woman drinking tea next to window

De-Stress for the Weekend

Have you had a particularly busy and stressful week?

Here are some tried-and-tested ways for you to de-stress for the weekend, so that you can really relax, unwind, and enjoy your time off.

Why is it Important to De-Stress?

Before you try to de-stress, it is important to understand why this is important, as this will give you the extra motivation needed to really make an effort.

Each time you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which helps to trigger the fight or flight response in the human body. In ancient times, this would help humans escape from dangerous predators and other fatal situations.

effects of cortisol

However, in today’s world, stress can be caused by so many different factors, from a traffic jam to a late night at work. Your body cannot differentiate between how serious the stressor is, so will always release cortisol.

While this is not too harmful in the short term, it can really be damaging in the long run.

How?

Here are just a few of the physical and mental health problems that stress can cause:

  • Hypertension and headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Acne and other skin issues
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions, such as asthma, eczema and irritable bowel syndrome

While it may be difficult to control how often you feel stressed, there are, thankfully, a number of ways in which you can de-stress your body quite quickly.

Take a Deep Breath

The very first thing that you should do when you begin to feel stressed is focus on your breathing.

Why?

Because even just taking a few deep breaths will give your body an extra boost of oxygen, which will quickly help to relieve stress and tension.

On the other hand, shallow breathing, which people often do when they are stressed, does the opposite, and stimulates the nervous system, making you feel even worse.

In addition to taking a few deep breaths, you can push this even further and try out a couple of breathing exercises.

While these may seem futile, several clinical studies have proven that breathing exercises can help to do everything from reducing blood pressure to preventing damage caused by stress.

Go For a Walk

One of the best ways to relieve your body of stress is to get it moving.

This can be in the form of any sort of exercise, but walking tends to be the easiest to do when you want to de-stress quickly.

How does it work?

Well, when you take a brisk walk, your body releases several neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin and GABA. These then improve your mood, as well as your overall sense of well-being.

In addition to this, exercise also helps to increase blood flow to the brain, which is another way in which it relieves stress.

Don’t have much time for a walk?

All you need is 15 minutes, as this is enough for you to experience some of the immediate benefits that exercise can bring. Of course, if you can spare a bit more time, then that will be even more beneficial.

Do Some Forest-Bathing

There is so much research out there to prove how forest-bathing can significantly reduce stress.

happy woman walking in the forest

No idea what this is?

Forest-bathing simply refers to spending some time in a forested area, and has been a trend in Japan for a while.

Why?

Because studies have shown that spending time in a forest will leave you with lowered cortisol levels, as well as lowered blood pressure. 

Buy a Few House Plants

While you may not be able to spend time in a forest every day, house plants are a great way to ensure that you have some contact with plants on a daily basis.

Just being around them can help to induce your relaxation response, so try incorporating a few around your home.

There are even some house plants that are known for their de-stressing benefits…

Here are a few:

  • Lavender – its scent helps to slow down heart rate, and lower blood pressure and stress levels
  • Jasmine – will help you to feel less anxious and more peaceful, while inducing sleep
  • Rosemary – purifies the air while reducing stress and anxiety
  • Aloe Vera – cleanses the air of certain toxins while treating symptoms of anxiety
  • Snake Plant – improves energy levels while treating stress-induced headaches

A Good Night’s Sleep

There is an increasing number of studies out there that point to the connection between regular, quality sleep and the ability to overcome stress.

A good night’s sleep helps your mind and body to repair and restore itself, resulting in a number of different benefits:

  • Lowered stress levels
  • Better emotional regulation
  • Stronger immune system
  • Decreased risk of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease

Feeling too stressed to get to sleep? 

Try to create a relaxing environment in your bedroom, with the use of candles, essential oils and soft music. There are also many breathing techniques out there that could have you fast asleep in no time at all.

Have a Laugh

The idea of laughing when you are feeling immensely stressed may seem a little far-fetched, but even faking a few laughs can have an impact, really making you feel so much better.

How?

Laughing has been proven to have the ability to decrease the amount of cortisol in the body, while also reducing inflammation within arteries.

Pucker Up

Don’t feel like laughing?

Try kissing instead.

couple kissing

Studies have shown that this works well for women in particular, as kissing that special someone on the lips triggers the brain to release endorphins.

The kiss does not need to be sexually arousing, but should be a deep and emotional one. Aim for at least one ten-second kiss a day to keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Eat a Meal Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Stress and food are closely connected, which is why many people often reach for junk food to comfort them in times of stress.

