Tips for Balance, Relaxation and Stress-Relief

Tips for Balance, Relaxation and Stress-Relief

Life is wonderful and beautiful and wild and hectic. We are constantly being thrown into chaos and tested with how we cope. It really takes hard work and dedication to stay balanced. I’m continuously checking in with myself and trying to be real with myself about where I’m at. Some days are harder than others. That’s inevitable. I wanted to share my favorite tips for staying balanced and how I deal with stress and anxiety when they come up. I hope you find some useful information here. And as always, I would love to hear from you. What practices do you incorporate into your life to stay balanced? <3

EXERCISE
This is often the first thing we cut out when we feel overworked and stressed out, but it’s actually one of the things that can help the most. When we move our bodies, sweat and focus on physical energy, it can shift the state of our minds. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do. Yoga is for some people what long-distance running is for others. If you are feeling especially exhausted or emotionally down, instead of doing an intense work out, try just taking a walk around your neighborhood. Use this time as a walking meditation. Be in the moment. Take in your surroundings without judgement.

MEDITATION
This is SO important. And so underrated. Meditation can work wonders for the nervous system as well as being calming for the mind. And it really is so easy. Try committing to one or two 10-minute seated meditations a day. It really isn’t that long. I promise. It can be a great way to start your day or unwind after work. Meditation is a personal practice, so what works for one may not work for another. If you’re looking for some resources to help with mediation, I love this podcastthis podcast and this site. There are also many apps you can download. If sitting meditation is difficult for you, try yoga nidra, or a lying down meditation.

GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA
Instagram can be a seriously inspiring place, but it can also heighten feelings of stress and anxiety. A lot of times it can push us to compare ourselves to one another and foster deep-seeded insecurities. Try setting a time limit per day for social media. If you’re feeling especially anxious or down, maybe don’t go on it at all. Above all, remember you are enough. You are exactly where you need to be on your own path. And you are loved deeply.

QUIET MORNINGS + ADAPTOGENS
One of my favorite routines is making my morning matcha potion then drinking it in my living room in quiet contemplation. This time of day is very sacred to me. There’s something about the energy of the morning, when there is a sweet stillness around, that allows me to sink in and let go. This sets the tone for the rest of my day and gives me the energy I need to sustain through the busy parts. Every morning I sip a variety of adaptogens. I like to change up which ones I’m taking every month. (Right now, I’m drinking maca, reishi and cordyceps). Adaptogens are botanical medicine that help the body (specifically the immune, endocrine and neuroendocrine systems) better adapt to physical, emotional and environmental stress. Their job is to bring the body into balance. I’m long overdue for a blog post on adaptogens, so that’s coming soon, I promise!

SELF-CARE RITUALS
Some of my favorite self-care rituals include a hot bath, bi-weekly face masks, a sauna + soak and massage. Try committing to one or two things a week for yourself. Self care can also be practicing yoga, repeating a positive, loving mantra to yourself in the mirror 3x a day or getting a pedicure once a month. At the core, these rituals should be practices that make you feel loved, honored, relaxed and cared for. I love this list of simple self-care practices that you can incorporate into your daily life.

DECLUTTER + BEAUTIFY YOUR SPACE
An uncluttered home is crucial for maintaining balance in my life. You might be surprised with what a difference a clean and warm, cozy space can make on the way you feel each day. If you’re looking to do a major overhaul, I definitely recommend this book. Otherwise, try dedicating 1-3 hours on Sundays to cleaning and organizing your home. I find this is a great way to go into my week feeling prepared. Added bonus, cleaning can also be a mind-clearing activity.

CONNECTION
We create meaningful relationships in our lives and are surrounded by people who love and care for us. Remember these people want to be there for you in times of hardship as well as the good times. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Lean on each other and support each other. Check in with people you love often to see how they are doing. Life is long, and we all need each others love and connection.

INSPIRATIONAL READING, TAROT + JOURNALING
I start each day by opening to a random page in this book. It gives me inspiration for the day ahead and often times puts things in perspective. On the new and full moons and when I’m needing clarity in my life, I turn to my tarot deck (I have this one and this one). I love this practice, as it allows me to turn inward, contemplate what is going on in my life and gives me guidance in a thought-provoking way. Journaling can also be an amazing way to release feelings and sort through inner dialogue. I love looking back on things I’ve written in the past after certain experiences or time periods in my life.

GET OUTSIDE
When all else fails, I find nature has a magical way of always making me feel better and more connected to source and spirit. I try to commit to doing one overnight outside of the city every month (usually camping in the summer months and Airbnb’ing in the winter). If I can’t manage to get away for a night, a day trip or a couple hour hike is great, too. Sometimes I just need to hop on my bike and ride to the park when I’m in the city. It’s not quite as soothing as being in the forest, but it certainly does help.

NOURISHING FOODS
Although maybe obvious, what we choose to nourish our bodies with plays a large role in how we feel overall. In times of heightened stress or anxiety, try cooked warming and grounding foods that balance the 1st chakra (muladhara or root). Here are some good choices: beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, ginger, garlic, salt + other minerals from the earth, whole grains, quality proteins like pastured eggs and organic meats, olive oil, ghee, yams and sweet potatoes.

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9 comments

Nina July 21, 2017 - 8:40 pm

Just recently discovered your blog through a friend’s Instagram post. I am a current UO student, back home in LA for the summer, interning at a food + wellness firm! I too have a passion for food and wellness and crave to learn more!!! The transition into interning/ adulthood has been overwhelming, I’ve felt a lot of anxiety and lost touch with what I need to self-love and feel like myself this past month. This post helped me consider new ways to tend to what I need. Thank you!!! I’m so excited to keep reading from you and look forward to your post about Adaptogens!! <3 xx

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alison wu August 16, 2017 - 3:09 pm

Hi Nina,

So glad to heart that! Big life transitions are always challenging. Definitely take extra good care of yourself during this time. Sending you love and a big hug!

XO

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Bryn July 22, 2017 - 12:01 am

These are really genuine and thoughtful tips! Super soul nourishing. Like a big hug! Thank you for sharing. I think the practice of consciously identifying your values and incorporating them into your self-care rituals is an affirming and beneficial practice.

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Christina August 9, 2017 - 2:55 pm

This is such a great post! Coming at a much needed time 🙂 Thanks for the thoughtful post.

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alison wu August 16, 2017 - 3:07 pm

SO glad to hear you found this post insightful. XO

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yifat September 30, 2017 - 6:35 pm

feeling murky minded and bloated physically, all which causes me stress and anxiety. reading this now helps me regain focus and brings me so much tranquility. thank you alison!

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alison wu October 25, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Aw, I’m so glad. I hope you find some of these tips helpful in your own life. Sending love!

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Ashleigh July 2, 2018 - 2:02 pm

Hi Alison,

I recently also found myself on your Instagram page and found my way to your lovely website.

I to have been meaning for so long to start practising self care, I’m 29 years old and it’s only till recently that I realised how important it is! I started by seeking inspiration on Instagram and Youtube as I was on my journey of becoming a vegetarian and I found the more I started started making these suggested meals it slowly but surly increased my confidence and now I’m starting to explore all these other wonderful self care practises like you have mentioned!

I just want to say thank you for your posts! They are very inspiring. When I’m reading your posts I can really feel the passion you have for your topics and the love that you have for others. Keep up the good work <3

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Jhoei June 14, 2019 - 4:12 am

I love your suggestions. I’ll do decluttering and beautifying my space this weekend.

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