organic celery juice and fresh, nutrient-dense foods such as leafy greens like kale and spinach, or a small handful of nuts.
Introduce herbs that promote stress-relief. Many herbs reduce stress including chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, passion flower, and lavender. Using an aromatherapy diffuser, organic essential oils, and teas with these herbs can ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Our Montana Lavender Tea, made with organic lavender grown just outside of Missoula, is a delicious place to start.
Breathe. Create a routine of meditation or breathing exercises to help calm some of the chaos and stressors around you. One of our favorite breathing exercises is the “Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise.”
Here’s how you do it:
- With your thumb, close off one nostril and inhale slowly and fully through the open nostril.
- Once you are to the top of your inhalation, close off the nostril you just inhaled through and exhale fully and slowly through the other nostril.
- Repeat up to five times or more on each side making sure to do an even amount in each nostril.
Set aside time for self-care. Journaling, reading, listening to music, taking a bath, or a massage are all great options. Find what refuels your spirit and deliberately schedule this activity into your routine.
Although these sound like simple tools to use in calming the mind, the effects are everlasting once habits are built. We at Sageborn want you to have the most wonderful holiday season, filled with memories made with your loved ones without the obstacle that stress can be sometimes.
Recommended Daily Ritual:
Take a moment each morning to decide which tool above is doable for you. It might be all of them or it might just be one. Either way, be patient with yourself knowing that your mind will begin to feel calmer and less stressed over time with these simple practices.