However, the excess sugar, salt and other unhealthy ingredients will only make you feel worse in the long run.

Want to know what to eat to make you feel better?

Food containing omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids prevent the body from producing too much cortisol, which will stop you from feeling so stressed. It also triggers the release of a hormone called DHEA, which is known for being able to combat stress, doubling the effects that omega-3 fatty acids can have.

So, which foods do you need to eat?

Here are some of the foods that are richest in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Herring
  • Flaxseeds
  • Egg yolk

Chew Some Gum

Can chewing gum really help you to de-stress?

Science says yes, and while it may not help during times of extreme stress, it will definitely make a difference if you are experiencing mild to moderate stress.

Studies have shown that chewing some gum can reduce the amount of cortisol in the body by 16% during mild stress, and 12% during moderate stress.

While this may seem too good to be true, it is definitely a method worth trying!

Listen to Some Music

Music has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, so spending some time listening to a few tunes could really help you to de-stress before the weekend.

woman dancing to music

Not sure what to listen to?

Give classical a try for maximum benefits, as this has been shown to slow down the heart rate, decrease cortisol levels, and lower blood pressure.

However, just about any sort of music will still trigger your brain to release plenty of neurochemicals, such as dopamine, which will have you feeling great.

Don’t have any music at hand?

Make your own! Even humming to yourself can help to lower stress, so don’t be afraid to sing a few songs aloud.

Unplug

If you are someone that tends to be glued to your smartphone, then you should know that these have been linked to heightened stress levels. There are so many other ways in which the modern world over-stimulates the mind, leading to an increased stress response.

The best way to take some time out from all of this is to unplug. Turn off your phone and your computer, and spend some time in an environment where there are no electronic distractions. Whether you create a small haven at home, or head to the beach to spend the day with the sun, sand and sea, unplugging can really help to re-balance your mind.

Play a Video Game

While electronics do often contribute to an increase in stress levels, they can also help to reduce them.

One example of this is with video games, which decrease stress and improve the mood.

How?

By absorbing your mind in the game that you are playing, which provides the perfect distraction to give your nervous system some time to calm down.

However, the type of game that you choose is key…

Violent games should always be avoided, while the most beneficial games tend to be puzzle games.

Write It Down

There is no denying that journaling is a great way to reduce stress, but there are several different theories as to why this is.

Whatever the reason may be, writing about stressful events or moments will help you to process them so much better. On the other hand, if you choose to ignore what you are feeling, this will only heighten your body’s stress response.

Journaling also enables you to take a look at your stressors from a different perspective, giving you the chance to observe how you can improve things in the future.

You do not need to spend long writing, as just a few minutes may be all you need. Try to do this every day, so that you get into the habit of it and it soon becomes second nature.

Eat a Banana

While eating a banana may not help during times of extreme stress, this is definitely a clever trick to try if you are experiencing mild stress.

How does it work?

Well, during times of stress, blood pressure rises. Bananas are packed with potassium, which can quickly regulate blood pressure.

Bananas also provide the body with the energy needed to rise above a stressful situation, while protecting the body from some of the negative effects that stress, and cortisol, can have, from a stroke to a heart attack to depression.

Learn a Craft

The majority of crafts out there tend to make use of repetitive motions, and these are known to be extremely meditative, relieving stress and reducing anxiety.

Knitting is a great example of this, as it features so many repetitive motions.

knitting red jumper

Not a fan of knitting?

Try cross-stitch instead, or have a go at making your own jewelry.

Spend Time With Friends

There are a few studies out there that show that spending time with a close friend can really help to decrease cortisol levels in the body.

Don’t have any friends nearby?

Give man’s best friend a try instead. Dogs are known for being able to lower stress levels and increase happiness. Even if you do not have a dog of your own, or know anyone that has a dog, you can still head over to your local animal shelter and spend a few hours volunteering with all of the dogs that live there.

De-Clutter

Surrounding yourself with masses of clutter is only going to make you feel stressed so much easier.

De-cluttering can seem like an intimidating task, but, by taking it one small step at a time, you will soon accomplish all you need to.

Begin with a small part of your home, such as a drawer, throwing out what you do not need and then re-organizing what remains.

Each day, or even each week, tackle a new part of your house, until your whole home has been de-cluttered.

 

woman with hat outdoors

Skin Care Tips for Weekend Travel

No matter where you may be heading to over the weekend, you need to ensure that you do not neglect your skin. From on-the-go hydration to the secret behind fresh, de-puffed eyes, here are some skin care tips to keep in mind whenever you are spending the weekend away.

