Do you ever feel over worked and stressed out? If so, you are not alone! According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans are more stressed than ever before and 43% of adults suffer adverse health effects as a result. A whopping 75-90% of adult visits to health care physicians are precipitated by stress-related problems! Stress also causes approximately 1 million employees to be absent on any given workday and is responsible for nearly 50% of employee burnout and 40% of employee turnover.
Let’s focus now on the good news. There are a variety of stress management techniques that can be easily incorporated into your busy daily routine. Below are some great stress busting tips to help you relax and enjoy life. Try implementing a few of these healthy habits each week and watch the stress disappear.
- Stretching. Performing a few stretching exercises for a couple of minutes can relieve the muscular tension that’s built up from stress. Lean your right ear toward your right shoulder and stretch the left side of the neck and then switch over and do other side. Then look down and drop your chin toward your chest. Slowing let your head roll to the right, then to the left and repeat this motion a few times. Try including a few shoulder circles as well. This exercise is so simple to do and when performed several times a day, your range of motion will increase and you’ll be more relaxed.
- Massage. Ask your masseuse to use a calming essential oil like lavender or chamomile. You can even buy some oil and when you are having a stressful moment, put a couple of drops on a tissue and breathe it in deeply. You can also let the scent infuse the air with a diffuser. By smelling different oils, it will help to relax you even if you don’t get a massage!
- Laugh. Laughter actually changes our body chemistry, gives the immune system a boost and feels great too. Whenever possible, try to smile and those around you will feel welcome in your presence. You have the power to choose your mood so take advantage of it. You can even find a private place and laugh really hard for a few minutes. I am sure you will be laughing at yourself but the result is that you will feel better. Share a joke or a moment that made you laugh with a friend or co-worker. Feeling a little silly at times is always good for the soul!
- Self talk. Close your eyes and keep repeating certain phrases such as “I am calm” or “I am relaxed and peaceful”. Maybe you need to tell yourself “I am loved”. Remember, you always have the power to choose your actions and reactions!
- Check your posture. If you are sitting, put your feet flat on the floor with your thighs angled slightly toward the floor. Have a slight arch in your lower back and gently push your sternum (chest bone) back and relax your shoulders. Take a few deep breaths and hold this position for a minute or two. You may begin to feel yourself slouch again after a couple of minutes if you’re not thinking consciously about how you are sitting. Just re-position yourself into a stable and healthy posture. Having good posture will help to relieve muscle tension.
- Go for a walk. Take a stroll on the beach, in the mountains or just around your neighborhood. Walking 20 to 30 minutes a day can work wonders, both physically and mentally. If you have a dog, bring them with you and admire their passion for fresh air and life.
- Decorate. Bring the outdoors indoors by decorating your home with nature-inspired decor to help you relax and soothe your soul.
- Hobbies. Take up an enjoyable hobby. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, knitting, or fly-fishing, choose something that will force you to calm down and enjoy the moment.
- Try Tai Chi, meditation, or prayer. By focusing within, you’ll acquire a proper perspective and better control over the anxiety-riddled external world. Even something as simple as reading for 10 minutes before bed will bring quality personal time to your life. As you are falling asleep, or driving in traffic, remind yourself of all the blessings in your life.
- Hug your spouse and loved ones. Kiss your children, pet your dog, laugh, be playful, be spontaneous and just have some fun! Do you remember the times when it was just you and your partner before you had children? What about the sparkle in your child’s eyes when they did something for the first time? Life seems to pass us by quickly so try to take a moment to let those around you know how much they mean to you.
- Use an exercise ball at work. This is a great replacement for a regular office chair that can wreak havoc on your back. By using an exercise ball, your core muscles will get a great wake-up call. Other employees might see you in the office and end up following your lead. You can also take a few minutes before lunch and use your ball for a variety of body firming exercises!
- Breathing is life! We can live weeks without food and days without water, but we can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen. Yet, the average person breathes so shallowly that it is almost impossible to notice. While sitting, position yourself as mentioned above and take a slow deep breath in through your nose while concentrating on filling up your lungs from top to bottom. Hold the air in for a moment and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Breathe deeply 4 -5 times and try doing this a few times a day.
- Listen to calming music. You may like rock and roll, hip hop or house music, but those genres are more likely to energize and speed you up versus calming you down. Using your sense of hearing to relax is very effective so choose some calming tunes to help you de-stress during the day.
Something as simple as sex can make a big difference in your stress levels! You will feel more relaxed and will also be burning calories in the process. So make a rendezvous with your partner and have some intimate time for a bedroom workout to relieve built up stress!
Remember that we always have the power and responsibility to choose how we feel about, and react to, different events and situations that occur in our lives. You only have one life so always be good to yourself and live it to the fullest!