Treat yourself to relaxation this summer

You’re a busy, hard-working person who is ready for summer but has a lot to get done before the semester is over with. The stress and tension builds up and you are so caught up in life, final projects and deadlines that you don’t even have time to relax.

A reusable water bottle is great to use and there are specific ones made for infusing. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

A reusable water bottle is great to use and there are specific ones made for infusing. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

Well, with these easy tips and tricks to exfoliate your skin and rejuvenate your energy, now you don’t have to go anywhere to give yourself that relaxation time you deserve. Your dorm or home is filled with the comfort of a spa and the privacy that you need to relax. Home spas are easy, fun and much needed for every hard-working person. These tips will help you de-stress from your busy life.

For your home spa/relaxation day follow these essentials tips:

Hydrate. Many people become tired because they aren’t getting enough sleep and they are not hydrating properly. Water is always a good go-to, but if you want to switch it up there are other simple recipes that can boost your energy levels in a more natural way.

One tip that can be found on Pinterest is to brew green tea (packets available in the dining hall) and put it in ice cube trays. When frozen, put the tea cubes in a glass of water. As the ice melts more tea is diluted in the glass. Green tea has many benefits such as containing antioxidants that can reduce the risk of certain cancers and it also has caffeine so you still get your daily dose but one that is healthier to your body.

You can also make fruit infused water if you have a reusable water bottle. Put in your favorite fruits; ones that work best hold their shape and don’t disintegrate are: lemons, strawberries, blueberries and pineapples, but you can put whatever you want to get the natural juices from those fruits. Using fruits to infuse your water also allows those important antioxidants to boost your metabolism. It is a great way to detox your system and help you feel full so you don’t turn to eating bad food. And you will also feel more aware and energized from consuming water.

An oatmeal mask works better when you take the oats out and use the liquid. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

An oatmeal mask works better when you take the oats out and use the liquid. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

Make an exfoliating face mask. Give yourself a facial to cleanse your pores and soften your skin. There are all kinds of facial masks that you can make; many of them are simply two to three ingredients. Since there are so many options, it depends on what you are in need of.

If you are looking to cleanse your skin and tighten your pores, then a yogurt or oatmeal mask is a good way to go. A specific recipe available on Pinterest is:

Combine 1/2 cup of boiling water and 1/3 cup oatmeal. Let that sit for 2-3 minutes, then mix in 2 tbsp of plain yogurt, 2 tbsp honey and 1 small egg white. Apply a thin layer of the mask on your face and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Oatmeal has many great health benefits because it contains over 18 different amino acids, which from biology we know those are the “building blocks to life.” Oatmeal is a hypoallergenic, soothing skin while it also moisturizes it. And with its gritty texture it will exfoliate and take off the dead skin cells off your face, leaving you feeling refreshed and looking healthier.

If you need a mask that will moisturize your skin, a lemon juice and honey mask is what you want. All you need is half a lemon and 3-4 drops of honey, and gently rub on your face. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then wash off with cold water. Lemons contain AHA and BHA which are acids that help remove dead skin cells and clear up skin. And honey has natural antioxidants and antibacterials that will help your skin heal.

Stretching before bed releases tension and relaxes your body, allowing you to get a good night's sleep. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

Stretching before bed releases tension and relaxes your body, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

Before you choose a mask based on your individual needs, do some quick research to see which one will work best for you. Make your relaxing day all about you and enjoy it!

Do some stress-reducing exercises. Exercises and poses are great way to relieve stress that is built up in your body. There are a lot of exercises that you can do and these are a few that I believe to be essential and the most effective to relieving stress. You can always look up some more specific ones if you need to work the tension out in a specific section of your body. If you’re like me and don’t have time to go to yoga classes or Zumba, then here are some stress-reducing exercises that you can do in your dorm or home without any equipment.

Start by doing some simple stretches. Get your body loose by bending down and touching your toes and stay there for ten seconds. Then spread your legs arms length apart and bend down again. Remain with your hands planted in front of you for ten seconds, then switch to your left side for ten seconds, and then to your right for ten seconds. Then back to the middle for another ten. You can also do some other stretches with your legs if you need to. Take deep breaths. You can do this sitting up in bed or in a chair. This opens up your lungs, letting oxygen in and carbon dioxide out.

While still doing homework, this pose also stretches your back. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

While still doing homework, this pose also stretches your back. Photo courtesy of K.McConnell.

Meditation is a great way to re-center yourself by becoming one with your mind and body. Find a comfortable place where you can sit, preferably on the floor or a straight-backed chair (so you don’t fall asleep). There are a lot of great meditation apps that you can download and follow along with, or you could go more traditional and take in the sounds around you. Allow your thoughts to come and go as they please. There is no specific time limit, you can meditate for a few minutes up to hours; the choice is yours.

One of my personal favorites is to put your feet up against a wall while lying on your back. I like to have a pillow to put under my head to make it more comfortable. You want to make a ninety-degree angle with your legs and body. I have found that closing my eyes and taking deep breaths allows my body to relax and my heart rate slows down. It’s also a good position you can still do work in, like reading or typing if you don’t want to lose time on homework or projects.

A common practice in yoga is to lie flat on your back and close your eyes. You start by relaxing sections of your body, often going from toes all the way up your body. This is a good way to release built up tension you didn’t know you had. This practice will help you find the places in your body where that tension and stress are hiding.

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