Here are my top tips for interrupting and reducing stress. Try any or all of these simple, enjoyable activities and give yourself a chance to reset.
One of the easiest ways to break the cycle of stress is to breathe. When you are under stress, your heart and breathing rates unconsciously increase.
You can take control again and help your body unwind by breathing slowly and deeply into your belly.
Many people who struggle with stress find that a meditation practice helps by giving them structured time to breathe and relax their bodies.
You may discover that meditation trains you to breathe and keep calm through stressful situations as well!
If meditating is not your thing, exercise is another way to regulate your breath. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll in your neighborhood, lifting weights, or burning up the trail on a run, exercise forces you to breathe more deeply.
Exercise also releases endorphins (the happy chemicals in your brain), helping you to relax and reboot.
Take the day off from electronics
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, removing stimuli can be a effective way to regain your equilibrium.
Unplug for one day a week and set healthy limits on when you check your email/phone/Facebook. This practice can help you reduce stress and open space for you to engage in other relaxing activities.
Connect with a good friend at least once a week
A natural reaction to stress is to withdraw so that you can replenish. But it can be counterproductive when it cuts you off from genuine interactions with people you care about. Dedicate at least one hour a week to talking with someone who supports you and buoys your spirits.
Need more support? Seeing a therapist in conjunction with receiving bodywork can be helpful, too.
Go outside and play
The great outdoors has an undeniably restorative effect. Sunshine on your skin as you sit by a creek and watch the birds soar helps you unconsciously slow your breathing and soften your muscles.
Take a vacation
Taking a week off, or even a weekend, may not make your troubles disappear, but a break from everyday life can bring you new insights and solutions.
Acupuncture and bodywork
Sometimes you end up stressed beyond the reach of self-care tactics. Deep breathing and exercise will help, just not enough. That’s when a healthcare professional is your best ally. I’ve been there. I’d be happy to help you get back on track, with a plan for ongoing stress relief. Get in touch.