7 Ways to De-stress Instantly

Tools

Story Updated: Oct 24, 2012

p>What is it about the word "relax" that just makes me tense? As a mom, I often feel like I'm at my best when I'm dutifully working my way through my to-do list, giving each item a satisfying check when I'm done. "Relax" just doesn't seem to cut it when the list includes send out bills, make kids' dentist appointments, finish the laundry (is it ever really done?). You know the drill.

It's also hard to unwind when I have so much to do. I always vow I'll take a little time when everything's done. But it's amazing what even taking a five-minute break from your regular routine can do to help you recharge -- and give you even more energy. So step away from that to-do list and try one of these seven quick de-stressers.

1. Use your nose.
Certain scents can soothe your stress. Lavender tops the list, but there's also eucalyptus, rosemary, cloves, grapefruit and peppermint. Look for the scent that relaxes you. My scent of choice is white linen, which just smells clean, so I keep a scented candle in my home office. Even if my desk is stacked with papers, taking a few minutes to light the candle and think about something other than my to-do list works wonders.

2. Create a haven.
Make your own relaxation spot in the room you pass through the most, whether it's the laundry room or bedroom. Pin a picture – it could be from last year's vacation or the country that tops your bucket list. For me, it's a photo of the wharf in San Francisco, where I spent an overcast day walking around with my family. Just giving myself the excuse to remember our good times eases the kinks in my shoulders.

3. Make your own heating pad.
Grab an old sock, fill it with dried beans, then tie the top. Place it in the microwave for 45 seconds, and you have an instant heating pad. I like to put mine in the middle of my back while I read an article or thumb through a catalogue. Then I'm ready to tackle the rest of the day.

4. Breathe it in.
Taking deep, long breaths helps you focus on your body instead of your mind – which, if yours is like mine, is often racing. Find a comfortable place to sit or stand. Close your eyes and breathe through your nose. When I really need to quiet myself down, I count to five while inhaling, then five while exhaling. By counting, I don't shortchange or quicken my breaths. I feel like I get in sync with my whole body.

5. DIY manicure.
Perk up your day with a little color on your fingernails. Even if you just put on a clear coat, painting your nails forces you to sit still and take a rest.

6. Savor a square of chocolate.
You probably know that eating chocolate has been linked with lower blood pressure and improved circulation. And that chocolate raises the level of feel-good brain chemicals. So you really owe it to yourself to find a good, high-quality dark chocolate that comes in small squares. When you need your five-minute holiday, let a square or two melt in your mouth while you pinpoint the flavors – is it a hint of fruit or something bitter?

7. Make some noise.
You may have heard the expression "Music soothes the savage beast." I couldn't agree more. It may sound counterintuitive, but when I'm feeling tense, cranking up the volume on my iPod gives me a chance to tune out the world. For me, something new from One Direction or old U2 classics are the most relaxing. Figure out what music helps you distress, whether it's Beethoven or Led Zeppelin, and turn up the volume.

Over
to You
What's your favorite way to unwind?

Copyright (c) 2012 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

Add a comment

Name:

Comment: 250 Characters Left

WBNG and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.

Featured Professional
Featured Professionals

Cardiovascular Services

Guthrie Cardiovascular Center

Interviews with Dr. Larson
Interviews with Dr. Ashok Shah
Interviews with Dr. Marica
Interviews with Dr. Sampson
Interviews with Dr. Deshmukh
Interviews with Dr. McClintock

Guthrie Cardiovascular Center

Consistently ranked among the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals by Thomson Reuters, Guthrie cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and vascular surgeons work together to ensure patients receive the most comprehensive care possible.

Offering cardiovascular care to the Twin Tiers for more than 40 years, Guthrie’s cardiac specialists and staff have offered the people of our region the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services possible, while earning national awards for quality and recognition for excellence.

Diagnostic & Non-Invasive Cardiology
Non-invasive cardiology includes all procedures that allow the cardiologist to obtain information about the heart without going through the skin or invading the body in any way. Many times these procedures are the first steps in evaluating a patient's condition. Guthrie provides diagnostic and non-invasive cardiology services, including multi-slice CT angiography, comprehensive mobile echocardiography services including stress echo, EKG, holter monitoring and nuclear stress testing to name a few.

Invasive & Interventional Cardiology
When non-invasive techniques don't provide all the answers, additional diagnostic procedures may be used to more clearly identify and treat cardiac problems. Within Guthrie’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, invasive and interventional cardiologists offer subspecialty diagnostic and therapeutic services to evaluate and treat cardiac conditions without traditional surgery. Guthrie interventional cardiologists perform over 100 peripheral vascular interventions, such as carotid angioplasty and stenting, each year, with a 95% technical success rate.

Electrophysiology & Pacing
The heart's conduction system, the system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat, can develop problems that interfere with the heart's ability to function properly. Electrophysiology Laboratory team offers complete electrophysiology and pacing services for treatment of arrhythmias – from palpitations and syncope to atrial fibrillation to more specialized rhythm abnormalities.

Cardiac Surgery
Surgery plays an important role in a comprehensive cardiac program. Whatever the patient's needs, they can be met by the Guthrie’s cardiac surgery team. Guthrie’s Cardiac Surgery team provides a comprehensive scope of surgical procedures for the treatment of diseases of the heart and chest. Commonly treated conditions include ischemic heart disease, ventricular aneurysms, valve dysfunction, rheumatic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, trauma, cardiac tumors and infection.

Thoracic Surgery
Providing the advanced surgical techniques and oncologic therapies, thoracic surgery at Guthrie is dedicated to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of non-cardiac diseases of the chest. We are able to apply the modern techniques of minimally invasive procedures including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) to many disease processes for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and other chest diseases.

Vascular & Endovascular Surgery
Guthrie’s Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery offers a full spectrum of services – from life-saving procedures to repair ruptured aneurysms to elective procedures to prevent stroke, provide relief from claudication and address symptoms of venous disease. The latest therapies and minimally invasive endovascular treatment are offered by our experienced vascular team.

Interviews with Dr. Larson