How to Be Less Stressed Out, by Lindsay Ellingson
Let’s talk about stress. Everyone tells me that after 10 years of living in the city, you’re technically a New Yorker. I assume that's supposed to mean your mind and body become acclimated to the nonstop hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. After 12 years, I’ll admit, even though I’m so grateful to live and work in NYC, I’m still a California girl at heart, at times dreaming of being transported to the nearest beach.
I’m also more of an introvert, sensitive to sounds, light, and even smells, so the energy of the city can sometimes leave my shoulders up to my ears with stress at the end of the day. Thankfully I’ve picked up many stress and anxiety relief rituals over the years. For me, a big part of the battle against stress involves incorporating activities and rituals throughout my day that help me to stay present and positive. We all know that exercise and meditation are go-tos for stress and anxiety relief.
Keep reading to find out some alternative ways I stay calm. I promise these quick and easy tips will work for anyone, anywhere!
Mornings are pretty hectic with my busy work schedule—I’m sure all of you can relate! I often wake with a surge of cortisol, like going from zero to 60, which elevates my heart rate and causes my mind to race about the tasks of the day. It wasn’t until I implemented a few morning rituals that were realistic for me that I started to feel more grounded.
First, I resist the urge to check my emails when I wake up and instead take a breath, inhaling for four counts, pause, and exhaling for four. I find that even five minutes spent away from my phone sets me up for a much more positive day.
Next, I make my bed. Honestly, it's my least favourite task, but I do feel much calmer and happier in a tidy environment. I also take time to be with my husband, even if it’s just a few minutes drinking tea or eating breakfast together.
Finally, I set a goal for the day and think of a few things I’m grateful for. Morning rituals can be anything that helps you to stay in the moment and feel more positive and calm. I no longer dread the sound of my alarm and find that even the most stressful days are more tolerable.
I recently discovered Herbivore’s Hair Perfume Mist and fell in love with the jasmine scent. The sweet yet soft floral aroma of jasmine essential oil has an instant uplifting effect. As a bonus, I feel a sense of calm as soon as I mist my locks. I like to spritz my hair in the morning and before date nights with my husband; it’s the perfect pick-me-up throughout the day. Another great way to experience jasmine essential oil is with a diffuser, which instantly makes a room feel more peaceful.
I do hot yoga classes at Modo Yoga three times a week. I love how strong and calm I feel after each class. What’s great about yoga is everyone, no matter your level, can experience the stress-relieving benefits of yoga right at home.
My favourite restorative pose is called legs up the wall. All you need is a little space and about 10 minutes. Legs up the wall is my go-to pose whenever I’m feeling stressed; it’s so refreshing and grounding for the body. Your heart rate slows with this calming inversion, and tension drains. I often do this pose in bed when traveling to beat jet lag and insomnia. It’s a great way to take a mental break from the day.
Scrolling through Instagram on any morning almost convinces me to reach for a cup of coffee to wake up—I do love the taste and indulge occasionally! Most people with anxiety would agree that too much caffeine adds to the burden. I notice caffeine effects my body in a similar way to stress. I find it hard to focus, my heart rate increases, I end up feeling overwhelmed and jittery. The perfect alternative for me is matcha green tea. I experience a calm focus, a relaxed alertness, which is just what I need, especially while in front of the camera or at my desk testing formulas for Wander Beauty. What’s even better are delicious matcha green tea recipes. My favourite is mixing unsweetened vanilla coconut milk, raw honey, and matcha over ice.
I hadn’t picked up a crayon or colored pencil in years until my sister introduced me to adult colouring to reduce stress. Side note: She’s a mum of three girls under 2 years old, so I trust all of her advice! At first I thought it would be a waste of time, but after a little research and Amazon shopping, I was intrigued. Since I often find it difficult to turn off my brain while meditating, colouring is a great alternative because it allows me to still “do” something with a quiet and effortless focus. I find it’s one of the easiest and most fun ways to stay mindful and ultimately reduce stress.
How to you reduce stress in your everyday routine? Check out my Instagram, @lindsellingson, for a peek at my schedule.