It’s that time of year. The stress levels are real! You have to pack for the family vacation, can’t forget about those family and high school reunions, wait…. Back to School stuff is out already?! Halloween is just around the corner, and Christmas is basically tomorrow, Happy New Year Everyone!!
Did you tense up reading that? Is it hitting a little too close to home? You might not realize it but stress has much more impact on our minds and bodies than we realize. According to the Mayo Clinic some common symptoms are headaches, irritability, muscle tension and pain, it can even alter your social behaviors. So how do we combat it? Not all of these will work for everyone but below are some tips and tricks to relax your mind and body and get a real smile on your face while your family is asking you 10,000 questions about what they should be packing.
Laugh. I kid you not. Laugh! Find something funny and have yourself a good belly laugh. Smiling and laughter are infectious. Once you start, you usually find it hard to stop. Whether it’s a funny memory from 10 years ago or a meme you just saw on facebook. It’s going to release those feel good endorphins and combat your body’s stress signals.
Deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Finding your center is critical when your body is sending distress signals. Be mindful of your body, come back into it instead of letting your mind run rampant and carry that tension. Allow yourself to connect to your surroundings, feel your belly rising with each breath, feel your feet on the floor. Be it for one minute or ten, you will be amazed at the difference in your mindset and your body as it feels looser.
Make time for your hobby! Knitting, binge watching, reading, spelunking, whatever it is you do. That’s time you get with you. Not only is it a distraction from the stress it gives you instant gratification, it allows you to stay present and in the zone, and exercises different muscles and organs. For example, Katie knits because it allows her to see her progress instantly, uses finger and muscle memory, relieves anxiety, and so much more. Looking for a new hobby, check out this snazzy list here.
Of course there’s always the old get your blood pumping trick. Go for a walk or a run, do 20 jumping jacks, take a hike, dance around the house, grab your old Skip-It out of the garage, do whatever you want that gets your heart going. Remember those endorphins we talked about that get released when you laugh? Same deal here.
If you feel like your stress is completely overwhelming and none of those options sound like something you’re capable of at that particular time, write it down. It sounds silly but seriously, journal about it. Write down what’s triggering it, how it’s making you feel, those who are contributing to your growing stress level, lay it all out there. Sometimes something as simple as getting it out of your body is all you need.
If you’re an essential oil lover check out some of our favorites at the studio. We either use rollerballs if only one of us is feeling it or plunk it in the diffuser to give all of us a little break from the crazy. Valor, Stress Away, and Peace and Calming are studio faves and we highly recommend them. If you have any that you swear by, let us know! We’re all about it. If oils aren’t your thing but you love candles, get some in scents such as lavender, rose, bergamot, frankincense, and the like. Get your aromatherapy on!
Cuddle. I bet you think I’m kidding but I’m not. Cuddling, kissing, and sex are all proven to help reduce stress levels. Positive physical contact releases those endorphins I keep talking about, release oxytocin and lower cortisol. So find yourself a cuddle buddy, lean in, and embrace their emotional and physical warmth.
Do…. nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sit in stillness, lay in bed, absorb the quiet around you. You can actually feel the stress melting off your body. This is something that Jes does on the regular. When you’re doing nothing you need to make sure your brain isn’t wandering back to your to do list for the family reunion. If you find your mind racing, do math in your head. Not easy math. Fractions, multiplication, PEMDAS…. anything that distracts you from what you’re trying to get away from to de-stress.
So here’s the biggest trick of all. Do these things guilt free. When (not if) you’re taking time for yourself, you have to do so without guilt. Without feeling like you should be packing for that trip, without thinking about how you’re basting the turkey this year, without thinking someone needs you to do x, y, z. This is time you need for you. You need to come back into yourself. You have to get rid of the stress headache so you can be fully present for those around you. You have to take care of you.
Our goal is to make all our lives a little better and a little less stressful. If there’s something you do that wasn’t our list, tell us! We’d love to hear it and potentially use it in our own lives. Remember to take one thing at a time, and try not to let the stress of it all get you down.