Prepare Your Skin the Night Before

While you may already have plenty of last-minute tasks to do the night before you travel, you need to make your skin a priority at this time.

Giving it some extra care and nourishment before you set off will help you to maintain a healthy complexion while you are away.

Wondering what you need to do?

Begin by exfoliating, following this up with a nourishing face mask.

woman relaxing in bath with a face mask

You should also pay attention to the food that you eat before travelling. Snacking on junk food right up until you leave the house will only mean that your skin will suffer on your journey.

Instead, make sure that your pre-travel meals contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some nuts, seeds or oily fish so that you are consuming enough essential fatty acids, as these are key when it comes to skin health.

Don’t forget about hydration either…

If possible, try to drink as much extra water as you can the day before, especially if you know that you will likely forget to continuously hydrate while you are away.

On-the-Go Hydration

The stress of travelling can often take its toll on your skin, leaving it looking and feeling dull and flat.

Hydrating mists are a great way to perk your skin up, and there are a few different ways in which you can use them:

  • Spray it on top of your makeup to freshen up your look
  • Spray it on your skin before applying moisturizer, so that the moisturizer locks in the extra moisture
  • Spray it on your face as soon as you are done applying your makeup, as this will help your makeup to set

Generally, you will find two types of facial mists available…

The first type is usually made from mineral water, and while the simplicity of these is great, you do need to always follow this up with a layer of moisturizer.

Why?

Because if you don’t, the dry air around you will only end up sucking all of that extra moisture away from your skin, leaving it even drier than it was to begin with.

Alternatively, you could opt for one of the more advanced facial mist formulas. The difference here is that they contain additional hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin and botanicals.

Quickly De-Puff Your Eyes

Everybody wants bright, vibrant eyes when they are heading away for a weekend, but, whether due to the stress of planning or the chaos of travel, the eyes can often end up looking tired and puffy.

There are a few different ways in which you can soothe and de-puff your eyes, depending on where you are and what you have available to you:

  • A Cold Metal Spoon – place a spoon in the fridge for a 15 minutes before holding the rounded end against your eyes. The cold temperature will help to constrict your blood vessels and minimize any puffiness.
  • Ice Cubes Wrapped in Cloth when travelling, ice cubes are usually easier to find than a cold metal spoon, so this is another great alternative. Make sure that you wrap the cubes in cloth before holding them against your eyes, otherwise they will be too harsh against your bare skin.
  • Cucumber Slicescucumber slices on the eyes are a go-to method for de-puffing, with the antioxidants in cucumbers giving your skin an extra boost at the same time
  • Refrigerated Eye Cream if you have access to a fridge, then, in addition to placing a spoon in there, you should also use it to store your eye cream. The colder temperature of the cream when applied around your eyes will do wonders for any puffiness. 

Keep Those Lips Soft and Smooth

You will have enough on your mind when travelling that you really do not want to have to worry about your lips too.

While it may be tempting to swipe on some long-lasting lipstick for the journey, this is something that you should refrain from doing

Why?

These formulas tend to be quite drying on the lips, and will only leave them parched and chapped by the time you reach your destination.

Instead, opt for a couple of layers of a lip stain, topping this off with some medicated lip balm, as this will not disrupt your lipstick.

If you have quite a long journey, a lip treatment may be a good idea, especially if you are already planning on using a face mask while you travel.

Blot the Oil Away

If you have oily skin, then this is something that you will want to keep under control during your weekend away.

Oil blotting sheets are great for this, as these sheets can be dabbed against the skin for a few seconds, during which they will soak up any excess oil.

woman using oil blotting paper

Of course, for skin that is extremely oily, you may end up going through quite a few oil blotting sheets, so it is always worth having an extra weapon in your arsenal, such as an oil-absorbing primer.

Don’t forget…

You can also use oil blotting sheets to help set your makeup, as these will absorb any excess oil from the products that you have used, helping them to last for longer.

Shopping for Samples

Trying to pack as lightly as possible for your weekend away?

Then you will probably not want to bring all of your regular-sized skin care products.

To get around this, many people end up stocking up on sample-sized products, and using these while travelling instead. While there is no denying that this can be extremely convenient, you will need to ensure that you are not using any new products while you are away.

Instead, try to find sample-sized products of the items that you already use, as this will prevent your skin from reacting to anything new while you are travelling.

Can’t find any samples?

Another option is to purchase empty travel-sized containers, and then fill these with your creams and other skin care products.

