Stressors are universal. Some may be used as motivators. Others, when allowed to grow into prolonged situations, can manifest themselves into destructive health concerns such as elevated blood pressure, stomach issues, sleep problems, and a multitude of other issues.
Stress is all around us, we can be dealing with stress related to our home, families, and financial burdens. With chronic illness on the rise, there could be an additional burden of health problems for ourselves or loved ones.
Work can be flooded with an excess of stress, dealing with deadlines, job insecurity, conflicts with coworkers or a whole myriad of work-related issues. Potentially you may even be a manager dealing with organizational stress, bogged down with issues of high staff turnover rates, mistrust, burnout, and poor job performance.
No matter the type of stress we are up against we could all be searching for natural ways to be healthier, prepping for a long, healthy, and happy life. Take a moment to review these suggestions on ways to keep your tension at bay.
I’m sure you’re thinking you already know how, or you wouldn’t still be here. But have you ever really paid attention to the involuntary motion that keeps us all alive? Assess your breathing patterns. Do you breathe shallowly or deeply? Slowly or quickly? Take a moment and focus on what you are doing. Pause and deeply breathe through your nostrils all the way into your abdomen, allowing it to expand. As you expel that breath, contract your abdomen, exhale through the nostrils. Slowing down your breathing can be a simple reminder to your nervous system that all is well.
Let this practice of slowing down your breathing seep into other areas of your life. Instead of rushing from here to there, take some time to enjoy and appreciate everything around you. Slow down during meals, visit with companions, maybe even take a walk in the rain.
Contradiction? Maybe. However, not really. Organizing your day, or even enough of a rough sketch may help you feel more centered and in control of your day. If it were a special occasion such as your birthday or an event, maybe a vacation, you would probably make plans. So why not include the routine of planning out your day within your daily habits.
Nevertheless, the key is to unschedule yourself, planning some open periods of time in your life. Edit that list of crazy commitments. Avoid unnecessary meetings or appointments. Leave some time for relaxation and whatever might happen naturally. Nothing says your entire to-do list has to be completed today, cut it down to the essentials.
Yes, everyone says it, it’s the most common advice circulating the internet, your doctor’s office, or anybody you talk to. Why, because it works. Exercise helps you relieve stress build-up and moves you towards a healthier lifestyle, being unhealthy is a major cause of stress. Vicious cycle.
Exercise doesn’t have to be another boring trip to the gym. Get up, dance, try a Zumba class, get those endorphins flowing. Yoga can help build your ability to remain calm, focus, find balance, and relax. Head outside, try gardening or enjoyable activities with the kids (people or furry versions). Being outdoors gives you extra benefits of fresh air and connecting with nature.
I refuse to suggest a “diet”, let’s leave that one up to you and your health care provider. Find a healthy eating strategy that works for you and your system. That might mean less dairy or protein at certain times of the day. For me, it means no greasy food, as it makes me feel cranky and sluggish.
There is a wealth of choices in pre-bagged tea or loose tea choices. Search for calming or sleepy time options. Look for teas with a base of chamomile, bergamot, lemon, and peppermint. Honestly, good old black tea can help soothe away your stress.
Your mood can be tied to smells. Infuse a dash aromatherapy into your life. Lavender, eucalyptus geranium, neroli, rose, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, and so many other essential oils choices have the potential to be a mood-lifter and relax the body at the same time. Experiment, find out what combinations work best for you. A bit of eucalyptus infused into my shampoo helps me every day.
Massage can be a pathway to more than just relaxation. Potentially it can help with headaches, lower back pain, and other ailments.
There are a couple pressure points on your body that could be the key to your relaxation. The soft spot behind your ear, where your jaw bone connects to your skull is the first. Press gently with a finger and hold; the tip of your collar bone, tap quickly with two fingers, pinch with the thumb and forefinger from your opposite hand for a ten count and then repeat. Take some mini-breaks throughout your day and tune into these pressure points.
I’m just suggesting simplification. Clear out the clutter, less stuff, less stress. De-cluttering your work area or the place where you sleep can be a step in the right direction to lowering stress levels and avoiding crazy distractions.
I know I’m not the first to say this phrase, however, develop an attitude of gratitude. Direct your thoughts towards the positive side of things and be grateful for the meaningful people in your life. Also incorporate a little laughter, just for the sake of silliness, in your daily life. It might help that attitude stay on a positive course.
Try all of the suggestions or try only the ones that completely appeal to you. If at first something doesn’t work, attempt it again later, maybe a different way. If you have one cup of tea, but it only helps a little, make another cup! Combine things. Use a little acupressure before you go to sleep and spray some lavender on your pillow. The key is to not give up and find the solution that works best for you.