Even the most chilled, level-headed, 100% laid back among us are probably feeling more prone to stress of late. That feckin' recession on the radio has a lot to answer for! But apart from refusing to listen to Morning Ireland or channel surfing when Prime Time comes on, what can you do to really switch off and relax - without handing over too many of your hard-earned sheckles?
Be A Bathing Beaut.ie
Yes, yes, I know that showers are quicker and you can wash your hair at the same time with stand-up ablutions, but there are few things guaranteed to help you unwind like a bath. Make sure the room is nice and warm and tell everyone that you are going off-radar for a bit and are absolutely not to be disturbed. Under any circumstances. That includes the iron goes on the blink or Himself not being able to find the remote for the telly. Dim the lights. Fire up some candles - the good ones that you've been saving for when the house is tidy. Add your choice of bath salts, oils or other smellies under running water; if you're suffering with aching muscles as well as a stressed-out head, try turning your tub into a seaweed bath. Kill two birds with one stone by bringing a spot of reading in, too: now, you can't do that in the shower!
Burn It Off
Use an oil burner to diffuse the scent of relaxing essential oils, which can be picked up in most chemists or health food shops. Whether you 'believe' in aromatherapy or not, this is something that works really, really well, requires basically zero effort, and can be easily slotted into your daily routine. Bergamot, chamomile, geranium and lavendar are just some of the oils indicated for stress relief; you should be able to pick up a guide explaining the properties of essential oils when making your purchase. (Remember, the use of some essential oils is not recommended during pregnancy.)
Burn It Off: Part Deux
A spot of exercise that challenges your fitness levels will give you something other than whatever's stressing you out to think about, and will provide a healthy outlet for pent up tension and frustration. And since exercise releases endorphins, it'll also help to cheer you up!
Make More "Me" Time
That's right, everyone needs to make time for more Lynnie in their lives. Seriously though, the single most important factor in making this destressing malarky a success is to take time out to yourself and do something that you enjoy, that you know works to chill you out completely. For some people, that's meeting up with friends for a catch-up coffee or a glass (or three) of wine, or it can be something as simple as losing yourself in a movie and a big bucket of popcorn, or getting completely engrossed in a buke or magazine, which is perfect - just don't be trying to cheat and do the laundry or any of that jazz at the same time!