If you’re someone who likes to reduce stress with a little sweat...
For some, meditation and eucalyptus don’t exactly do the trick. If you’re the type of person who needs a great sweat session in order to fully relax, try one of these three health and fitness trends to reduce stress:
- Infrared Saunas: We love this option as a happy medium between working out and "zenning" out. Infrared saunas are a huge trend right now. A session promises to reduce inflammation and muscle aches, and improve circulation (we’ve tried them ourselves and have to agree: they’re pretty amazing). An infrared sauna uses invisible infrared light rays to generate its heat as opposed to warmth being generated from a heat source (like in a traditional sauna)—this helps to heat your core temperature while keeping the air around you cool, so you can stay in the sauna longer. If you’re seeking a relaxing, solo sweat session that requires no effort on your part while still benefiting your body, try this trend out. OBTW, you can burn up 400-600 calories a session, too.
- Hot Power Yoga: If you found a traditional yoga class to be a little too slow-paced, you might want to consider taking a hot power- or heated vinyasa yoga class. These classes are much more fast paced and are practiced in heated rooms with high levels of humidity. The difficulty of the power flow combined with the added challenge of heat makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything besides your breath and movement. This allows you to get out of the clutter of your head space for 60 or 75 glorious minutes.
- Heated Fitness Classes: If yoga isn’t exactly your thing, there are a ton of options for different heated fitness classes. Options like hot barre and hot pilates can help you achieve your sweat fix in a much faster-paced and lively atmosphere. If you like group workouts that are fun and go by in a flash, heated group classes can be a great way to sweat out that 2018 stress before the New Year.
If you’re someone who likes to “spa” the stress away…
Maybe lavender towels and sea salt scrubs are your jam. If that's the case, there’s really no other way to reduce stress than with a little spa time. That doesn’t always mean heading to the nearest Four Seasons. Instead, consider these three spa-inspired trends to try at home during the holidays:
- Manuka Honey & Turmeric Masks: If your event season had you neglecting your skincare routine for a few months, this one is for you. Perfect for stressed-out skin that’s in need of some serious loving (in the form of hydration and exfoliation), honey-turmeric masks work to reduce inflammation and redness. Looking to regain that elusive “I get 10 hours of sleep a night” glow? This is the ticket. Purchase manuka honey and ground turmeric at a health food store or online. Then, mix 1 tsp of each together to create a paste that you can apply on clean, dry skin. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes or more. (Be warned: the turmeric can stain and make a mess, so be sure to wear an old t-shirt and rinse your mask off in the shower as opposed to the sink.)
- Essential Oils: Read up on the benefits of different essential oils and try incorporating them into your everyday routine during the off season. Inhaling citrus essential oils is a great way to help you wake up in the morning. Have a little black pepper, rosemary, or lemongrass oil on your wrist to help you re-energize throughout the day. Or, a warm lavender towel, Roman chamomile, or ylang ylang can all help you drift off to sleep a bit easier.
- Dedicated distraction-free time: The appeal of the spa isn’t just about the treatments we get when we’re there—it’s also the crazy-relaxing atmosphere. Recreating this at home is easier than you may think. Set a few hours each week when silence is something you can achieve at home (if you have kids or roommates, choose a time when they’re sleeping or out of the house). Then, set a “date” with yourself to turn off every television, speaker, phone, ice machine, etc. in your house. Light some candles, close the blinds, spray some lavender oil in the air, and allow yourself to take a long bath or simply sit on the couch and soak up the sweet sound of silence for at least 60 minutes.
If you’re someone who needs mental de-stressing…
For many of us, reducing stress is less about our physical body and more about working on our mental health. If your mind is feeling extra cluttered and hard to calm after a busy season chock-full of screen time and sleepless nights, try the following options:
- Technology-free walks: There’s nothing quite as healing as a good walk. Choose a place that you find calming and enjoyable. Make a promise to yourself to take at least three walks there each week. If you’re able, daily walks are even better (in fact, research points to the fact that daily walks may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s). Leave your earbuds at home and skip the podcast or Spotify list for now. Simply focus on being present while you walk—soak up the sights, scents, and sounds that are all around you. Try noticing small things—the way a tree branch is positioned, a show print on the sidewalk—and challenge yourself to remember them the next day and observe how they’ve changed.
- Meditation: The link between meditation and mental health is a powerful one. Regular meditation can actually change your brain and the way your body handles stress. While the practice of meditation can sound intimidating at first, it’s really nothing more than quieting your mind and breathing. Trust us—we know it’s impossible to think of nothing for 30 minutes. Don’t beat yourself up for getting distracted as you sit in silence and meditate. Instead, as distractions or thoughts of the dozen or more to-do lists sneak in, simply acknowledge them, allow them to pass like water down a riverbed, and then refocus on breathing. Practice 15-30 minutes of seated, silent meditation daily at a set time that works with your schedule during your off-season. You’ll notice turning your mind off gets easier—and your reactions to events throughout the day become more purposeful—after just a few days of mindful meditation. (Psst..if you need some added help, download one of these guided meditation apps recommended by Mindful.)