5 DIY Tips for Relaxing After a Long Day [LIST]

Put your five senses at ease with these easy to-make-chill inducing homemade goodies.

Nov 6, 2014
Special Collections: MINDFUL LIVING
A woman relaxing on the couch.

Now is the time to relax and take a load off. [Shutterstock image]

Your phone hasn’t stopped ringing, you promised your friends that you would make it for dinner but are running 20 minutes late and on top of that, you have a tight deadline at work – does any of this sound familiar? The pressures of daily life can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to create moments of calm and peace as often as possible. While waving a magic hand doesn’t make the worries or stress disappear, there are ways to alleviate their effects and keep your head above water. Tapping into the five cardinal senses, we have compiled a list of DIY tips to relax and chill you out.  

1. TASTE - WHIP UP A SPINACH HEARTY MEAL 

Food can be one of the most comforting ways to calm yourself down after a hectic day; but what you put in your body can adversely affect your mood. Choosing foods high in fat and sugar slows your metabolism, and secretes the “stress” hormone cortisol into your bloodstream.
GET STARTED WITH: The green leafy vegetable spinach is jam packed with magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate cortisol levels and loosens muscles along with a host of other positive effects. Prepare yourself a spinach-rich meal or smoothie by trying out these 30 spinach recipes for superfood meals.
EASY ALTERNATIVE: If you can’t stomach Popeye’s favorite vegetable, then get your sweet fix with dark chocolate. Packed with antioxidants, dark chocolate stimulates the brain to release happy chemicals otherwise known as beta endorphins. Just make sure to eat in moderation - the recommended intake is 1.5 to 3 ounces or 42 to 85 grams.

Spinach in a bowl

Spinach is both nutritious and relaxing. [Shutterstock image]

2. SMELL - UNWIND WITH AN AROMATHERAPY SESSION

Your nose can be a conduit to relaxation, which is the idea behind aromatherapy. Essential oils used in aromatherapy are extracted from various parts of plants and then distilled. When inhaling an essential oil, the smell receptors are stimulated which then send messages onto the nervous system and to the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls emotions. There are particular plants that are known for their calming properties such as: lavender, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood.
GET STARTED WITH: A relaxing and calming shower using aromatherapy shower steamers that will wash away all the tension of the day.
EASY ALTERNATIVE: Select a relaxing essential oil, and inhale deeply . Essential oils can be very strong so be sure to take small inhalations without ingesting the oils or getting them in your eyes.

Homemade powder blue aromatherapy shower steamers

Powder blue shower steamers packed with aromatherapy goodness. [Image from Rustic Escentuals Crafting Library]

3. TOUCH - RELEASE MUSCLE TENSION BY GIVING YOURSELF A MASSAGE

Getting a massage is not only about unwinding, but through rubbing the right muscles, the body relaxes and circulation is improved. While most of us don’t have a masseuse on call 24-7, there are ways to physically chill out such as giving your head a delightful rub.
GET STARTED WITH: Make your own scalp massager with a DIY tutorial from Instructables.
EASY ALTERNATIVE: If a scalp massager seems too labor intensive, then check out how to give yourself a calming hand massage  by watching a three-and-a-half minute video.

A girl massaging her head with a scalp massager or head tingler.

Chilling out with a scalp massager. [Shutterstock image]

4. SIGHT - GIVE YOUR EYES A BREAK WITH A GENTLE EYE PILLOW

Your eyes get quite the workout during the day - from looking at screens to reading small text - and could use some alternative ways to decompress. While vegging out in front of the TV might seem to be the go-to way to chill out, there is new research that says that it can be a stress inducing activity.
GET STARTED WITH: Give your peepers a rest with a homemade eye pillow that provides gentle pressure around the eyes to release tension. Maximize it by adding an essential oil to enjoy a deep calm.
EASY ALTERNATIVE: If you are looking for a quick dose of visual chill, watch this beautiful and calm series of fluid yoga poses, much like dancing.

A silk eye pillow.

A silk eye pillow to relax your eyes. [Image from Flickr user Gabrielle]

5. HEARING- LISTEN TO NATURE'S SOOTHING SOUNDS BY MAKING YOUR OWN WIND CHIME

Music and sounds evoke emotions, and humans specifically find the combination of intricate patterns of audio frequencies pleasing to the ear. There is music that makes you want to get up and dance and there are also sounds that can bring you into a state of mellowness.
GET STARTED WITH: Soak up what nature has to offer by making your own wind chime. These beautiful and calming trinkets are a great addition to your home and can be a gentle way to unwind.
EASY ALTERNATIVE: Log onto Calm.com where you can experience an easy meditative journey with tracks lasting 2, 10 or 20 minutes. Once you click, a narrated guided meditation commences complete with sounds from the world of nature, such as crashing waves and pouring rain.

Wooden wind chimes

Beautifully sounding wind chimes. [Shutterstock image]

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