5 Tips for Creating a Stress-Free Sanctuary at Home

On those stressful days when the kids have been bickering non-stop, the boss has been crabby, and the traffic has been more jammed than usual, we might fantasize about slipping away to some remote desert island filled with peace, sunshine and plenty of tranquility.

However, with a little time, money and a few supplies, we can find our own private and renewing sanctuary right in our own home. From a rarely-used guest room that you can transform into a quiet place of meditation, to a nook under the stairs that you can use for reading and hobbies, it is possible to create a wonderful retreat that doesn’t involve flying to an uncharted isle.

Find Your Space

The first thing you need to do to create a peaceful sanctuary is to choose a space that feels comfortable and does not get much foot traffic. Avoid places like the corner of the living room or dining room because the noise level will be too high. Instead, try to work with an extra bedroom, a rarely-used den, a closet under the stairs, or even part of the attic. Take your private sanctuary to the next level by implementing an entirely new space in your home. Sunrooms are an ideal place to relax and unwind after a long day of work and taking care of the house and kids, notes Champion Home Exteriors. Plus, this space can double as a yoga or fitness room in addition to your place of zen.

Paint With Soothing Colors

Once you determine where your private at-home sanctuary will be located, the next step will be prepping the space for use. Choose a color for your relaxation space that will encourage calm and tranquil thoughts and feelings, notes Home Guides. Soothing colors like blues, light purple, beige, and medium shades of green are all outstanding choices, while bright and vivid colors like red, yellow and orange, should not be used in the space.

Keep it Clutter-Free

Clutter is the archenemy of relaxation and peace. Keep your private sanctuary as free of clutter as you can, and don’t allow other family members to store their extra books or toys in your space. By keeping the room as open and airy and clutter-free as possible, it will greatly add to your feeling of tranquility.

Add Comfy Furnishings

In order to be as comfortable as possible in your new peaceful space, consider placing an overstuffed chair in the room, as well as a side table to hold beverages and a small bookcase for books, candles, and hobby materials. Keep the furniture on the edges of the room to create a minimalist ambiance. This will give you plenty of free space to walk around and help retain its peaceful look and feel.

Add Some Tunes

While a completely quiet room can be very relaxing, this might be hard to attain in a household filled with kids or pets. To make the room as peaceful as possible, bring in a CD player or iPod and listen to some of your favorite music that is soothing to the soul. You can also purchase a small fountain for the room that will fill the space with the wonderful sound of bubbling water, or even a small fan that has a white noise setting.

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Effects of Stress on Health

Many of us lead fast paced lives full of pressure from all areas of life such as families and work and it is no wonder stress is a constant factor in our lives. Stress symptoms can have adverse effects on your health even though you might not realize it. You may think that such adverse effects are as a result of an illness when they are actually as a result of stress. Stress can have effect on your health, body, mood and behaviour.

Effects of stress on your body:

  • Headaches and migraines: Stress can cause constant and severe headaches that may not go away unless you relieve the stress. Sometimes people may think that headache that they are experiencing are from an illness but they are actually from stress

  • Tension and pain of muscles: When you are stressed out, your muscles tend to become tensed because of anxiety and sometimes fear. When you are never relaxed, the muscles become tensed

  • Sleep problems: Anyone who is stressed finds it hard to sleep because of thinking too much and constant worry and hence you stay up to think about whatever is stressing you

  • Chest pains: Stress gives you a heavy heart which may ultimately lead to chest pains. Severe pains can lead to a heart disease which is harmful to your health *Fatigue-stress works the nerves constantly leading to fatigue. If you are stressed you sometimes lack strength to carry out normal activities

  • Stomach upset: Stress leads to either eating too much or too little which may lead to upset of the stomach Effects of stress on your mood

  • Anxiety: Anyone who is stressed will always be anxious. The anxiety is caused by constant worry about whatever it is that is stressing you out

