Small Ways To Relax When You’re Busy and Stressed

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Massages, facials, and scenic yoga retreats in the mountains are just a few ways to unwind when life gets overwhelming. Unfortunately, we can’t all afford such luxurious self-care activities or fit them into our busy schedules. Between work, family, and other parts of our daily routine, a few spare minutes is sometimes all we have to de-stress. CircleAround asked Katie Higginbotham — a massage therapist, sports therapist, and personal trainer—  for some tips on how to relax, even when our schedules are packed. 


1Self-massage

Yes, it’s possible to give yourself a great massage, no masseuse needed. “Grab yourself a massage oil or lotion and rub away on the soles of your feet,” Higginbotham suggests. “The feet get tired and take a lot of tension. [Try] some long strokes with the thumbs from heel to toes and circular motions throughout the sole of the foot.” This can help ease the tension, giving you a “floaty feeling.”

Higginbotham also suggests focusing on the temples, to reduce the tension that can create headaches if left unattended. For harder-to-reach areas, try using massage balls, “specifically to get in between those shoulder blades and work out those knotty areas,” says Higginbotham. 

2Stretching

Stretching has been known to help reduce anxiety and tension, especially when combined with breathwork. If you’re unsure of where to start, try watching clips on YouTube

“There are many yoga options catering to different levels and experience. You will be expertly guided through a range of movements and positions, along with a change of scenery which always helps to clear the head from daily stressors,” Higginbotham adds.

3Ignite Your Senses

The scent of lavender, the sound of waves crashing on the beach, listening to a guided meditation — surrounding yourself with elements that make you feel good can make you feel instantly relaxed. Higginbotham suggests playing soundscapes, like peaceful piano music, the sound of rain, or crackling campfires. 

“Fresh air can work to relax and invigorate all in one,” she tells CircleAround. “A walk along a blustery beach front, through the forest with the sound of the wind rustling in the trees and the birds singing.”

“Grab your favorite smells and surround yourself with them,” she adds. “The comfort felt through the smell of fresh baked bread and coffee, citrus fruits to give you that gentle lift. Essential oils, candles, lavender pillows, fresh flowers, combinations of herbs and spices cooking away.”

4Find Some Warmth

Feeling warm and cozy isn’t just a wintertime treat, it helps us feel at ease. Higginbotham suggests making time to visit a sauna to ease aches and pains in muscles and joints. If you’re unable to get to a sauna, try using long hot water bottles over your body. This allows “ you to keep that warmth close to you and melt away any tension discomfort you are feeling.” 

The Bottom Line

Even with a busy schedule, there are ways to slip away for a few minutes to try some relaxing activities. Self-massage, stretching, sensory experiences, and feelings of warmth are all small ideas that can help you find that happy place. Find what works for you and don’t feel guilty about spending a few minutes on yourself. 

Tags: Self Care, Stress Mangagement, wellness

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA, and we make financial distributions to benefit the next generation of Girl Scouts. We strive to make the world a better place by supporting each other today and emboldening the women leaders of tomorrow.

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