Life keeps us busy and it can be hard to find time to take care of yourself. We get tired and need a boost but tend to reach all too quickly that dependable cup of coffee even if we are sick and our bodies are screaming for nurture and healing!
Stress is a hot topic everywhere whether you are male or female and so often it has to do with our busy lives and family dynamic. But how do you relieve that stress when you feel there’s just no time to handle it? It’s time we talk about the simple and affordable tips to relieve stress quickly at home and on the go.
Let’s talk about the men first. We know you guys. You are a hard working crowd with a lot of pressure on your shoulders. And whether you are the game watching or fine dining type, you have the right to experience the relaxing fruit of your labor!
And Ladies? We know you too. Whether you are a mother at home, working hard at your career or the busiest of the two worlds: BOTH, we invite you to take the time here and there to reward yourself for your thorough dedication to your many responsibilities!
I know we all have heard of the dangers stress brings to our lives, but I do want to touch base on a few major points (before I go into the fixes) so that we remember to take it seriously and take charge of the stress relief we so greatly deserve.
So what is stress? It’s simply a fact of nature. Forces from the inside or outside world affect people in various ways and the individual responds to stress in ways that affect both themselves and their environment as well. Due to the overabundance of stress in our modern lives, we tend to think of stress as a negative experience, but from a biological point of view, stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience. In general, stress is related to both the external and internal factors. External factors include the physical environment, such as your job, relationships with others, your home and all the situations, challenges, and expectations you have to deal with on a daily basis. Internal factors determine how your body responds to and deals with the external stress-inducing factors. The internal factors that influence your ability to handle all that stress include your nutritional state, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get.
Now that that’s clear, let’s talk about some simple ways to deal with it all!
- Move Your Body: Pretty clear, don’t you think? When we move our bodies via running, dancing, yoga, weight training, cycling and other forms of movement, we release dopamine (a happy hormone) and get rid of cortisol (the stress hormone that wreaks havoc). Our heart rate increases and our whole bodies get into a groove of joy and excitement.
- Eat Well, Live Well: Just a few simple rules here. Stay away from white foods as much as you can. This includes white breads, pastas, rice and sugar. These cause peaks and lows with our blood sugar, contributing to mood swings and feelings of anxiety. Make sure your food includes veggies and fruits in a variety of color (extra greens if you can) and that you are adequately hydrated. DRINK WATER. You may be surprised at how much that single tip helps!
- Breathe Deep: Annoying people and frustrating circumstances are all around us and this is the most easy tip yet the hardest to remember. Breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply, pausing at the peak of inhalation. This activates the back of your brain, causing a slower and calmer reaction time.
- Relax: This is, of course the most enjoyable tip. What relaxes you? Whether it’s a massage or a slow walk in the park, you can determine what you will enjoy. I know for me, my favorite two things are to sit in a hot tub or sauna or to sit in the sunshine with a book.
- Gratitude: Be thankful. Yes, times can be hard. I’m not at all saying it’s easy. We can recognize the pain, feel it and then take a deep breathe and really be thankful for the beauty that *is* in our lives – the things that are working, the people that do love us and the health we are experiencing.
- Laugh: Enjoy your laughter! Talk to an old friend and think back on old times. Recall stories that make you smile. Play with children. Invite friends over for charades! Watch a comedy. Laughter is healing. Don’t underestimate it’s power.
- Sleep: Here’s the most medicinal one. We tend to slack on sleep because our work and family load can keep us busy until midnight. Then we wake to being our recurring routine at 6 am the following morning and then wonder why we are burnt out. Many medical studies agree that we need to turn off all media at least an hour prior to bed time. In that hour, practice the art of being in the present moment and just letting everything else go. Take a hot bath with some drops of lavender oil and a few sprays of eucalyptus shower mist to the steam – and do the same with the lavender and eucalyptus to your pillow and bed sheets for an even deeper sleep relaxation. Read, pray and be thankful. Trust that tomorrow will have plenty of beauty of it’s own to be thankful for as well.