The Best Online Relaxation Resources
Do the laundry. Pick up the kids from daycare. Get groceries. Buy present for nephew’s birthday. Get oil changed. Book dentist appointment. Reply to those 100 emails in your inbox. This is your to-do list, and as it swims in circles in the back of your brain, you feel your pulse quicken and your teeth clench—you’re stressed.
A little bit about stress…
When we are stressed and our adrenaline kicks into gear, the body releases the hormone cortisol to help regulate the changes that occur in response to that stress. For instance, it helps stabilize our blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Cortisol usually fluctuates throughout the day and night in a nice rhythm, and it’s important that it remain in that nice rhythm. The problem is that with our busy culture, we’re often stressed for long periods of time, and so the cortisol hormone is activated more often than normal, and this can cause negative effects, including:
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Dampened thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances, such as hyperglycemia
- Decreased bone density
- Sleep disruption
- Decreased muscle mass
- Elevated blood pressure
- Lowered immune function
- Slow wound healing
- Increased abdominal fat (cortisol acts on the part of the brain that controls appetite, and makes you want to eat fattier foods)
This is why stress is bad—very bad—and should be managed if you feel it is becoming a constant in your life. Watch this video for a more detailed explanation.
Luckily for us all, we live in a world where we have the resources to manage stress right at our fingertips. There is a plethora of useful de-stresser tools on the internet and your phone, you just have to know where to look. Here are some of our favourite de-stressers:
This website provides both relaxing audio and video to calm your soul. Want to be on a tropical beach right now? Or would you rather be in the mountains? This site has you covered. My favourite option is the “Relaxed cat”, although it made me laugh more than it made me relax!
The benefits of meditation have been scientifically proven time and again, and it’s obvious how this silent stillness can help decrease stress. But if you’re like me, you probably find it difficult to just sit and not think. This app can help with that! Like relax.li, it gives you both visuals and audio to help you relax, but it goes an extra step by guiding you through your meditation to keep your mind focused. From the minute you open the app, and it guides you through a couple of deep breaths, you already feel at ease. It has full on programs to help you get better at meditation, as well as programs to help improve your sleep. I’ve only listened to a couple sessions, but I’m already convinced that this tool would be a great asset in anyone’s stressful life!
Adult Colouring Books
At some point in our busy lives, we stopped colouring. Suddenly we became adults, and it just wasn’t okay to do anymore. Well, I’m happy to announce that not only is colouring okay, but it’s actually all the rage right now! Adult colouring books are selling off the shelves because not only is it a fun thing to do, but it’s actually a great way to relax and put your mind to something other than worry. You can find some free, downloadable pdfs to colour here, or to support the artists take a look at these great examples, including “Color Me Calm” by art therapist Lacy Mucklow.
Can’t get away from the computer screen? There are some other online ways to get your art therapy!
Why not try painting a song (seriously cool)? http://herraizsoto.com/works/2009/labuat/soytuaire/
Or making a beautiful design from digital silk (also very cool)? http://weavesilk.com/
The last relaxation technique that deserves some recognition is known as ASMR, which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Although the science is out on why it happens, it’s essentially a tingling sensation that occurs on your head, scalp and spine, as a response to different auditory cues. Some people claim to feel “tingles” with certain specific triggers, whether it be from a light whisper in their headphones, to a slight tapping on hardwood.
As odd as it might seem to have some stranger whisper in your ear, ASMR has become a popular phenomenon in recent years, which is why you can find hundreds of ASMR channels on Youtube. One of the most popular ASMR Youtube channels is GentleWhispering, hosted by a Russian woman named Maria who has a wide variety of videos to put you at ease.
Hopefully one of these methods proves helpful in your search for inner peace in your busy, hectic life. Just remember, our bodies weren’t meant to function properly under constant stress. For the sake of your health both mentally and physically, make the time to relax. You’ll be glad you did.