Feeling like you need some time to unwind? Well, there’s no better time than the present.
We all know the daily grind can get pretty stressful, so here are some relaxing treats for all five of the senses that will help ease the tension.
Nothing says relaxing more than a massage, but if you can’t lock down a professional masseuse, a simple DIY hand massage can do the trick. This is especially good if you’re one of the many sat in front of a keyboard all day.
Another stress reliever is giving your furry friends a cuddle. Studies have shown that petting the family dog can leave owners feeling more optimistic and of course, more relaxed.
Finally, a hot shower is not only positively blissful, but it’s actually good for your health. As well as easing muscle tension, it can improve blood circulation and decrease insomnia.
Herbal tea is the perfect beverage for de-stressing, add a spot of honey and you’re onto a winning concoction. Honey contains a high quantity of tryptophan, which is known to relieve anxiety and make you sleepy.
Apparently, bubble gum is a quick way to concur stress. Research shows that just a few minutes of chewing on your favourite flavoured gum can reduce anxiety and help put you in a positive mood.
Cracking opening a block of dark chocolate will help give you a boost of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins – the hormones responsible for calming the stress levels in the brain. Plus, chocolate just tastes delightful!
Colours can have a bigger effect on us than we realise – and some colours are perfect when you want to get into a relaxing mood. The colour blue is thought to be very calming and peaceful, while green is found to be comforting and restful. Pink is also believed to be a relaxing colour; in Feng Shui pink is both soothing and good for balancing energies.
Getting outside to watch the sunset can be more relaxing than you think. "Nature is the fuel for the soul," Dr Richard Ryan, the author of a study published in the Journal of Environmental, suggests. "Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energised is to connect with nature." So take a few moments to watch the sun sink behind the horizon.
Surprisingly, it’s not hearing waves crashing on the beach, or listening to rain on the roof that relaxes us the most, but the sound of sizzling bacon! According to a 2014 survey, the popping and crackling sounds of the tasty treat have a calming effect on people.
Music can also put you in a deeply relaxed state. In 2011 a British band teamed up with sound therapists to create the most relaxing song ever, the result was Weightless by Marconi Union. Other musical tracks that are known for their calming qualities, according to a study, include Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing, All Saint's Pure Shores and Someone Like You by Adele.
The part of the brain that regulates emotions is interestingly connected to the nose, meaning different smells can have varying effects on us. Scents like lavender or tea tree are known to ease anxiety, citrus smells help energise us and vanilla can elevate your mood. Also, just the smell of coffee – without even having to take a sip - can help decrease stress hormones.
It also turns out stopping to smell the roses isn't just an old saying, but actually really good for us. The therapeutic smell of a rose is thought to help ease symptoms of depression, ease headaches, lower blood pressure and give a general sense of harmony and happiness. Ahh, smells wonderful.