Clean Hands, Clean Face

If you are someone that always seems to be touching their face without realizing it, then you need to make sure that your hands are always as clean as possible.

For those of you who have access to a sink, wash your hands as much as you can while you are away.

Alternatively, an antibacterial hand gel can be carried with you everywhere you go, and applied frequently throughout the day.

Whether you wash your hands or use a hand gel, it is important to follow this up with a layer of hand cream, as this will prevent your skin from drying out.

Don’t want to bring your hand cream with you?

There is nothing wrong with using your standard face moisturizer for this, especially if it is only going to be for a couple of days.

Shaving Cream Alternatives

You may want to keep your legs soft and smooth throughout the weekend, but shaving cream can be quite a bulky item to include in your luggage, especially since you will only be using it once or twice.

Fortunately, there are a few alternatives that you can use:

  • Hair Conditioner one of the cheapest and most effective shaving cream alternatives
  • Raw Honey while this may seem quite thick when you apply it to your legs, it rinses off easily with water, and will moisturize your skin at the same time
  • Body Lotion wait until your shower has turned steamy before applying body lotion to your legs, as this will enable your pores to open, meaning that the lotion will be able to penetrate through your skin much better
  • Coconut Oilthanks to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, coconut oil is great for preventing razor burn
  • Shea Butter softens the hair, making it easier to shave, while moisturizing the skin at the same time

Swipe On Some Red Lipstick

Although it is best to avoid lipstick while you are actually on the move, once you reach your weekend destination, a swipe of red across the lips is one of the best ways to brighten up your look.

woman applying red lipstick

This will instantly make your complexion appear more revitalized, while your teeth will look whiter and your smile will look bigger.

Don’t like lips that are too red during the day?

Simply swipe on a single coat and then blot this down with some tissue, as this will turn your bolder lipstick shade into a subtler lip stain.

Tailor Your Skin Care to Your Destination

Even though you may only be going away for a couple of days, you do need to think about how your destination is going to affect your skin.

For example, heading to somewhere hot and sunny means that you will need to pack hydrating, and sun protecting, products, whereas somewhere cold and windy would require an extra rich moisturizer to protect your skin from the environment.

Make the Most of Your Bronzer

Trying to decide in advance which makeup looks you want to go for over the weekend can be difficult, and you may end up packing a huge back full of cosmetics.

Instead of doing this, try to make use of multi-functional products, such as a bronzer. This one item is all you need to create a flawless evening look.

Wondering how?

To begin with, use a large brush to dust the bronzer along your nose, jawline, cheekbones and temple, giving your complexion a gorgeous glow. Then, sweep some of this along your eyelids, to act as an eyeshadow, before using your finger to dab some along your lower lash line. Finish the look with a brown eyeliner, as this will beautifully complement the shades of bronze around your face.

On-the-Go Face Masks

Applying a face mask while travelling on a plane, train, or even a car, has become all the rage recently, with many celebrities pushing this trend forward.

However, this is not just a silly fad…

Face masks are a great way to nourish your skin on a deeper level, and by using one while you are travelling, you will be able to ensure that your complexion is radiant and glowing upon arrival.

Can’t decide which type of mask to go for?

Here are a few options:

  • Sheet Masks Just about every brand has their own sheet mask now, because these masks deliver intense doses of active ingredients, while the actual sheet helps to ensure that they go nowhere else but into your skin. The downside to sheet masks is that they are quite noticeable, especially if you are in public.

woman applying sheet mask

  • Cream Masks These are incredibly nourishing, making them great for travelling. They come in a cream-like formula, and can be applied in a similar way to moisturizer, with the only difference being that they are left on for around 30 minutes.
  • Hydrogel Masks These are relatively new masks that are extremely popular in Korea. They are similar to sheet masks except that they are made from a thin gel, which gives them a greater ability to lock in moisture.

Don’t Stress

If you have extremely problematic skin, you may end up stressing quite a bit about how it is going to react to your weekend away.

This is something that you should really try to prevent, as the extra stress will not do your skin any good. Instead, the cortisol that will be running through your body will lead to blemishes, breakouts and more, which is not something that you want to deal with while travelling. 

Have a few stress-management tools on hand, such as a journal, some relaxing music, and maybe a game to take your mind off things.

If you do end up forgetting something important, chances are that you will be able to pick it up from a drug store at your destination. Even if you are heading to somewhere more remote, don’t forget that it is only going to be for a weekend, and you can always give your skin a bit of extra TLC once you return.