- Mental Health
How to Relieve Stress - Stress Relief and Relaxation Techniques
Taking your routine down a notch
Stop the Wicked Witch of the West Act, and make time for sleep.
This is one of my mother's household sayings. Whenever we had company coming over and had to clean house, it was time for the "Wicked Witch of the West Act." Aptly named for the song from the Wizard of Oz that played when the Witch showed up outside Dorthy's window as she's getting blown around by the twister.
Make time for sleep. If your normal schedule is crazy and hectic, a good nights sleep can make all the difference. Not getting enough sleep can eventually lead to very serious health problems like colds, heart disease, diabetes, slow brain function, and obesity.
In other words, if you can hum that tune during your normal daily routine, then it may be time to take a breather, and get quick nap in or call it an early night.
Make time for yourself.
Odds are, you place yourself pretty far down on your list of priorities. Things like, kids, spouse, job, friends, etc. usually swipe the first few slots on that list.
But every once and a while, it is ok to turn off your phone, and do something for yourself. Do whatever it is that you want to do, and do it for yourself. Even if it is just for 15 minutes, you will be more refreshed when you're done.
Lighten up your juggling act.
In a society where multitasking is supposed to be second nature, slowing down will be more difficult than you might expect. Try to do one thing at a time. Even as I write this article, the TV is on, and I am eating breakfast. Maybe I should take my own advise, huh?
Anyway, instead of juggling 10 different things all at once, focus on one thing at a time. Give that one thing your full attention, then move on to the next. Try to leave your expert multitasking skills at work.
Leave lightspeed to George Lucas.
We need to stop rushing around. If the situation is not an emergency, you don't need to move 100 mph. Yes, things will get done a whole 2 seconds faster, but will leave you feeling exhausted by the end of your day.
The world will go on.
It's time to realize that the world will not, in fact, end if you are late or don't get something in on time. We take ourselves too seriously most of the time. If whatever it is that you are worrying about won't matter in 10 years, don't let it worry you too much.
Make the time to...
Take a nice hot shower.
Showers not only help wake you up in the morning, but the warm water eases tense muscles at the end of the day. So no matter when you take your showers, either morning or night is beneficial. And... it feels soooo good!
Drink a warm cup of tea or coffee.
There is something very soothing about drinking hot tea or coffee in the morning.
Get to work without having to rush.
Leave yourself enough time to get to where you need to go without worrying if you will be late. Anxiety, worry, and stress about being late is the worst way to start your day. Getting to work early will give you time to settle, maybe talk with your coworkers, or use the restroom before you begin your day.
This is the hardest for me to follow. I am not typically a breakfast person, so I have to be very intentional about getting something to eat each morning. Others, have an easier time with this one, and DO believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast helps your metabolism, and gives you energy you need until lunch.
Call a friend/family member (someone unrelated to the thing giving you stress).
Talking with friends and family is a great way stay connected and have some laughs during your day. You could even recruit them to help you solve a problem you are having, so it doesn't seem so big and scary. Two heads are better than one.
Take a few deep breaths.
Deep breathing sends the message to your brain to relax. This is a great way to ease tension and relieve stress. Sit in a comfortable position, breathe in through your nose, feel your stomach rise, and slowly exhale through your mouth. It is important to learn to breathe with your stomach, and not with your chest.
When you wake up in the morning, do some very simple stretches. Touch your toes, lift your arms as high as they can go above your head, and roll your head on your shoulders. Stretching gets your blood flowing, giving you more energy to start your day.
Lay flat on your back.
When you come home from a long day at work, or from running around town, spend 10 minutes laying flat on your floor. Laying flat on your back gives your body a chance to unwind and relax.
Go for a short walk.
If the weather permits, go for a short walk outside. The fresh air and sun will do you good. Take your kids, friend, spouse, or dog with you for some company :) It will also give you a chance to get out and meet other fellow walkers.
Drink some water.
Sometimes when we get so busy doing other things, we forget to hydrate. Water breaks are not just for athletes... everybody needs to remember to hydrate. Plus, getting up and walking around at work for a short water break gives you an excuse to leave your desk for a little while.
Close your eyes for 10 seconds.
Sometimes during particularly stressful days, closing your eyes for just 10 seconds lets you escape those things causing you stress for a short time. Your eyes will appreciate the down time too.