Gina Mei
August 18, 2015 6:00 am

Being a human is hard work, and when you’re hustling on the daily, it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. But we can think of few things as essential to our well-being as practicing a little self-care; and there are plenty of things we can do every day to help us de-stress. Here are a few of our favorite tips for instant chill.

1. Put on some mellow music

Set the mood for relaxation with tunes that make you feel like you’re on a tropical beach, thousands of miles away. If you’re not sure where to start, Spotify lets you browse playlists by mood, and “Chill” is its #1 category. For real.

2. Practice 10 minutes of mindfulness

As Psychology Today explains it, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.” It’s simple and free, and a necessity for everyday relaxation. Practicing mindfulness allows you to be present and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Start small: While having your morning cup of coffee, really focus on the action of enjoying that cup of coffee. If you feel outside thoughts or feelings trying to pull you away, let them go and focus on your drink.

3. Cuddle with your pet

Take some time to give your pet a little lovin’: Along with giving your fur baby the attention s/he deserves, it’s good for you, too! According to CNN, some studies show that petting a dog lowers blood pressure, improves your immunity, and keeps stress at bay. As if we needed another excuse to hang out with dogs!

4. Read your favorite book in the sunshine

I like curling up with a good book as much as the next person, but there’s something about taking a lawn chair outside and reading in the sunshine that takes things to the next level. It’s an instant mood-booster.

5. Chew a piece of gum

Along with giving you minty fresh breath, multiple studies show that chewing gum actually lowers cortisol levels and reduces stress. Thanks, science!

6. Put on a face mask

Whether you make one at home (I’m fond of this old school Michelle Phan one) or you have a favorite from the store; put on a mask, set a timer, and challenge yourself not to look at your phone or computer until it’s done. Taking 10-20 minutes just for self-care does wonders for relaxation.

7. Light some candles

Nothing sets the mood like candlelight, and we’re not just talking about romance. Aromatherapy candles are perfect for helping you chill out. Pick a relaxing scent, turn off the lights, and revel in your one-woman coven.

8. Take deep breaths

Closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths is a mindful thing: By slowing down your breathing, you’re forced to hone in your focus and let everything else go. Breathe in, and exhale the stress away!

9. Eat some dark chocolate

Along with being delicious, dark chocolate also has some surprising health benefits. According to Greatist, like gum, it reduces stress by regulating cortisol levels — and it also helps to stabilize your metabolism.

10. Watch an ASMR video

The Internet loves Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): A relaxing, pleasurable tingling sensation that one gets in response to certain triggers, usually auditory or visual. At first, the whole thing is very weird. But if you find the right sound for you, it can be unbelievably relaxing (and can help bring on the sleepy feels). Common triggers include whispering, crinkling fabrics, and the sound of a hairbrush — but everyone’s a little different. Try GentleWhispering on YouTube as a starting point.

11. Take a walk outside

When you’re stressed out of your mind over everything you need to get done, sometimes taking a five-minute break can make a world of difference. Taking a walk and getting some fresh air can help clear your head and have you ready to tackle any task when you’re done.

(Image via Paramount Pictures.)

Related stories:

10 relaxing ways to celebrate National Relaxation Day

Ways to practice self-care, because you are so worth it

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