HEALTHY LIVING

Relax in Under 5 Minutes

Taking time to relieve stress and relax is so important for long-term health and living a SuperLife. However, finding the time to relax when you have a million tasks to get done and life is coming at you non-stop can be difficult. We understand! You still haven’t responded to important emails, you still need to finish your report for tomorrow, and you need to be in a meeting in five minutes! You can’t snap your fingers and make everything go away – no one has that kind of power (except if you’re living out an episode of Bewitched), so it’s not a realistic option. What will help? Taking 5, that’s what! Here are 11 ways to relax in just 5 minutes or less. Simple choices from making a cup of tea to just looking out the window are all proven to help you create calm and restore balance.

1. Did Someone Say Chocolate?

Yes, really! Just a square (about 1.4 ounces) of REAL dark chocolate can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism. To get the maximum health benefits, make sure you are eating a brand of chocolate that is minimally processed in its pure, dark form without additives (no corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, and artificial colors or flavors). Look for a cacao (or cocoa) content of 70 percent or more (I eat at least a square of 85 to 100% cacao daily), and be sure to watch the portion size. A few brands I love with high cacao content are Equal Exchange, Green & Black’s, and Endangered Species Chocolate. Each brand has a unique flavor profile. Keep trying different kinds and you’ll uncover one that you love!

2. Make It Tea Time

Instead of completely freaking out or losing your temper, go make or get a cup of chamomile or green tea. Green tea is a source of L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger and calms you down; simply put, it will get you down off the ledge! Chamomile promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety and stress. Just boil the water, brew the tea according the the instructions, pour it out, and take that first soothing sip. Find an easy recipe here.

3. Grab Some Fruit! 

Specifically a mango or an orange. Juicy mangos include a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels. The smell of oranges can help you relax by increasing the levels of the stress-related hormone norepinephrine. Whichever one you pick, feel free to create a mini tropical vacation right at your desk by taking a five-minute break to peel and slice a fresh mango or orange. Pre-sliced is totally an option, but maybe not quite as fun?

4. Breathe!

There is not a simpler way to relax — just taking slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Take 5 minutes and be intentional about your breath. Close your eyes if possible. Or, even in a crowded room, just start to focus only on your breathing and you’ll notice an immediate change. Check out what I do to make deep breathing and relaxing a simple practice.

5. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf or Tennis Ball. 

Keep a golf or tennis ball in a drawer at your desk or wherever it is easy to grab. Rubbing your feet back and forth over the ball is a form of reflexology and a great foot message. You can get also an impromptu relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball. Bonus: You can also squeeze a tennis ball to relieve tension as well!

6. Find Some Alone Time.

Not everyone can be around people all day long and stay sane. Take five minutes of alone time to help you collect your thoughts and clear your head. Find a back patio, a empty hallway, or hit the break room at a deserted time. Pull out your inner explorer and find those unpopulated places!

7. Get in the Sun!

Head outside if it’s a sunny day. We get so busy it can be easy to go all day without stepping outside for a moment, yet this is an incredibly  easy way, scientifically proven way to lift your mood. Bright light is an effective treatment for people who have a low mood and will cheer you up.

8. Look Out the Window.

When things get hectic, take a five-minute break to do nothing but stare out the window. It will be a lot more relaxing than staring at your phone.

9. Put Your Feet Up – Against the Wall

This pose involves doing exactly what it sounds like; get down on the floor, scoot your bottom as close to the wall as possible, and stretch your legs out up against the wall. It gives your body a good stretch, improves blood flow and heart health and helps your mind relax as well!

10. Stand Up and Stretch!

Standing up for a quick stretch can relieve muscle tension and help us relax during a stressful workday. Plus, standing is a great boost to long-term health.

11. Take a Quick Walk.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick walk around your neighborhood or your office building. You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts! It will get your blood moving and help restore mental clarity.

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