According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stress is rising and creating a national mental health crisis. While the reasons for underlying stress — be it short-lived or chronic — vary, one thing remains the same: Failure to mitigate the cause of the stress only makes things that much worse. Plus, if there’s no appropriate outlet, so to speak, the feeling of being stressed out continues to mount.
Rather than succumbing to the effects of stress, which manifests itself in many different forms from inflamed, broken out skin and headaches to sleepless nights and even hair loss, there are effective stress relievers that run the gamut from products to treatments and everything in between. No matter what’s causing you to feel stress and how intense the level of stress is, this definitive guide offers the most innovative stress relievers sure to make 2023 an easier year for your body, mind, and soul.
Create a Clean Slater
The skin is our largest organ, so it’s fitting that when we overload it with toxins, it becomes aggravated, inflamed, irritated, and tends to break out and turn red. This fast-acting oil works wonders to clear up pimples and congested pores while soothing stressed skin so that it’s clear and evenly toned.
Go Au Natural
In the world of stress busters, there is a bevy of natural herb-based options that can help quell the feeling of mounting pressure. One such ingredient is ashwagandha extract — it pinpoints the hormone cortisol, which the body releases during high-stress times. Taking one capsule of this vegan supplement right before bed helps quiet a racing mind and allows for a restful sleep.
The Stress-Wrinkle Solution
If stress is giving you wrinkles and wrinkles are stressing you out, this wearable mask is the next best thing to eliminate both stress and wrinkles without the need for Botox or a glass of stress-reducing wine. Developed by Dr. Steven Harris, this eye mask works via receptors in the skin that, when activated, relax muscles in the face and the emotions swirling around in our heads. By creating a state of relaxation, facial muscles are less inclined to activate and lessen the appearance of furrows between the brows.
Indulge in a Stress-Reducing Bath
Taking time for yourself to relish in a relaxing bath is the epitome of letting go of unnecessary strain and stress. We love this skin-safe version (it won’t cause post-bathing dryness) to help rest and detox the mind, body, and soul. Soothing ingredients like lavender and neroli instill a sense of utter calmness, while essential oils leave skin feeling soft and rejuvenated.
Decompress Jaw-Clenchng Stress
The jaw is one part of the face where many of us hold tension, and the act of clenching and clamping down during stressful situations can lead to long-term issues like TMJ and even tooth grinding. So rather than withholding unnecessary stress, roll it out with this on-the-go contouring and massaging tool. Use it anywhere where you hold tension, like the forehead, jawline, and even the neck, to create a sense of serenity.
The Next-Level Muscle Relaxer
If you like cupping for alleviating physical stress, then you’ll love tuina, a traditional form of Chinese medicine that combines gentle massage with gua sha or cupping to relax the body. Dr. Shannon Lawrence, a physician at Seyhart in Santa Monica, CA, calls tuina “needle-free acupuncture that stretches the body and allows the muscles to relax. By relaxing the muscles, stress can be reduced and balance the mental and physical aspects of a client.”
Fashion Meets Function
The long-practiced traditional Chinese Medicine technique of ear seeding is one of the easiest and best ways to relax the nervous system. “Ear seeding is a microsystem based in East Asian medicine and auricular acupuncture where an ear “seed” or crystal is adhered to a specific point on the ear (with tape) for a specific purpose,” says Doctor of Acupuncture and Eastern Chinese Medicine Giselle Wasfie. “The whole body is mapped on the ear, and initially we would use the Vaccaria seed to stimulate the ear point, but now, we use 24-karat gold-plated balls and crystals because we’re fancy.”
The tiny seeds work similarly to acupressure and stimulate the point with the seed or crystal to help relieve pain and reduce stress levels while promoting better sleep. But that’s not all ear seeds can do. They are also often placed to increase fertility, reduce muscle pain, and create a better centered and grounded feeling.
Sip Away the Stress
A hot cup of an adaptogen- and Ayurvedic plant-rich tea is sometimes all you need to unwind and regain a sense of calm. This blend contains an assortment of ingredients, like South African rooibos, turmeric, cinnamon, and nutmeg, amongst others, that work together to help calm the nervous system and bring the body and mind back to a state of centered balance.
Say Goodbye to Jitters
Featuring Clevr’s buzzy organic Matcha SuperLatte powder and Brightly’s reusable ceramic travel mug, this duo helps elevate your matcha game. While matcha lattes contain caffeine, the key ingredient boasts L-theanine, which offers a much-needed energy boost that combats mid-afternoon slumps — without the jitters associated with coffee.
Warm it Up
It’s normal to carry stress in the shoulders, neck, and back. These hard-to-get-to tension spots can tense up and become painful, which is why heat is often placed on the neck to open it up. A subtle heat emerges from organic flax seeds that are packed deep within the cotton to help relax the neck and shoulders as the day’s stress melts away.
Add a Pop of Color
Sensory toys and objects work wonders to mitigate stress, and these rainbow-filled cubes are no different. Thanks to hundreds, if not thousands, of endless color-changing combinations depending on how the cube is held, turned, moved, and viewed, a steady stream of CMY colors relaxes the mind.
Stress-filled days call for a night of reprieve, and one way to make your bed your sanctuary and a place where you can easily drift off to dreamland is with a linen spray. This one is packed with pulse points (the formula is skin-safe) for utter relaxation. Lavender and neroli help to relax and ease the mind, so you drift off faster.
A long, hot shower is the perfect antidote to help set the stage for restful sleep — a must for stress-filled situations. And to make said shower that much more effective, a sleep-inducing shower gel is the perfect accouterment. This suds maker is rich in lavender oil, oat milk, tonka, and ylang-ylang oil for the perfect wind-down, calming scent.
Permission to Pause
Sometimes, the perfect stress reliever involves using your mind and hands to push through hard times — and that’s just what this female-founded brand does. The eco-conscious clay sculpting kits allow you to tap into your inner creativity and practice mindfulness to create balance in daily life and encourage one’s creative outlet to shine.
Put Pen to Paper
Journaling is one of the most influential and practiced stress relievers and intention setters because it allows you to track emotions, feelings, intentions, and more physically. Daily journaling creates a strong connection between self and well-being, and this guided planner lets you focus on whatever you need to reflect on, let go of, or just find a way to create a more centered, balanced you.
Raise the Bar
Stress-eating can cause you to pack on the pounds, but this stress-reducing, adaptogen-rich, plant-based bar does the opposite. Following a quiz to determine how each individual manifests stress, a particular functional bar is assigned to help mitigate the effects — there are ones for helping to fall asleep and others to counteract distractions.
Snack on Something Sweet
CBD is lauded as the era’s cure-all, yet one area where it continues to receive mega praise is its ability to promote a sense of steady calmness and relaxation and overall well-being. Made in small batches and with premiere ingredients, these lemon and strawberry-flavored gumdrops infuse the body with a safe dose (20mg to be exact) of hemp-derived CBD for that feel-good sensation of sheer respite.
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