So, I’m not really known as being chill. On the surface, I might seem pretty laid back. And my terrible memory makes me seem more scattered than I really am. But truth is, I’m pretty tightly wound up and can be pretty hyper-critical about myself. Sound familiar? And especially in today’s complicated world, where the news is constantly thrown at us, noise is increasingly numbing our senses, and we are becoming frantic with “I haftas” (ie. I have to do this, I have to do that…) stress is a way of life.
But we do need to take a few breaks to soothe our frayed nerves. Here are my top five simple ways to de-stress.
- Breathing deeply. Take a few moments to think about breathing. Listen to your heart beat. Hear what it’s saying. Breath in, hold it, breath out. I was recently having a medical procedure and my blood pressure was a bit on the high side. As I laid on the hospital bed with the nurses and anesthesiologist watching the little devices, I heard my inner “voice of mom” say soothingly “just breath.” And my BP started to head lower!
- Stretching/Yoga: sometimes the stress settles in our backs, necks, everywhere. Sometimes simple stretches can break up the tension, and provides relief to a tense and stiff body. Here’s are three easy and effective stretches: https://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/3-stretches-reduce-stress-naturally
- Walking: Here’s another “voice of mom” experience – when I’m super stressed, I walk. My mom was my bestie, and in our daily phone calls, we’d talk about what our days were like, etc. When she heard me saying certain things she’d always say “Maybe you need to go for a little walk.” Always seemed to do the trick for me, too. And it didn’t need to be a grand 5-mile hike. A simple 10-15 minute walk around the yard fit the bill when I needed to blow off the stress steam.
- Writing/journaling: Sometimes I find it cathartic to get the stuff that’s all up in my head out on paper. It’s seems so simple, and it is. Just start writing. Not for anyone but you. No one but you needs to see it. You may be like me and not even read it. Just spew the words out (preferably on paper…typing doesn’t do it for me!) and get that stuff out. You could take it a step further, too. Use that expulsion of mental words to find a path to creative expression, or positive goal setting. Ask yourself “What do I do/think/feel now?” and see where it takes you.
- Bath time! You are silly if you didn’t think I’d include my favorite past-time to de-stress. I used to call them “Celebrate Karen Days.” I’d light candles, use oils and salts or whatever and sit in a hot tub for as long as I had hot water. I still keep it pretty simple…my bath the other night didn’t feature much beyond a razor, a bar of my Cheers, Mate! Beer Soap (made with Guinness Beer and goat milk!) and my iPad propped up so I could watch something on Hulu. (Don’t tell my husband, but one of the selling points of this house was the cast iron claw foot tub in our incredibly tiny bathroom….priorities!)
Hope you find this helpful. Thanks!