Health & Wellness

5 surprising (and really easy!) ways to relax

Whether you have a stressful job or a hectic family life (or both!) it can be difficult to fit in some “me” time and relax. So if you don’t have time for a yoga class or a relaxing massage, try out these ways to unwind throughout the day.

1. Color yourself happy.

This childhood activity has now hit the mainstream for adults — even the U.S women's Olympic soccer team is in on the coloring book trend. The team recently posted a photo of four different members with four different coloring books. The options are endless, from a Vogue fashion themed book to a Harry Potter version.

The effects of being creative and using the right side of your brain helps transition into a more relaxed state. You can find coloring books for adults at your local grocery store, Target or online. Not into coloring? Old-fashioned journaling works too, but put a creative spin on it to really get you into a new, fresh and relaxed frame of mind.

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Headspace: Can a mindfulness and meditation app help you manage stress?

Play Video - 4:28

Headspace: Can a mindfulness and meditation app help you manage stress?

Play Video - 4:28

2. Mask away stress.

Who needs a facial appointment or a body scrub treatment to unwind? This homemade mask will leave you with glowing skin. Oh, and it's edible. Here's how to make the mask:

RELATED: A DIY facial scrub and 9 other surprising beauty uses for tea

Ingredients:

  • Half of a cup of uncooked granola
  • Half of a cup of Greek yogurt
  • Optional: pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mix it up and then put it on your face for 15 minutes, removing with a wet washcloth.

3. Actually take a minute to breathe. Literally.

Many studies demonstrate that breathing exercises aid in relaxing both the mind and body.

Practice this easy nostril breathing technique once or twice a day for 60 seconds: Use your right hand, and plug your right nostril with your thumb. Breathe in through the left nostril. Then, use your index finger and plug your left nostril, and breathe out through your right nostril. Then, breathe in through your right nostril. Next, plug your right nostril again with your thumb, and breathe out through your left nostril. Repeat this pattern for one minute every day.

4. Create a soothing playlist.

Listening to music has been shown to have a positive impact on stress. Take an hour one weekend to create a few different playlists, one to help you unwind on your way home from work and another to help you relax at the end of the night. If you don't love music, try downloading an app to provide white noise that will also distract you from your thoughts a bit.

RELATED: Tamron shares her summer playlist

5. Hug it out.

Can non-romantic physical touch really alleviate stress? According to numerous studies, caring physical touch such as hugging or even hand-holding helps reduce stress. Find someone who you care about and tell them that you need a hug. If you don’t have any humans nearby, a pet will do. Feeling a connection and closeness to another living being provides support, which reduces stress.

Stephanie Mansour is a weight-loss and lifestyle coach for women. Join her weight-loss challenge here!

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