  • Restlessness: When you are anxious and worried, you will automatically experience restlessness because you will not be able to stay calm and settled * Irritability or anger-stress has an adverse effect on anger. When you are stressed you become angry easily and all the time and possibly stay angry because you are not able to control your emotions

  • Sadness and depression: Stress makes people sad and depressed until they are able to deal with whatever is stressing them

  • Lack of focus or motivation: When you are stressed, you focus more on the stress than any other thing you are doing and you lack motivation to deal with any other thing Effects of stress on your behaviour

  • Overeating and under eating: Stress comes with either an elevated or decreased appetite which may lead to obesity, diabetes or malnutrition

  • Angry outbursts: These results from constant irritability and anger. A stressed individual can use the Ehic card to get help from an anger management professional if the outbursts are too much and affecting your job or relationships with other people.

  • Social withdrawal: Someone stressed always wants to be alone and away from everyone else to avoid talking and possible outburst.

  • Drug, alcohol or tobacco use: A stressed person will resolve to using drugs, drinking too much or smoking a lot as a distraction of the stress. An Ehic card can also be used to go to a rehab and get professional help if you feel that you are addicted.

This article has been kindly supplied by Hannah Brooklyn.

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Six Top Stress Management Apps

Technology in the healthcare industry is constantly expanding, creating innovative new avenues for everyone from patients to healthcare workers and doctors, as well as the average person concerned about their health, in the process. Apps, which can be used on cell phones, tablets, PCs and more, are a perfect example of how the revolution in mobile computing is helping people everywhere take more direct control over their health.

 For the most part, technology has increased communication between patients and doctors for the better, and “there is a vast array of benefits like real-time monitoring of conditions and potential crowdsourcing of data to provide better analysis,” according to HealthITjobs.com. That said, “a lot of health based mobile apps are not necessarily secure and HIPPA-compliant so patients need to be cautious” about how they use medical apps, and make sure they aren’t sharing more than they want to.

 One health condition that many are successfully using apps to help manage is stress. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, unmanaged stress symptoms “can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior,” and can lead to some serious repercussions, including increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, drug and alcohol abuse, and more. Luckily with the increasing amount of apps available to assist with stress management, it’s easier than ever for tech-savvy smartphone users keep their stress levels at a minimum.

 Here are six top apps that can work wonders at managing stress:

 Zen Space – This app is available through iTunes and although it is free, it would certainly be worth paying for. Zen Space is highly-rated by users, and for good reason. This very useful app enables users to create their own “Space of Tranquility,” which entails drawing paths with various rakes, in addition to many other stress busting activities.

 Buddha Board – This is another popular app that is available through iTunes. Buddha Board encourages users to master the art of “letting go” by allowing them to design a picture that will slowly disappear after a few minutes. Once the picture disappears, the screen goes blank, and the user’s mind will hopefully go blank as well.

 Breath2Relax – This particular app is a stress management tool that teaches the user to utilize diaphragmatic exercises in order to lower stress levels. These exercises can also be used to stabilize mood as well as manage anger. The app includes state-of-the-art animations, narratives, graphics and also videos, intended to completely engage the user, while inducing relaxation simultaneously.

 The app was developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, and was used first by the United States army, “to bring PH and TBI information and skill building to our service members, veterans and their families.”

 Candy Crush – this popular smartphone app is definitely not just for kids. People of all ages are playing this fun game which requires users to match candy in order to “crush” them. Not only is this game addictive, but the 10 million daily players rave about how much this game significantly lowers their stress levels.

 GunZombie Hellgate – For some people, there is no better way to relieve stress than to blow a zombie away with a powerful gun. This app allows you to do just that! It’s available to Android players only, however, but is highly rated. The object of the game is just like any other zombie game: survival. Consumers state how much their stress levels have been lowered after playing this very fun game.

Excessive stress is a huge threat to health, but using some of these effective apps can assist consumers with lowering their stress levels. If one app doesn’t work for a person, then luckily there are many more amazing apps (even beyond this list) that could potentially work wonders to reduce stress levels.

