We all know how busy life can get, with hectic schedules, kids, work and more, all of which can lead to stress. Stress is the most elusive enemy in the workspace and is a cost for corporations with stress responsible for half of the 550 million working days lost by American workers every year, according to the American Institute of Stress. Failure to address stress can lead to sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, irritability, muscular tension, burn-out, heart attacks, all of which massage can help for lasting feelings of relaxation, lowered stress, reduced inflammation and improved mood. In honor of today being National Relaxation Day, here are a few things one can do to keep stress at a minimum from the experts at Massage Envy.

Exercise: One of the most rewarding occurrences received from working out are endorphins. The body produces endorphins in response to exercise, which leads the body feeling a sense of satisfaction or as some call it “runner’s high.” Essentially, endorphins act as natural painkillers for the body. Putting aside just 30 minutes out of the day to get a short work out in can help the body get the blood flow pumping and eliminate stress and increase relaxation.

Sleep: If sleep is a rarity, try adding a scent of lavender to the bedroom whether it is a candle, incense, spray or even a lavender sachet. Lavender is known to be a calming and relaxing herb normally used to relieve insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Recent studies have found that the scent of lavender increases the amount of time spent in deep sleep. With that, it is also important to remember that a recommended eight hours of sleep should be prioritized.

Foods: Food is an important factor in maintaining low stress levels. Blueberries, like other berries, contain anthocyanins that act as an antioxidant to aid the brain in the production of dopamine which essentially acts as a stress reliever. Dark chocolate is also a powerful source of antioxidants and is good before bed due to the magnesium content it has.

Massage: Massage therapy can lower heart rate and blood pressure while relaxing the muscles as well. Like working out, massages can increase the production of endorphins as well. Serotonin and dopamine are additional chemicals that are released through massage, which relieves stress and leaves you feeling relaxed. Massage provides instant stress relief, leading to an improved state of mind and a healthier lifestyle.