With pressures of work, kids, parents, social obligations, and more, it’s no wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed. Stress can wreak havoc on your body. Give yourself a break. It only takes a few minutes to go from Eeeeek! to Ahhhhh! if you follow the stress reduction suggestions below.

Slow Down

It sounds simple, but most people forget to just slow down. You can’t do everything at the same time, so stop, think, and reprioritize your “To Do” list. Be aware of what you’re doing. For example, when you eat, enjoy how each bite tastes. As you walk across the office, notice the sounds of your feet on the tile. By focusing on your senses, your body will relax.

Deep Breathing

Take a break from work for 5 minutes. Find a quiet area and a comfy chair, close your eyes, sit up straight, and place one hand on your stomach. Fill your lungs completely by inhaling through your nose and taking in as much air as possible, expanding both your abdomen and chest. Hold it for 5 seconds and slowly release. This will slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, counteracting the effects of stress. Add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender, for an aromatherapy treat.

Reach Out

Talking to a friend, either by phone or face to face, is a great way to relax. Share your worries or forget your problems for a few minutes with a good laugh. You’ll get a new perspective on your issues or a brief vacation from them. Either way, you win!

Stress Scan

To understand how and where stress affects your body, take a moment to pay attention. Lie on your back, with your eyes closed, and notice how your body feels. Start at your toes and work your way up. Is your neck tight? Does your back hurt? Your jaw? Upset stomach? By being aware of what’s happening, you can make changes in your behavior and your surroundings.

Music Works

Let your mind and body relax with soothing music or nature sounds (birds chirping, crashing waves, falling rain, etc.). Or blow off steam and reduce anxiety by dancing to an upbeat song or singing along at the top of your lungs.

Daily Gratitude

Every time something good happens – a sunny day, a child’s smile, a new pair of shoes, a new power tool – write it in your Gratitude Journal. Concentrating on your blessings, whether big or small, pushes out the worries and negative thoughts. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take time to page through your journal to remind you of what really matters.

Just Move

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get the benefits of moving your body. Any exercise can help you relax, lessen stress, and release chemicals into your system that help you feel good. Get up from your desk and stretch, take a walk during lunch, use the stairs instead of the elevator, or dance to your favorite tune. You’ll see the difference almost immediately, and it will give you a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Plant Guru, an online shop for essential oils, incense, and carrier oils, offers a wide variety of items to help you relax and de-stress. Try aromatherapy and essential oils, lotions, and butters; everyone from beginners to seasoned users will find something they’ll love. Quality products, reasonable prices, and online assistance will take the stress out of shopping too.