Do you ever get so stressed that even the prospect of doing something to reduce your stress stresses you out? Yep, same. My nervous system tends to run on a high frequency, so excited, positive energy can quickly turn into anxious, stressed energy (extrovert problems). They're two sides of the same coin. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, whether it be by my to-do list, a relationship problem, a work setback, or nothing in particular, sometimes taking a step to manage that stress (say, by going to a yoga or Pilates class, moving up my therapy appointment, or calling a friend to unload) can feel like just another task I need to accomplish, which can make me spiral even further.
For this reason, I've had to make my stress-management routine really, really simple. As in, so simple that whenever my nervous system starts to short-circuit on me, I can address it using a few products and techniques that I have right on hand—like, in-my-bedroom on hand. If you suffer from stress (and the stress of not knowing how to deal with your stress), I've got some advice. The following seven easy, simple things are what I do to fight stress when literally everything feels overwhelming.
Diffuse a Calming Essential Oil
I have not one but two essential oil diffusers in my room—because when things get really rough, you need to pump as many good vibes into the air as possible. The ritual of filling up my diffusers with water, selecting a calming essential oil (I love Vitruvi's pure lavender and Saje's Stress Release blend), and enjoying the room as it fills up with aromatherapy instantly calms me down.
Take Some CBD
I'm new to the world of CBD and not really a fan of vaping, but Dosist's chic little pens have totally taken a seat at the table of my stress-management routine. I keep the brand's Calm pen on my bedside table. The formula offers a high concentration of CBD, a plant compound proven to reduce anxiety, in addition to other calming, natural (though hard-to-pronounce) ingredients like myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, and limonene. Just one dose of this stuff (which contains 2.25 milligrams of CBD—the pen buzzes once you've inhaled a complete dose's worth) is enough to mellow me the fuck out.
Burn a Lavender Candle
I am an absolute freak for lavender. It just smells so damn good. Plus, according to empirical studies of lavender and the nervous system, "lavender oil exhibited antianxiety properties similar to those of chlordiazepoxide," an anti-anxiety pharmaceutical. Enlighten's lavender candle has the purest, most unadulterated lavender scent of any other that I've tried, and at $28, it's super affordable. I also keep this little gem on my bedside table.
Sip Some Green Tea
When I'm really stressed, the last thing I want to do is spend 10 minutes concocting some fancy wellness elixir, so instead, I keep it really simple and make myself a cup of instant matcha tea with one of these little packets. Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which studies have linked to a reduction in anxiety, psychological stress symptoms (like increased heart rate), and the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, it tastes really good, and warm beverages are just plain cozy.
Throw on a Weighted Blanket
A therapist recently recommended I try using a weighted "gravity blanket" whenever I feel my nervous system going berserk (like a dog's thunder vest for anxious humans). A small 2006 study testing the effectiveness of weighted blankets found that an impressive 63% of participants reported lower anxiety after using them, and 78% found the product to be "an effective calming mechanism." The one above is 12 pounds (though, you can find ones as heavy as 30 pounds) and is so cozy to nap with.
Slip Into Some Compression Leggings
Sometimes, minimizing my stress comes down to something as simple as taking off the jeans and heels I've been wearing all day and changing into my favorite Lululemon leggings. As it turns out, there's science behind compression activewear's ability to reduce your anxiety. Just as weighted blankets make you feel calmer, being swaddled in tight, stretchy clothing "has been shown to be positive on anxiety reduction," David Klemanski, a psychologist at NYU Langone, recently told Vice. "Athleisure attire … [is] like a full-body hug."
Do Two Minutes of Silent Meditation
I am way too high-strung for complicated meditation apps and long sessions of sitting cross-legged in silence, which makes this super-simple meditation timer perfect for me. There is a section on the app where you can access tons of guided meditations if that's what you're into, but I just use the timer feature, which allows you to set how long you want to meditate, how many interval bells you want (if any), what ambient background sounds you want (if any), and what ending bell you want. I sit on the edge of my bed and mindfully meditate with my eyes closed for just two minutes, focusing on my breath and the sensation of my body in space, allowing any thoughts that come to my mind to gently release. I find that just 120 seconds in my room is enough to reset my nervous system.
Do you have any easy de-stressing tips? Please DM them to me @amanda_montell!