We’ve just entered a brand new year, and almost everyone is filled with hope and optimism for the future – except for those of us who are not. And that’s okay. Sometimes, new beginnings and new horizons can be quite scary and intimidating to think about, especially when everyone else around you is basically a walking Pinterest board of motivational quotes. It’s not uncommon for people to feel stressed out, emotionally drained, sad, isolated, or just downright depressed at this time of the year. If you’re feeling this way, know that you are not alone. Seek professional help if you need to – taking care of your mental health is the best gift you could ever give yourself.
To help quell the new year blues, we’ve put together some of our favorite GOFA stress relievers as a guide to help ease and calm the mind. These might not actually take your stresses away, but they will certainly help see you through them.
Take the weight of the world off your shoulders and instead try using a weighted blanket. These are great for when you’re settling in for the night or even just watching a movie on the couch. Inspired by deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets aid in the body’s production of serotonin, which is a mood-boosting hormone, and melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. Research suggests that weighted blankets can also help reduce our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Our favorite weighted blankets come from Brooklinen and are available in a range of great colors.
In the past few years, the use of CBD products has become popular the world over. One of its biggest benefits is undoubtedly the ability that it has to calm users down – something that has been backed by extensive scientific research. At least one study found that CBD had similar effects to imipramine, an antidepressant, on mice. While human trials have yet to be conducted, existing data sheds a positive light on the use of CBD for instilling calmness and reducing anxiety.
Sometimes, the best remedy for stress and tension is an experience. By removing yourself from the challenges facing you, even if it’s just for an hour or two, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to heal and to start feeling just a little bit better. Our top three relaxing experiences are:
- Sensory deprivation tanks: These tanks, like the ones at Just Float are used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST). As you float, your brain will enter a deeply relaxed state, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety.
- Infrared saunas: Saunas aren’t just great for detoxing the body, but the mind too! Research suggests that infrared saunas, like the ones available at Sunlighten, help optimize our brains’ production and reception of natural antidepressants.
- Sound baths: Sounds baths date back to ancient Greek physicians, who believed that the vibrations from musical instruments could cure certain ailments. Modern-day sound baths see participants lie down on the ground while instruments are played to create a meditative experience.
Good mood food
What you eat can also help you combat negative emotions. When you’re feeling a bit stressed, rather than reaching for another bag of brazil nuts instead. These contain ellagic acid, which is good for your brain, as well as selenium, which will help to improve your mood and overall mental performance.
Another good mood food is dark chocolate. Studies have shown that it can help lower anxiety and other symptoms associated with clinical depression as it contains flavonols. Flavonols are a nutrient that helps to improve good moods and cognitive functions, which ultimately counter negative thinking patterns (in short, our dreams are finally coming true: chocolate is good for us!).
We also really love turmeric gummies when we’re feeling a bit stressed out. Curcumin, the reactive compound that gives turmeric its distinctive color, has the potential to improve several health conditions, one of which is depression. To date, research has suggested that it could significantly improve mood and memory function in older people.
Talk about it
Therapy really is beneficial on a number of different levels. If successful, therapy can help you heal from psychological trauma, depression, anxiety, and even general feelings of demotivation.
You might not find the perfect therapist for you right away, but you can certainly get paired with qualified professionals who will help get you to the place you need to be. Online therapy is a fantastic way to connect with therapists who can help you move closer to mental wellness. Our favorite sites for this are BetterHelp and Talkspace.
We’ll be honest with you: when someone first suggested meditation to us, we were anything but enthusiastic about trying it. Sitting in silence and being alone with our thoughts when we were already feeling down sounded like pure torture to us. But it wasn’t that bad. Actually, it was quite good. Taking a moment of stillness through meditation can work wonders on your mental health.
We love following GOFA’s own guided meditations to help us press pause and reset when the world starts to feel a bit topsy-turvy. If you want to loosen up your muscles a little bit, GOFA’s yoga and stretch sessions also work wonders!
On the other hand, if you’d prefer some peace and quiet so that you can reset on your own, we highly recommend digital-free days. Turn your phone, your laptop, and your tablet off and simply be present and in the moment.
Remember to reach out to qualified, professional counselors and therapists if you need to – you deserve to kick the new year off feeling as good as you possibly can!