How to Ease the Effects of Stress in the Comfort of Your Home
Here’s how to turn your living space into a tranquil wellness spa with aromatherapy, steam showers, and other calming amenities.
Sometimes it seems that the world is one big pressure cooker. The challenges of everyday life—your commute, your job, financial pressures, the incessant interruptions from your smartphone, the constant drum of negative news stories—are creating record levels of stress.
It’s a national epidemic. The statistics themselves are stress-inducing. According to a Gallup poll, “79% of Americans feel stress sometimes or frequently each day.” Women more than men suffer from stress, and those aged 18-49 years are more likely to be impacted by stress than any other age group.
These statistics shouldn’t be taken lightly. The American Psychological Association (APA) calls stress a major health problem in the country, and the American Institute of Stress reports that 77% of Americans “regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress.” A survey by Everyday Health found that almost one-third of respondents say they visited a doctor about something stress-related.
This reminds us that stress is more than a mental-health problem. It has real physical manifestations. Stress affects the endocrine system by increasing cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone. An overload of cortisol can create a number of problems, including weight gain, heart disease, cognitive dysfunction, digestive problems, among other dangers. It’s no wonder the Mayo Clinic warns that “chronic stress puts your health at risk.”
All of this anxiety has a price tag, too. According to the APA, stress costs Americans $300 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity.
So how do you handle stress? You can’t turn off the world. You can’t change what happens outside of your control. But you can find ways to manage the stress of everyday life.
Many find that the most effective stress-management techniques begin at home. Creating a tranquil safe place that will relax and revive you can change your life. The best way to accomplish this is by turning your home into a wellness oasis, complete with spa-like accouterments like aromatherapy and steam showers. You need a stress-free retreat that’s accessible to you every day.
10 Ways to De-Stress Your Home
Before we get to how you can construct your own wellness spa, let’s look at all the other ways you can reduce stress once you leave the outside world behind you. No matter what type of residence you live in—house, apartment, condo, townhouse—you need to exert control over your environment. Even if you have a family or roommates who demand attention from you, there’s a lot you can do to manage your stress. Let’s look at 10 of them.
1) Know your triggers—and avoid them. Most of us know what creates anxiety. For instance, if the news stresses you out, turn it off. If communicating with a certain person creates turmoil for you, take a break from them. It may help to write down things that have a tendency to create anxiety. The more you understand what affects you, the better you can avoid them.
2) Limit your Internet browsing and social media. According to research, using social media can increase stress and feelings of isolation. Social media has also been associated with poor sleep quality and increased addiction to using the Internet (via the dopamine-reward-loop syndrome), according to Pew Research. While maintaining social connections can be healthy, there’s a limit to its effectiveness through the prism of Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. Put them in their place.
3) Do light exercise or yoga. Multiple studies have proven that regular physical activity can reduce oxidative stress. Aerobic exercise has been shown to help reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress, according to one study. Yoga, in particular, is an efficient stress-management technique. As the Mayo Clinic points out, yoga’s discipline of static poses, controlled breathing, and meditative contemplation all can help manage stress and other chronic health conditions. And you don’t have to be an expert. Many “yoga for beginners” guides are available online.
4) Meditate. Much like exercise, meditation can help reduce anxiety and mental stress, say health experts at Harvard. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation has been linked to reduction of chronic pain and mental stress. As with yoga, many resources for learning meditation are plentiful online.
5) Try aromatherapy. Using essential oils like lavender and peppermint may help alter brain waves and reduce stress, according to research. The Cleveland Clinic recommends using a diffuser to get your calming dose of aromatherapy. This method also allows you to combine scents for an even stronger effect.
6) Listen to soothing music. A range of research studies have shown that music can help reduce stress in everybody from infants to surgical patients. One study from the Journal of Music Therapy found that playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major reduced anxiety and systolic blood pressure in healthy males and females. Of course, not everybody reacts to the same music composition in the same way, but everyone knows what they like and how music affects them. Identify your favorite calming tunes and create a serenity playlist for those moments you need to relax.
7) Keep a daily gratitude journal. Some people find it corny, but it actually helps you to gain a greater appreciation for everyday life by writing down what makes you grateful. And, yes, there’s a study for that. After separating subjects into two groups, a group who kept a “gratitude journal” and the other a “hassle journal” of grievances, those who received the gratitude intervention experienced “a decline in stress and depressive symptoms over time.”
8) Read a book. A study from the University of Sussex found that reading can help lower heart rate and, yes, reduce stress. What should you read? Like music, that’s up to you. A humorous book may be your best choice to chase your anxieties away. Laughter is great medicine and that’s no joke, according to health experts. The act of laughing can “activate and relieve your stress response,” says the Mayo Clinic.
9) Create a bathroom bliss zone. This stress-management solution, which includes a steam room (see below), may be your best bet for serenity and calmness. Why? The bathroom is truly your retreat from everything and everybody. It’s your alone time. When you create a bathroom bliss zone, your immersing yourself in a world of your total control. It’s “me time” in an environment of healing and relaxation.
With advances in technology and home construction, it has become affordable to create a home spa in your residential bathroom. Working with experts like MrSteam, you can choose fixtures and features that promote health and help reduce stress. Everything from using paint with low toxicity, shower heads that massage your body with soothing pulses of water, and other innovations can all contribute to this tranquil environment.
But what really brings the spa to your home is a steam room.
10) Take a steam bath. A steam shower is the feature that truly takes your stress management to the next level. According to Medical News Today, a session in a steam room can help increase endorphins, a hormone associated with improved mood. Endorphins are also responsible for what’s called “the runner’s high.” Steam therapy can also help reduce cortisol, the main culprit in stress-related harm to mental and physical health.
The Magic of Home Steam Therapy
That’s not all steam can do for you. The beneficial effects of intermittent hyperthermia have been associated with helping to improve a number of health markers, including blood pressure, cognitive function, sleep quality, skin integrity, respiratory health, and others. But the most intuitive benefit of using a steam room is its ability to help induce a feeling of calmness and serenity. In fact, one study found that heat therapy can help increase serotonin, the neurochemical that heavily influences mood and is a target of many prescription medications to treat depression.
But most people don’t need a scientist to tell them that a steam bath is a balm for the soul. And with the right home installation, you can increase the stress-reducing benefits of steam therapy by combining other therapies to produce an even more potent influence on overall wellness.
MrSteam offers a diffuser for essential oils called AromaSteam that can be added to your steam room. The company even has a proprietary blend of aromatherapy scents called Chakra Oils that’s designed to help reduce stress.
MrSteam also offers MusicTherapy and ChromaTherapy attachments for steam showers. As discussed earlier, music is a proven stress-buster, and light therapy, especially blue light, has been shown in research to help regulate neurochemicals that affect mood.
Combining steam therapy with these added benefits creates a powerful stress reduction tool. With these options available in your bathroom oasis on a daily basis, you have a much better chance of not becoming one of the nearly 80% of Americans who are victims of chronic stress.
Here’s another fact that will reduce your stress: having a home steam room is much more realistic than you may think. Simply visit MrSteam’s website, and check out a few case studies. We bet you’ll find one that you can relate to.
It doesn’t matter what type of residence you live in. If you have a bathroom, you can have a steam shower installed. Simply visit a dealer showroom and see how easy it is to create a wellness retreat in your home.