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Marie’s Favorite Things for Relaxing

Slipper sock covered feet relaxing in front of candles.

This time of year is always a little hectic, and this year is no different. There are many techniques to help relieve stress and tension. Today I share my favorite things for relaxing.

Give it a good soak

I’m a big fan of Epsom salts. They’re cheap and they pull toxins out. They help relax muscles and may even help relieve pain. You can relax in a warm tub or foot bath with unscented salts, or even treat yourself to a variety of scents. I love the lavender. Dr. Teal has a good one.

Get a good night’s sleep

Yes, I know that’s easier said than done! However, science has shown several benefits of blocking out the light, most notably better quality of sleep.

We recently bought blackout drapes for a very reasonable price. My husband and I find that we sleep better with the blackout drapes. Additionally, reports say they “reduce energy costs by cutting the amount of sunlight and UV rays that enters the room. In addition, they protect furniture and floors from sun damage and fading, which makes these high-cost products more durable.”

When I worked nights at the hospital, I often used eye masks. I still use them because I sleep better when I use them. Blackout masks with comfort cushions work better than the flimsy ones my mother always used. A member of my staff’s husband often works nights and finds these eye masks to be very helpful when sleeping during daylight. In addition, they may possibly help with insomnia and prevention of dry eyes. 

In his book, Rest, Dr. Alex Pang encourages naps. Use an eye mask like this Manta mask which may make that 20-minute nap just what you need to feel refreshed and relaxed.

Take care of your feet

We spend so much of our days on our feet, and they often get neglected. Nerves have to end somewhere, and your feet are exactly where they stop. Massaging your feet with reflexology or rollers can release tension and help you relax. One of my favorite things for relaxing is the Moji Foot Pro massager. I received this as a gift and now this handy gadget always sits under my desk.

There are also fancier, automatic foot massagers that could provide relief. (I own one!) Simply put your feet on the roller for a foot massage on pressure points to relieve tension. A good foot massage is one of the best things for relaxing.

Take a breath

Using a diffuser with particular scents can be a great thing to relax. One of my favorites is bergamot. Bergamot oil is a citrus oil that helps with relaxation and stress release. Read about this and other essential oils that help anxiety from expert Dr. Josh Axe.

I also use lavender to relax before bedtime. However, it should be used in a personal vaporizer or nasal inhaler rather than a diffuser if you have young children in your home.

As always, be aware of the cautions in the use of essential oils.

The pranayama app can be very effective

It seems these days there is an app for everything. One of my favorite things for relaxing is just that — an app. I use the Pranayama app on a fairly regular basis.

The ancient technique of pranayama is highly effective. Like most natural remedies, it doesn’t work immediately. I had to use it every day for about 2-3 weeks before it was effective.

The app helps you to do the breathing techniques correctly because you hear the music and chimes. It’s available in both a free and paid version.


If I could pick only one technique to reduce anxiety, it would be hypnosis. I use self-hypnosis before teaching a course, taking an exam, and before or after any stressful event. And yes, I do use hypnosis if I know I’m going to a loud holiday party.

Music to my ears

Don’t underestimate the power of music. Turning on something soothing can help reduce anxiety and have a therapeutic effect. Maybe your relaxation sound is nature sounds like birds chirping or a bubbling brook. Thing about what sounds calm you and turn them on!

What are your favorite things for relaxing? Do you have a favorite device, technique, or method? I’d love to hear your tried-and-true techniques!

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