Top relaxation tips
- List the major stresses in your life and consider solutions or lifestyle changes to combat them. Prioritise, practise time management, and learn to delegate and say no.
- Make time for rest and relaxation on a regular basis.
- Improve your diet: reduce caffeine, nicotine, junk foods and sugar, and increase wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and water.
- Stress puts added strain on the liver and nervous system. To strengthen these, boost your intake of B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.
- Practise breathing exercises, such as alternate nostril breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, every day and add a short meditation to your daily routine.
- Take regular exercise to relieve stress and stimulate endorphin production, which has a relaxing effect. Balance vigorous exercise with gentle stretching.Yoga, qigong and Pilates are ideal.
Choose your therapy
Most complementary therapies contain an element of stress reduction.
Herbal medicine – add barley (rich in minerals and B vitamins and an excellent nerve tonic) to the diet or drink as barley water (boil one heaped teaspoon of barley in one litre of water for 30 minutes, then strain and drink hot or cold).
Aromatherapy – lavender essential oil, added to a room burner or bath water, relaxes and soothes.
Bach and other flower remedies – many are designed to change your response to stress.
Homeopathic remedies – consult a practitioner for advice on which ones are best to help you cope with stress.
Hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, positive affirmations and visualisation – help you maintain a positive attitude and deal with stresses effectively.
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Stephen Hopwood in April 2009.