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Stretch Out Your Stress

There are considerable benefits to be gained by stretching, particularly first thing in the morning.

The benefits may not always be obvious but they do include:

  1. A reduction in muscle tension;
  2. Greater flexibility and movement in the joints;
  3. Muscle coordination improves over time;
  4. Blood circulation improves to many parts of the body;
  5. Increased circulation also boosts energy;
  6. The skin looks better as it tightens;
  7. Stress levels are lowered.

You have to admit that this is a very handsome return on investment.

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5 Ways a Californian Motorcycle Trip Alleviates Stress

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us,” an unknown author once said. Voyages big or small can awaken the senses and create new perspectives that help change how we to respond to everyday life. A journey away from home can actually be a quest of self-discovery. On the open road surrounded by nature, a traveler can mitigate stress and disquietude with introspection and reflection.

Travel calms

Head West alone — a solo trek down the Pacific Coast Highway on a motorcycle immerses a soul-searching traveler in the beauty and peacefulness of majestic mountains and breathtaking beaches. Here’s why embracing solitude on a bike down the coast can enhance moods, help manage stress and promote positive outlooks.

Endorphin Release

Endorphins are natural pain and stress fighters, according to MedicineNet.com. Coasting along Cali’s rolling hills and lush valleys boosts these natural feel-good chemicals and produces euphoric feelings. As excitement and pleasurable feelings increase, pain and stress decreases. Compared to driving a car, riding a motorcycle also serves as low-impact exercise that energizes and produces health benefits, from muscle toning to calorie burning. The mind can focus on navigating California Highway 1 and soaking in the unique sites as stress naturally melts away.

Mindful Meditation

Purposeful solitude can cultivate mindfulness, which is “the targeted awareness of the present moment,” says Carolyn Gregoire, a features editor at the Huffington Post. Mindfulness is also a stress antidote that reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Absorb the present moment while feeling the warm ocean breeze of Santa Cruz and watching the carefree surfer way of life. Turn a PCH trek into a meditative adventure free of distractions, yet full of insight and inspiration.

New Passion

You don’t have to be a seasoned motorcyclist or official member of the Harley Owner’s Group to dream of riding down the PCH alone. Even novice adventurers can benefit from the halcyon experience of motorcycle riding. Plus, putting energy and focus into a new passion can even serve as an outlet for letting go of stress and anxiety.

From shopping for motorcycle gear to learning how to ride, owning a motorcycle is simply fun, and having fun settles the head space. Motorcycle riding is more than a hobby, it also can be a passionate ticket to experience life and find relaxation. For Dave Allen of RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel, motorcycles are a life-defining “obsessive passion.” It can be “a step toward healthier levels of self knowledge and self-acceptance,” says Allen.

Friendships & Connections

Connection is a human need. Camaraderie is a natural elixir for stress. We’re a species dependent upon close relationships and shared experiences. Through solo travel, you’re in a special position to meet new people and learn about the idiosyncrasies of small towns and beach villages.

Use curiosity as a guide to find new friendships and live outside your comfort zone. The exhilaration and excitement of embracing unfamiliar life outside of what you’ve always known can eradicate those stressors that once plagued your life’s monotony. A hearty laugh or life-changing conversation may just arm you with a new viewpoint for stress management once you return home.

Leisurely Rejuvenation

From San Francisco to San Diego, it’s just you and your bike underneath forest canopies and alongside beachside cliffs. A getaway moving to a slow cadence can be a cathartic reset button. Travel according to your wants and whims while exploring Big Sur, sightseeing around L.A. or indulging in delicious Monterey fare.

During this adventurous respite, free yourself to find empowerment and restore balance. Give in to the power of traveling alone and see how you adapt to new situations. Your PCH adventure is self-renewal. Back at home, a strong sense of self can respond more healthily to life’s disruptions and provide a more centered state of mind.

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