6 ways to relieve stress and relax when you can’t take a holiday

Image: Thanawat Wongsuwannathorn/123rf

1. Lavender 
This fragrant shrub has long been cultivated for its essential oil. Lavender as an aromatic is great for soothing and calming, and is often used to help people sleep better. Try a moisturiser with lavender or keep some lavender oil handy to rub on your temples or pulse points.

2. Dark chocolate & fruit
Snacks and sweets with lots of sugar in them can elevate your blood glucose levels and make you feel on edge. Dark chocolate on the other hand, is known to counter the cortisol in our systems that put additional stress on our blood vessels and heart. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C like strawberries or kiwi can fight free radicals that are brought about by stress. So if you get chocolate cravings when stressed, remember to stick to dark chocolate!

3. A massage
Shoulders and neck feeling all tense and in knots? Fitting in a massage over the weekend is a quick and easy way to recharge your batteries and get rid of all the tension in your body. If you have a lower pain threshold or are worried a massage will be too harsh, try a Swedish massage, which is a lot gentler and more relaxing.

4. Exercise
In the words of Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make people happy! Put in an hour at the gym at least twice a week. If you need an outlet for your frustration, consider taking up a class like kickboxing. It will do wonders for your mood as well as your fitness.

5. Declutter
Sometimes your mind is a reflection of your environment. If you find yourself feeling strung out and stressed, take a look around you. Whether it’s your desk at work or the state of your house, a messy environment often contributes to the chaos in your mind. Take an hour or two to put away things or get rid of stuff you don’t need. You’ll likely find that a clean desk leaves you with a clear and focused mind. Plus, organising things makes you feel more in control.

6. Drink tea
If you’re feeling jittery or on edge, something as simple as a cup of chamomile tea can calm you down. Chamomile has a long-standing reputation as a stress-reliever and is great as a night-time tea because it doesn’t contain caffeine. It also works to flush out toxins from your body if you drink it regularly enough! Keep some at your desk to drink during the day if you find yourself stressed throughout the workday.