Bring the spa experience to you! Weave these mini-breaks into your day for stress relief.

Soothing Daytime Strategies: Your brain, just like your body, needs downtime. It performs best after you give it even just a little time to relax. Try one of these quick boosts to reset your mind.

  • Knead away stress with a hand massage

As a massage therapist, its important to keep your hands healthy. By using a fast modified reflexology technique you can diminish cramping and tension and even affect the rest of your body. First apply a silky lotion to make your hands easy to massage. Begin at the base of the large muscle below your thumb. Use the fingers of your opposite hand to rub gently in a circular motion. As you work your way up your thumb to the tip, you will release tightness in your shoulders, neck, and scalp.

  • Pause for a few soothing seconds

In between sessions, mist your face with a cucumber-scented spray. It feels refreshing, hydrates your skin, and offers a welcome break from stale office air. Plus, the smell of cucumbers can reduce anxiety.

Soothing Nighttime Strategies: After a long day of performing massage, try these relaxing nighttime techniques.

  • Create a nightly pre-sleep ritual  

If excessive thinking keeps you awake (experts call that beta chatter), create a nightly ritual for moving from day to evening. This will help quiet your thoughts.

  • Take a nice, sleep-enhancing soak

Experts suggest slipping into a warm tub an hour before going to bed. Soaking in the tub will raise your body temperature. This can improve your sleep quality by increasing deep sleep. Make the whole experience even more relaxing by adding skin-softening bath oil to the water, dimming the lights (darkness lulls the brain to sleep, too), or coating yourself with a lotion with a calming scent when you get out of the tub.

  • Brush your way to relaxation

It feels wonderful when someone runs his fingers through your hair, but the simple act of brushing your own hair can put you in the same zone. Repetitive movements like this evoke a relaxation response in your body. This can break the chain of stressful everyday thoughts that can keep you from fully calming down. Research has also shown that regularly tapping into that relaxation response can help slow stress-related aging.

  • Turn your shower into a relaxing ritual

Keep your speedy suds-up-and-rinse routine, but add a small pampering element to upgrade an everyday shower into a spa experience. Trade your plain old soap for a rich body wash. Or try a scented shower infuser. Toss a tablet on the tub floor; as it dissolves in the water, it will fill your bathroom with its aroma. Take a few slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths to help calm your nervous system and ease stress.

  • Chill with aromatherapy

Evidence has shown that certain essential oils, such as lavender, are relaxers. Lavender has calming, soothing effects, so it’s good to use at bedtime. Rub a balm with lavender oil onto your body’s pulse points (located at the base of your neck, inside your wrists, and on your temples) before you get under the covers. The warmth of the skin in these areas can enhance the scent, which envelops you while you sleep.

SOURCE: REAL SIMPLE Magazine

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