Cold weather hit a bit late this year — packing quite a punch during the recent blizzard — which means the winter blues are taking their toll on many of us. To top it off, January is often marked as the most depressing month of the year, so it's no surprise as to why you may be feeling more stressed and overwhelmed than usual.
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Instead of dwelling in your stress and blues, here are six solutions for managing stress that cost under $20:
1. Meditation: According to Headspace.com, meditation activates the rest and digest part of our nervous systems, helping with stress management. Having a daily meditation practice can make a huge impact on your level of stress.
- Headspace app: Free guided meditation for 10 days and then $12.95/month
- buddhify app: 80 guided meditations tailored to wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, $4.99
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2. Coloring Books: Coloring books are starting to pop up all over – and not just for kids. They’re ideal for individuals of all ages looking to relax and use their creativity. January 31 is Inspire Your Heart with Art day, making it the perfect opportunity to call on your inner creative child and make art.
- Colorama Coloring Book, $12.99
- Enchanted Forest coloring book at Papyrus, $15.95
3. Lavender: "Lavender oil has been used since ancient times for its powerful calming and properties," says holistic health coach, Casey Von Iderstein. "It can be used aromatically, topically, or even added to a bath to melt away feelings of stress and tension."
- Weleda Lavender Relaxing Body Oil, $18.36
- Acure Organics Calming Body Lotion in Lavender + Lotus Stem Cell, $11.95
4. Tea: “My no fail way to de-stress? Making a cup of tea," said Alyson Valpone, marketing team lead at Whole Foods Market. "There's something about the whole process of making a cup of tea that slows my whole body and mind down.”
- David’s Tea Open In Case of Stress box, $15
- Happy Heart Tea by Allegro Coffee, also available at Whole Foods Market, $4.49/box of 20 tea bags
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5. Movement: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Movement doesn't have to take place in a yoga studio or at a gym — you can do it on the go!
- Acacia on-demand workout service, $6.99/month
- Venice Fit Co. Resistance Band, starting at $19.99
6. Sounds: Listening to relaxing music and sounds can be extremely soothing in the face of stress. According to the American Psychological Association, music reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Rain.today is a free desktop app that lets you turn your browser into a powerful rain noise generator, a source of natural, calming white noise, Free
- White Noise Free Sleep Sounds includes free ambient sounds of the environment, Free