When there's no time to escape to the spa, create your own oasis. Here, 9 ways to help you decompress in the comfort of your bedroom.
1. Mantra Meditation
To Western ears, "mantra" is synonymous with "catchphrase" or "mission statement." But mantra is a tool that's been used for thousands of years to help cultivate peace of mind - something we could all use a little more of. Choose a word or phrase that is meaningful and melodious - such "love," "peace," or "amen" (or whatever resonates with you) - and repeat it silently or audibly whenever you need a gentle reminder to savor the moment.
2. Comfort Yourself
Know how a cranky child magically transforms into a little angel after a nap? Treat yourself to five minutes of rest. Gather two firm pillows, then sit with your heels on the floor. Keeping your toes together, open the knees wide and stack the pillows between your knees. Rest your torso on the pillows, head turned to one side. Breathe here, releasing tension with each exhale. After several breaths, turn your head to the other side.
3. Take a Mental Vacation
When you need to reduce stress, find a cozy spot in your room and treat yourself to a vacation that's all in your head: Close your eyes and imagine a relaxing place, such as a beach or a mountain view. Visualize the sights and smells. The more vivid a picture you paint in your mind, the more your body will respond to the invitation to relax.
4. Honey Mask
Build a little relaxation time into your nightly routine with a DIY moisturizing mask. The secret ingredient? Honey. The golden sweet stuff has natural antibiotic properties and leaves skin noticeably softer and moister. Apply about a tablespoon (avoiding the eye area) and rest for 10 minutes as it dries, then rinse with warm water. (Honey can also help blisters heal - use it as you would antibiotic ointment.)
5. Sea Salt Bath
Recover from a long day with an easy detox: Add a cup of sea salt to a warm bath and soak. The salt draws impurities out of the skin. To make it even more rejuvenating, sprinkle a few drops of your favorite essential oil in the water and light some candles. Remember to silence your phone unless you want to be interrupted by incessant ringing.
6. Change Your Nightcap
Too much alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns but tart cherry juice is practically a melatonin cocktail. To score the benefits, drink a mixture of 2 tablespoons of tart cherry juice concentrate and 8 ounces of water twice a day. Make sure it's Montmorency cherry - it has six times the melatonin of Balaton tart cherry.
7. Sprinkle Some Lavender
In numerous experiments, subjects have reported sounder sleep when exposed to the scent. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil on a cloth and slip under your pillow; use a diffuser; or iron pillowcases with lavender-scented water.
8. Count Your Blessings
In a study conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis, people who listed five things they were grateful for each day in a journal fell asleep faster, slept for longer periods of time, and also woke up feeling more refreshed than those who didn't keep a gratitude journal.
9. Breathe Deeply
Breathe more mindfully. Try taking a full breath now - inhale deeply into your belly, then allow every last drop of air to release on the exhale. This simple action blocks the stress response and cues your body to relax, making you less likely to get riled up and more likely to think clearly. Breathe deeply before you respond to anything life throws your way, and notice how doing it changes your reactions.