With the holiday season madness upon us, there’s no question that the season can cause stress in our lives. It can affect our health, performance, and appearance in a negative way if we let it take over. Luckily there are many ways to come back to balance and lower stress. Here, I would like to share some quick and convenient tips to de-stress using natural ingredients while also enhancing your daily beauty routine and lifestyle.
One of my favorite ways to immediately relax is to use aromatherapy with essential oils. You can use an oil diffuser with fragrances like rose (especially rose otto), lavender, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and rosemary or peppermint to clear the mind. And in herbalism, all of these herbs and flowers are nervines which are sedative and calming on the nervous system. And with essential oils, the act of smelling them takes their molecules straight into your bloodstream for an immediate effect on your brain and sense of perception.
Soak in a herbal bath
You can take a relaxing soak in a bath and add some Epsom salts with the above fragrances, adding about 20 or so drops of essential oils. Lavender and eucalyptus are particularly pleasant for this purpose and usage. Epsom salts are full of magnesium which naturally relax the body’s muscles and joints and allow it to rest and sleep deeply.
Continuing along the same route is doing self-massage with skincare and body care products like lotions, creams, or salves. For the face, you can do gentle massages for lymphatic drainage making soft circular motions from the center of your forehead out to your temples, and then gently pressing with your index and middle fingers together on your face from the sides of the nose outward and from the center chin to the jawline. Using gentle touch on one’s self is a calming and comforting experience showing one’s self-affection and care.
You can follow this with some dry brushing on the body going from the extremities towards the center of the body to the heart. This also promotes healthy lymphatic drainage and doing this gently can also feel very relaxing almost like petting yourself. Or, you can massage some body lotion in the same direction that you would do dry brushing from the extremities towards the center of the heart. Remember your neck, too!
Get back to nature
Going for a walk in nature is always relaxing, especially near the ocean. Hearing the sound of the waves and tides gets us back in touch with the rhythm of nature. The constant flow of water is naturally relaxing sound to hear which mimics the sound of a heartbeat and can be connected to how a baby can immediately calm down when she rests her head on her mother’s chest and hears the sound of her heartbeat. This time of year may be too chilly to walk on the sand, so put on some hiking gear and head out to your favorite trail.
Tap into your inner artist
Doing something creative like painting, drawing and exploring different color combinations and mediums can be a great medium for self-expression. Creativity taps into that part of the brain that gets super relaxed from the freedom of structure and hard analysis needed for other activities like studying, working, or bookkeeping.
On top of that, doing something crafty that requires repetitive motions over time like crocheting, knitting color or building things can also be very meditative as the repetitive motion and routine can get you into a certain state that feels balanced and trance-like with the constant motion and can make hours feel like minutes passing by.
If you are not too allergic to animals, playing, petting, and cuddling with animals especially furry ones like dogs and cats are known to be natural relaxants. The repetitive motion of petting can be a chance I can meditate experience like doing creative activities above. The sensation of affection for some people can immediately get them to a state of relaxation because of having company. Also, feeling another animal’s body heat naturally makes us feel safer which then makes us relax more.
Laugh the stress away
And finally, another one of my favorite ways to naturally relax is to either remember something funny or watch something really funny. Humor and laughter is the best medicine and our immediate use for the body to relax when experienced. Also, deep laughing is really good for deep breathwork and releasing tension in the body. It can be nice to be reminded not to take life too seriously.
Hope that you have found these tips to naturally de-stress useful, interesting, and inspiring! It’s worth giving at least one of them a try and may you enjoy a stress-free holiday season!
Terry Alabata is a 7-year experienced makeup artist and hairstylist and the Bay Area’s premiere beauty artist specializing in eco-friendly and cruelty-free makeovers. Her passion for makeup and hair grew from a desire to find safe, hypoallergenic options for people with sensitive skin and eczema, like her.