Life can be a rollercoaster and sometimes it’s hard to escape that flutter in your stomach as you face the inner feeling of plunging into anxiety. We are all anxious at times and trying to pretend those feelings of anxiety don’t exist can exasperate the problem. It can be a more helpful approach to accept those anxious moments rather than battle with it, and to find small tiny rituals that can help you to feel like you have a plan in place for when you feel overwhelmed. Anxiety is mostly your brain trying to keep you safe, but when our brain overreacts, the body can follow suit. The aim of these gentle relaxation rituals is to slow down the fast flow of cortisol, to untangle tight muscles, and to redirect the mind, body, and soul into a softer place where you can feel safe and practice self-soothing. Here are four relaxation rituals for stepping off that anxiety ledge…
The Cozy Flow Ritual
One of the easiest and low key ways of welcoming a relaxation ritual is to bring a little coziness into your corner. Slip into something soft and warm – your comfy pants, a fluffy bathrobe, and your fave fuzzy socks. Grab a blanket and some pillows and curl up on the sofa with a warm drink. You can even light candles and play soft soothing music to amp up the cozy homely feel. There’s something about being warm and feeling safe that helps the stress factor melt away.
The Gentle Movement Ritual
Sometimes one of the best ways to shake anxiety from your body is to redirect that energy and get moving. Exercise and movement raise your endorphins (those feel-good hormones in the body) and also redirects your attention. As these are relaxing rituals, we don’t expect you to pump out 90 minutes of cardio, but even just doing a short yoga and stretch routine can be enough, especially when paired with some beautiful cleansing breath techniques.
The Sacred Space Ritual
It may sound like a cliché but a hot bath can soothe jingle-jangle nerves especially if you carve out a little added time to turn the bathroom into a sacred space. Add a few drops of a calming essential oil to the running water – whether its lavender, rosemary oil, or frankincense. Again, light candles or dim the lighting to soften the mood. Warm water is excellent at unwinding muscles and you should aim to linger in the bathroom as long as possible. Indulge in a facial, exfoliate every inch of your skin, and turn to all your favorite beauty rituals to turn this into a home spa session.
The Breath Ritual
Taking a big deep breath can change the way you feel in an instant. When our anxiety is skyrocketing, just taking a minute to practice a little light breathwork can help you to regulate your nerves and reduce the amount of cortisol coursing through your body. The best thing about the breath ritual is it can be done anytime, anyplace. You can try box breathing – breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, releasing for a count of 4, holding out for a count of 4. You can also try the 4-7-8 exercise (breathe in for 4, hold for 7, breathe out for 8). Both of these practices slow the heart rate and invite more oxygen into the body – ultimately working as an instant natural tranquilizer.
What are your favorite rituals for stepping off the anxiety ledge? Share with us in the comments.