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  1. 5 Ways to Unwind When Your Only Have a Few Minutes

    April 24, 2018 by Andrea


    You already know how much we believe in self-care and relaxation. It helps reduce stress, which in turn can lessen the occurrence of a crisis and the complications that come with it. But what if you don't have an entire day -- or even an hour -- to devote to such calming techniques? No worries, we're bringing you a whole host of ways to unwind, even if you only have a few minutes.

    1. Treat yourself to a scalp massage.
    When you don't have the time, or the budget, for a full-body massage, grab a scalp massager, and spend five to ten minutes stimulating all those nerve endings on your head. Your brain will receive messages of relaxation and enjoyment, and your well-being will thank you.

    2. Get your cuddles.
    Whether it's with your S.O., your child, or your pet, cuddling is a great way to calm any stressors going on in your life. In fact, cuddling releases oxytocin into your body and can even help lower your blood pressure, making you feel nice and relaxed.

    3. Laugh out loud.
    As the old adage goes, "Laughter is the best medicine." It's more than just an empty platitude, too. Laughing can actually relax your muscles, release endorphins, dismiss feelings of anxiety, and more. So, use your few minutes to watch an amusing meme or video, listen to your favorite funny radio host, or call up a friend who always makes you chuckle.

    4. Bask in the sun.
    Escape the dimness and stress-inducing environment of your workplace by stepping outside for a little while. Just feeling the warmth and light of the sun on your skin can boost your mood for the better.

    5. Listen to some music.
    There's music to match any mood you're feeling or trying to feel, and when your brain hears a certain style of song, it reacts accordingly. For example, a fast one with sharp lyrics can help you address and move on from anger; an upbeat tune can send messages of happiness to your brain; and smooth jazz tracks can elicit feelings of calmness.

  2. Essential Oils: 5 Picks Every Sickle Cell Warrior Should Add to Their Self-Care Routine

    March 13, 2017 by Andrea
    Photo: Honou via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Photo: Honou via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Self-care is important for everyone and especially important for sickle cell warriors, as stress can lead to painful episodes. For millenia, essential oils have been used to combat stress and infuse surroundings with peace and calm. Here are a few to include in your self-care routine:

    1) Mimosa
    This essential oil is known to improve overall well-being, as it has a relaxing effect on both the mind and the body. Place a few drops in your bath water, and indulge in the calming aroma of its sweet, floral scent.

    2) Lemon Verbena
    Not only can this essential oil calm stress and anxiety, it can also help ease pain in the muscles and joints. Add a bit to your favorite massage oil and benefit from less muscle tension and less stress in general.

    3) Rosewood
    Described as having a spicy and sweet floral aroma, this essential oil is known for its ability to help you center yourself, which can, in turn, help calm your overall emotions and stress.

    4) Cypress
    The perfect post-workday remedy, this essential oil helps lift moods and create feelings of positivity. Add a few drops to a warm or cold compress, and place it on your head or anywhere else you're feeling tension.

    5) Vanilla
    Vanilla doesn't have to be relegated to baking only. Its essential oil can also fight off negative feelings and ease stress and anxiety. Place a few drops into a decorative diffuser or oil burner, and enjoy the sweet aroma of relaxation.

    When choosing your essential oils, be sure to select ones that are pure, rather than synthetic -- synthetic oils smell just as good, but do not have any therapeutic benefits. Neal's Yard Remedies, the publishers of Essential Oils, recommends the following methods for choosing quality ones: Check the company's credentials and ensure the botanical name also appears on the label.

    Enjoy this new addition to your self-care regimen and let us know how it works for you in the comments below!

    *Source: Essential Oils: All-natural remedies and recipes for your mind, body, and home

  3. How to Stay Stress-Free and Keep Crises in Check During the Holidays

    December 6, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: The Bloom Beautifully Box/ Design: xickle.com

    Photo: The Bloom Beautifully Box/ Design: xickle.com

    Well, at least as stress-free as possible.

    The holidays can be daunting with work, school, and family, so a tiny bit of tension is bound to happen. It's how you handle it that matters. Whether it's you or someone you know that needs a bit of help de-stressing, we've got the perfect gift round-up to help you relax and release. Check out our picks below:

    The Bloom Beautifully Box, $39 bimonthly
    Founded by self-care expert Tara Pringle Jefferson, this subscription box contains items that fit a different theme every other month. Past themes have included Sleep Well, Freedom, and Spa day, to name a few, and they have been stocked with items, such as sleep masks, tea, a nighttime journal, aromatherapy oil, scented candles, shower bombs, and more! Membership also includes access to a private support group, discounts on the annual self-care retreat, and weekly affirmations right in your inbox.

    Sense with Voice, $149
    For some of us, attempting to sleep in complete silence just does not work. Enter Sense with Voice, a stylish voice-activated sound machine, sleep monitor, and smart alarm all in one.

    Color Therapy: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book, $11
    "Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness," certified art therapist Marygrace Berberian told CNN in an interview earlier this year. So, pick up a new set of markers, and get ready to take advantage of this fun form of meditation and take control of your stress levels.

    Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bar, $12
    Said to "promote inner peace," this LUSH fave will bless your bath time with bubbles galore. Infused with the aromas of frankincense and patchouli, this bar is sure to give you the escape from stress you need.

    Have any stress-relieving gift ideas of your own? Add them in the comments below!

  4. 5 All-Natural, Sickle Cell-Approved Bath and Body Products to Keep You Stress-Free

    October 26, 2016 by Andrea

    It's important for Warriors to manage stress, so painful crises can be avoided. There are many ways to do so -- you can meditate, begin a yoga practice, or soak in a soothing bath. Recreate that spa-like atmosphere in your own home by playing relaxing background music and treating yourself to some holiday-inspired bath bombs. It's the perfect way to warm up from the cold, improve blood flow, and unwind after a long day.

    Check out our round-up of these all-natural bath brands that will help keep your skin hydrated and your mind stress-free.

    1. Foxie Cosmetics
    This completely vegan line's limited-edition Halloween collection is full of fun, fall scents and soothing ingredients. Try the jack-o'-lantern-shaped Chopped in Half bath bomb that will "leave your skin smooth, hydrated and your achy muscles will no longer feel like you've been chopped in half after a long day." Or, grab the Elvira bath bomb, scented with frankincense, myrrh, and orchids. One Warrior commented that Foxie Cosmetics is one of the few products she trusts and uses regularly.


    2. LUSH Cosmetics
    A 100% vegetarian brand, LUSH boasts natural ingredients like balsamic vinegar, frankincense oil, and sandalwood, among many others. Keep holiday stress at bay with one of LUSH's Christmas-inspired products -- the Peeping Santa bubble bar is layered with Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, Fair Trade shea butter, and geranium oil, just to name a few. Or, try the jasmine-scented Mistletoe bath bomb.


    3. Herbivore Botanicals
    Though not specifically holiday-related, Herbivore's coconut milk bath soak is perfect for a relaxing soak any time of year. Plus, the aromatherapy from this soak can help keep stress and anxiety from wreaking havoc: The scent of coconut may numb your fight-or-flight response, and the smell of vanilla is said to help boost mood.



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