5 Ways to De-stress Your Life This Fall

5 Ways to De-stress Your Life This Fall

Use these tips to keep your life stress free during this hectic time of year.


By: Lisa Drayer, R.D.

1. Eat Mood-boosting Foods
Many of us crave indulgent carbohydrates like cookies, candy, ice cream, pretzels and other sweet and starchy foods when we're stressed, anxious or tense. There’s a reason, too: These foods can have a soothing effect in some women, and it may have something to do with low serotonin levels during these mood states.

Serotonin is a brain chemical responsible for feelings of calmness and relaxation. It's thought that consuming these carbohydrates helps boost serotonin levels, which results in feelings of contentedness and relaxation.

So, enjoy these treats if they provide some instant satisfaction, but do watch your portion sizes! I recommend 100-calorie portions: four chocolate drops or a small handful of pretzels. You may want to pre-portion out pretzels, for example, and take them with you as a snack when you leave the house. Those 100-calorie packs work well, too.

RELATED: 10 Best Immunity Boosters

2. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is very soothing; it contains theanine, an amino acid that gives flavor to green tea and also promotes relaxation. It is also thought that theanine is a caffeine antagonist, meaning it counters the stimulating effects of caffeine.

So, drink green tea and avoid caffeinated beverages, since caffeine can worsen the stress response.

3. Meditate
Meditation can be a great way to relax, especially if you are under a lot of stress. Research has shown that meditation can be helpful in lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and even improving cognitive performance.

It’s also pretty simple to do: Just find a comfortable place, close your eyes, relax your muscles and focus on one thing. Maybe focus on your breathing, an object or even something in your mind — perhaps imagine you are sitting on a beach in the Caribbean.

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You can do this for as little as 10 minutes to experience benefits. The key is staying focused and not letting any distractions or thoughts enter your mind — being mindful is essential.

If you have a bit more time, take a yoga or tai chi class — both incorporate mediation, along with physical movements.

4. Have a Hot Bath
Heat relaxes muscles, and taking a long bath can be soothing for the mind as well. Stock up on your favorite bath salts and soaps, get a bath pillow, and decorate the room with candles. You can even create an in-home spa by incorporating spa treatments like facials.

RELATED: Spa Treatments That Are Great For Your Skin

5. Create a Relaxation Room
Many spas have relaxation rooms to sit in before and after treatments, and it's a great thing to create at home, too.

A relaxation room doesn't have to be a “room” per se — it can be a space in your bedroom, for example — but the key is having an area or room at home, solely devoted to relaxing.

You can have a really comfortable chair or daybed with dimmed lights or candles nearby, whatever it is that you enjoy and find relaxing. This will give you an opportunity to decompress with very little stimulation. This is key. Put away the cell phone and laptop — this is a time to kick back and relax. You might want to read a book or magazine, but the idea is to clear your mind of distractions and stressors.

RELATED: How To Find a Relaxation Method

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