5 weird ways to relax

Published January 14 2014

Check out these five ways to add some relaxation to your day — nothing too hard, we promise — and get ready to reap the health benefits that come with kicking back.

Sniff an orange: When you're stressed, your sense of smell actually gets sharper because your body is in survival mode. Put those superhuman powers to use by sniffing some citrus essential oil. In a recent Brazilian study, participants who endured a stressful test felt less anxious when they sniffed orange essential oil for five minutes before the exam. Best of all, the effects followed them throughout the day.

Snack well: Eat your way to relaxation? Count us in. Blueberries are loaded with vitamin C, which helps lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chamomile is also a known anxiety soother.

Make faces: When you feel tense, looking ridiculous can help. Scrunch up your whole face for 15 seconds, release and then repeat to help zap any strain you're inadvertently holding above the neck.

Go for a midday vacay: Just because National Relaxation Day isn't a federal holiday — yet! — doesn't mean you can't take a break. A quick walk around the block or five minutes of meditation can recharge your day almost as well as a stroll down the beach. Oh, and tonight? Don't even think about bringing work home with you.

Change a bulb: A simple swap can help you mellow out, according to research. High-wattage light can raise stress levels, make you hungry and even make you eat faster. Switch normal white light bulbs for blue-enriched light, which decreases fatigue, ups your mood and improves sleep.