Hello badgers!

I hope you have all been enjoying this Wellness Week and that the mountain of work that is piled on each your plates has not been too overwhelming! As I write this, I am laying in bed, listening to music with a cup of green tea tea at my side and a purring cat at my feet. Even though I have this to write and a million other things to do, I can confidently say, I am quite relaxed – a concept that can seem virtually impossible around this time of the school year. However, even with everything you have to do, you should definitely take the time to de-stress and relax!

Here are ten ways you can do exactly that:

1. Breathe

Finding a simple breathing technique that works best for you will make a significant difference for the times in which you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Slow, deep breathing causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop, making it easier for you to calm down. Practices like mediating and yoga are beneficial for focusing on your breathing! If you find your in a state of panic and the breathing exercises aren’t working, try getting outside in the cold air. The combination of moving your body and getting fresh air will help lower your feelings of panic.

2. Socialize

Take some time to de-stress by surrounding yourself with friends and family! Socializing is proven to release a surge of oxytocin, also referred to as the “trust hormone”. So grab some pals and do something fun or talk through your problems with them. Either way spending time with positive people who make you happy is a sure fire way to relax!

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3. Write

The writing process can be very beneficial for relaxing your mind and body. Writing down how you’re feeling can help you identify why you’re feeling that way and allows you to release some of those built up thoughts. Even the simple act of writing a to-do list can help clear your mind, make you feel more prepared and fight anxious thoughts.

4. Hang with a furry friend 

For most of us, spending time with an animal like a cat or dog is the absolute best. They are cute, soft and generally very cuddly. Even just a small amount of time with a pet can lower your blood pressure and decrease your stress. So grab a snuggly creature and indulge in some pet therapy. If you don’t have a furry friend of your own, petnap one from someone you know (with their consent of course), or volunteer to be a dog walker or cat socializer at the humane society!

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5. Treat your body

One way to relax both your mind and your body is to treat yourself to a little TLC. Get a massage, do some light yoga poses or have a detox bath! You know what makes your body feel good, so treat it to what ever that may be: dancing, napping or participating in some safe “cuddling” with a partner!

6. Take a break from social media

Social media can be one of our main connections to the world, so the thought of taking a break from it may seem daunting. But it might be a good idea to separate yourself from all technology for at least an hour or two a day, especially before bed. There is no denying that there is a slight pressure to portray a certain image of ourselves on social media, which can get overwhelming at times. So, put down your phone or laptop and pick up a book or go spend sometime outside!

I will add that although it is healthy for us to take a break from the online world now and then, we can also use it to our advantage! There are so many helpful social media tools out there that can actually help decrease your stress. If you’re interested, here are some apps that can help you with mindfulness!

7.Refocus your mind

Sometimes the best way to relax is to completely shift our focus off of what is making us anxious and onto something else that will keep us preoccupied. We all turn to different things but some ways you can do this are by playing games like Sudoko, getting lost in the world of Pinterest, reading a good book or watching a movie.  Just do anything that will take your mind off of the stresses in your life, even if just for a couple of hours.

8. Listen to music

There is a reason why listening to music can affect our mood so much. Research suggests that listening to music distracts us from stress, reducing anxiety, easing depression and even enhancing creativity. Check out this playlist for ultimate relaxation.

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9. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a perfect way to relax your mind and body. When you breathe in a scent, you stimulate receptors in the nose, sending calming messages to the nervous system. Inhaling scents like lavender, citrus and chamomile can help lower stress and help you relax. Invest in some essential oils or light a scented candle or two and embrace the calm.

Note: Essential oils can be inhaled, applied to the skin or used in the bath!

10. Get creative

Take on a fun craft project, play an instrument or dabble with some art therapy. Just do something that you are interested in and allows you to escape your stress with some creative work. I’ve recently been obsessed with adult colouring books. So if you’re anything like me and can’t even draw a proper circle, that’s something you might like.

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There you have it, folks! A small but hopefully helpful list on ways you can relax. Times are stressful so remember to take a little break for yourself and focus on your overall wellbeing!

Of course, there are so many other things you can do to relax, so if you have any ideas…let us know in the comments below!