In the spirit of making your summer even better than it already is, I’m asking you to try to enjoy it a even more by pulling some of that stress out of your sunscreened, hydrated and summer bod. I’m not accusing you of being particularly stressed out, but there are things that are out of our control that can up the stress hormones in our bodies during the workweek: the heat, covering for a co-worker on vacation, and following your friends’ beach adventure tweets, while you’re stuck at work…to name a few. Stress research may be young, but we already know that stress causes both physical (inflammation and weight gain) and emotional (anxiety and depression) damage. Because it’s healthy to work on stress reduction, I have a few things for you to try this weekend. You with  me?


1. Actively listen to music. We all pop on music while we’re cleaning, getting ready for a hot date or driving. This weekend I want you to try listening to music and not doing anything else. Active listening takes focus away from stress and may even be related to heart health. You could try anything from Brahms Violin Concerto in D major to a little Dave Matthews to Bossa Nova. Give it a shot for at least 10 minutes each day this weekend.


2. Try progressive muscle relaxation. Choose a quiet time during the day to check in with what’s going on in your body. Yup, say “what’s up bod?” by lying flat and systematically tense and relax your major muscle groups starting with each foot and working your way all the way up to your face. If it sounds a little touchy feely for you, that’s ok, but I definitely want you to give this one a chance. You’ll find tension lurking in the strangest places (back of the knee, hip, hands, etc.) Make time for this Sat and Sun.


3. Smell it out. Try a little bit of aromatherapy. Lavender in particular is linked with decreasing stress and it’s one of my favorite de-stressification tools. You can take a bath with lavender, keep an open bottle of lavender oil around wherever you’ll spend the most time, sip lavender tea or massage some lavender cream into your hands and feet before bed. Just talkin’ about it calms me down. Incorporate lavender throughout the weekend.
Even if your life isn’t particularly stressful right now, practicing these de-stressing techniques can help you when your life does take the stress up a notch. Happy chillaxing my friends.

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