August 13, 2021
After the events of 2020, most Americans are in serious need of relaxation. The American Psychological Association says that 80% of people in the U.S. report emotions associated with prolonged stress. In honor of National Relaxation Day on August 15, let’s take a look at some of the more unexpected public companies involved in the relaxation business.
It may sound odd but getting a few houseplants or taking up gardening may be an excellent way to de-stress. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology concluded that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings. With roughly 17% of the market, Home Depot (Tii:HD) is one of the retailers consumers turn to when looking for new plants. The pandemic has resulted in increased spending on gardening and houseplants as consumers spend more time at home and look to beautify their environs. The sector that includes plants and gardening equipment totaled $32.8 billion last year, a 12% increase over 2019.
Green tea is rich in L-theanine, which is shown to reduce stress. As a bonus, when sweetened with honey, drinking tea can reduce inflammation, which is linked to anxiety and depression. Lipton, a Unilever PLC (Tii:UL) brand, is the leading producer of teas in the U.S. With an extensive line of blends that include black, green, herbal, fruit, matcha and benefit-led teas imbibed for their health effects, the company’s tea portfolio is valued at $3 billion. However, Unilever is in the process of either selling its global tea business or spinning it off into a separate standalone company. Another leading tea provider, Celestial Seasonings, specializes in herbal, green, white, chai, and black teas. A subsidiary of The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (Tii:HAIN), Celestial Seasonings maintained double-digit growth in recent months on renewed consumer interest in the health benefits of drinking tea.
Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever, according to the Mayo Clinic. The academic medical center further concluded that being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. With 2,170 locations in 50 states, Planet Fitness Inc. (Tii:PLNT) facilities offer a variety of exercise equipment and group training sessions for every fitness level. The company, which added 700,000 net new members since the end of its first quarter, has marked six consecutive months of net member growth. For those who prefer at-home workouts, Peloton Interactive Inc. (Tii:PTON) and Nautilus Inc. (Tii:NLS) are among the leading providers of home exercise gear.
Watching videos of cute animals is another proven way to reduce stress levels. Researchers from the University of Leeds and Tourism Western Australia found that participants who watched videos of quokkas, known as “the happiest animal on Earth,” saw their blood pressure lower and felt as much as a 50% decline in stress. Since 2005, Alphabet Inc. (Tii:GOOG) subsidiary YouTube has been the go-to source for an endless stream of cute animal videos. YouTube, whose revenues increased 30.4% in 2020 to reach $19.7 billion, has more than 2 billion viewers visiting at least once a month.
Socializing and maintaining strong bonds of friendship is also a proven way to increase happiness and calmness. The Mayo Clinic found that adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). When you combine that information with studies that uncovered certain foods (such as fatty fish, dark chocolate, eggs and others) helps regulate moods, hitting a casual dining spot with friends becomes an excellent way to unwind. Bloomin Brands Inc. (Tii:BLMN), the parent of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar; Darden Restaurants Inc. (Tii:DRI), whose brands include LongHorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden; and The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (Tii:CAKE) are popular eateries for get-togethers with friends.
There are endless ways to alleviate the stress that comes with our day-to-day responsibilities. Whether a trip to the spa, some light reading, watching your favorite team play, or one of the alternatives mentioned above, be sure to take some “me time” for National Relaxation Day.
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