9 best ways to relax around a busy lifestyle

By engaging in a few relaxing activities daily, or even weekly, you can help lower feelings of stress and anxiety. Here are some of the health benefits from finding time to relax and lowering your cortisol levels;

•  Reduced feelings of depression
• Lower blood pressure
• Strengthened immune system
• Increased muscle mass
• Increased metabolism
• Increased libido
• Reduced fat storage in the body

1. Take a walk
Getting outside for 5-10 minutes for a brisk walk gives you a good mood boost and increases endorphins, your feel good hormones. If you can get to a park with trees, even better, because the cave-man in us wants to see some lush greenery. Just make sure you've got a good hood to block out the breeze!

2. Eat some dark chocolate or cacao nibs
Urm, yea ok! In some cultures, cacao is traditionally used to help alleviate many mental and physical ailments including depression and insomnia.

3. Breathe
Take 2 or 3 minutes at home or at your place of work to focus on the breath if you start to feel stressed or anxious. Focussing on the breath gives your brain some much needed time out and a slow breath calms your nervous system and slows your heart rate giving you a soothing sensation of calm.

4. YOGA!
Well, obvs. Our bodies respond physically to stress as well as mentally so we need a good old stretch to release tight muscles and free us from pain (did you know most chronic lower back and hip pain is caused by stress? More on that later..) Yoga helps to take us out of the 'fight or flight' mode that make our bodies feel stressed. Connecting movement and breath gives you some time away from stressful thoughts and helps to create a more positive outlook on life.

5. Chat to a friend (or anyone!)
Humans are sociable beings and as such we need connection, which our phones often take away from us. Luckily, Deptford is a great place to be able to do that. Hello, local Deptfordites :)

6. Reduce your scrolling time
Get off your phone - I know it's hard coz, ya know, it's a portable computer with all the information you could ever need ever, and for some reason as human beings we just love a screen, any screen, but give it a try.  Leave your phone outside of your bedroom at night so it's not the last and first thing you look at each day. This will leave more time for journalling, or gratitude writing, or simply reading a good book.

7. Have a massage
Cortisol drops and serotonin and dopamine increase following a massage. Couple that with deep breathing and relaxing restorative yoga and you've got yourself a seriously calm body and mind. Hint: Restorative Massage workshop!

8.  Drink herbal tea
It's warm and it's comforting - tea is often used in a friendly setting so subconsciously you're treating yourself like you would a friend. Be kind and generous to yourself. Try to avoid caffeinated tea as lots of caffeine can increase anxiety levels.

9. Treat yo'self
To a bath, a nice home-cooked meal or a comfy onesie (I have two on rotation and there's nothing better than jumping into your onesie after a hot bath / shower following a sweaty yoga class) It's amazing how these small things can make such a big difference to your overall wellbeing.

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