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Pamper Yourself (and Reduce Stress) for Less

Pamper Yourself (and Reduce Stress) for Less

With the holidays quickly approaching it’s common for many consumers to begin stressing over money, travel and family issues. Luckily, today kicks off Spa Week, the annual event where local and national spa companies offer $50 deals on massages, facials and other treatments. While this is a great time to get pampered and de-stress for less, it also reminds us about the importance of overall wellness, and how small adjustments to your lifestyle can make a big impact on your physical and mental health.

Cultivating wellness within our own lives goes beyond the occasional massage; it can be as easy as attending a yoga class, listening to music or taking a long, hot soak in the bathtub. You also don’t need the royal (and expensive) treatment to reap the benefits. Here are several budget-friendly tips for pampering yourself and fending off stress to enjoy the holiday season and beyond.

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1. Be a guinea pig.
Massage therapy requires certified professionals to administer specific techniques that help tight muscles release. This certification requires training my massage therapy schools, and budding masseuses require students on which to practice their budding skills. Research the massage therapy schools and training programs in your area and sign up to be a guinea pig. This is an inexpensive way to get a massage and help someone hone their skills.

2. Look for coupons.
Introductory offers are plentiful among salon outlets, but they only last one session. Look for other means of money-savings through coupons, daily deals and promotional newsletters. For example, you can find coupon codes to SpaFinder through deal sites like CouponSherpa.com, or save big bucks on a chiropractic-massage session through Groupon. Additionally, signing up for newsletters from local spas can yield new member discounts.

3. Find free yoga.
The deep stretching offered by yoga helps alleviate tight muscles and reduces the need for frequent massages. If you suffer from back pain or other muscle-related discomfort, consider a consistent yoga practice to treat your tightness. Most yoga studios offer a free day or even a free week’s worth of classes so you can find instructors and styles that meet your needs. Free yoga classes are also offered by businesses like Lululemon, or by studios who also train yoga teachers and need students as part of the certification program.

4. Turn up the tunes.
Listening to music can be an incredibly healing practice, especially when we’re stressed. According to PsychCentral, music can help slow down our pulse and heart rate, lower our blood pressure and reduce the level of stress hormones in our bodies. This is especially true of slow, classical music, but listening (and singing along) to your favorite tunes in the car can also be a stress-relieving practice. Get started listening to Pandora or Spotify while you get ready in the morning, or while you prepare dinner.

5. Design a sleep haven.
A recent article in TIME suggests sleep is “more powerful than any drug in its ability to restore and rejuvenate the human brain and body.” Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 to 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping. To get your sleeping patterns on track, design your bedroom as a sleep haven. Subtle adjustments like dimmed lighting, soothing colors and an overall lack of clutter can do wonders in helping you catch some much-need Zzs.

6. Clean your sheets.
Since we’ve determined sleep is a major contributor to our overall health and wellness, keeping your bed in tip-top shape should be a priority. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, over 70 percent of those surveyed admitted to sleeping better on clean sheets. Also, as tempting as it may be to invite Fido or Whiskers onto your bed at night, avoid sleeping with pets. Doing so not only disrupts your sleep patterns but may require more frequent sheet cleaning, as animals have all kinds of nasty things on their paws!

7. Take a bath.
Nothing wards off a chill quite like a hot bath. According to scientific research, daily dips in your bathtub every day for eight weeks is better at reducing anxiety than a prescription drug. Plus, adding oatmeal to your bath can help treat dry skin; essential oils can boost brain function, reduce stress and clear nasal passages; and epsom salt can alleviate sore muscles, treat small wounds and even fight minor illness. What better reason to draw a hot bath tonight?

8. Start stretching.
If yoga is too much of a time or physical commitment, a simple stretching routine can go a long way in reducing stress and chronic pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching “increases blood flow to the muscle,” aids in circulation, and releases tension is areas that tend to become knotted during periods of stress, like the neck and shoulders. To get started, pick up inexpensive resistance bands from Target or Walmart, and check out this list of stretching essentials to ensure you’re getting the most out of your routine.

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