These days life has become very stressful. Things like traffic jams, unhappy/ troubled relationships, heavy workload, motherhood, exams, everyday expenses are the most common sources of stress and tension. Whenever, we are stressed, our hormones go into the fight or flight response. This increases our heart rate and we start breathing heavily/ feel anxious/ feel nervous. Whenever in such a situation, it is important to activate the body’s relaxation response. Being stressed is not really a choice, but to relax is.
Today’s post is all about things that help me to relax or de- stress and which maybe useful for you all too. The list is in no particular order.
- WALK: go for a walk, especially where there is greenery. Might be a neighbourhood park or your own garden or even in your balcony with your potted plants. This boosts our endorphins and reduces the stress hormones. This will automatically attract your attention to the surrounding and away from the stress causing factor.
- DEEP BREATHING: will make your body feel relaxed. Deep breathing-> oxygen boost-> reduced stress.
- MEDITATION: easier said than done. We are not saints who can meditate anywhere and everywhere. So what we can do is, we can concentrate all our attention on one particular point in the room/ wherever you are. It might be the wall, a painting, or a showpiece. Automatically, your brain is diverted to that thing and away from the stress. Many a times chanting “AUM” also works.
- TALK/ SPEAK- UP/ SHARE: It maybe your friend, your mom, sibling, colleague or just any random person. Just vent it out. Keeping it within is going to increase your stress- level. It is necessary to get rid of your stress inducing thought.
- MUSIC: It is often suggested that we listen to classical or soothing music to relax. But, i would say, listen to whatever music that makes you happy. We need to release those feel good hormones to relax. For some it might be rock or maybe jazz, basically any music that you love. I have known surgeons who listen to music while operating just because it relaxes them. And if none of the above, then sing/ humm for yourself. Worse come worse you will end up laughing at your singing skills, which will also give the desired result- relaxation.
- YOU TUBE: watch funny videos, especially those of animals (cats and dogs) and babies. There is no way you wont feel relaxed. Laughing-> increased oxygen intake-> releasing feel good hormones -> relaxation.
- MATHS: I know, many of you might be saying, this woman is crazy. But trust me solving a simple maths equation or sum will relax you well. It might even be something as simple as counting forwards and backwards or reciting the tables.
- GET CRAFTY: Create/ make something. Activities with repeated motions like knitting, jewellery making, origami, drawing and painting, doodling, or sometimes even colour my daughters colouring books. These fine motor activities grab your attention such that you forget the reason for your stress.
- Take a warm bath or relax in the pool.
- YOGA: SHAVASANA is the most common asana for relaxing. It helps you regulate your breathing and also in muscle relaxation. All you need is a mat or even a carpet will do. And if nothing is available just lie down on the floor. Or just lay back on your chair. You can even try the other stress- relieving poses like the eagle pose.
- DANCE: Go to a pub, discotheque, or just dance in front of the mirror or wherever you are. People might make fun of you, but its helping you. And when they see you enjoying, i am sure they will join in. Remember how Meredith Grey (Any greys anatomy fans here?) dances it out? Its the same. Dont worry about anything or anyone, you need those feel good hormones.
- HUG: Now, this might sound stupid to many. But ask someone to hug you. It might be your office colleague, sibling, BFF, or a random person. You can even try hugging your favourite pillow. Whenever you hug someone or someone hugs you, you feel the support, you feel cared for, you will feel happy and so relaxed.
- PET: that furball of yours will give you immense joy when you play with it or take it out for a walk. Hug your pet Nd talk to it.
- DECLUTTER: This is one of the main things that i personally do to relax. Just pick a corner of the house, or a drawer, or your cupboard and start decluttering and cleaning and organizing it. The idea is to get rid of the junk or unwanted stuff. It acts like a vent out for the negativity that is causing the stress.
- ROCKING CHAIR: Ever wondered why and how a crying baby is consoled or put to sleep? Its the rocking movement that is used. This rocking movement releases the endorphins which improve your mood and thus reduce anxiety. Now, obviously you cannot be held like a baby, so go get that rocking chair.
- SCREAM/ SIGH: The idea is to let it all out. I have seen it in a bollywood movie. Letting out a scream or a heavy sigh makes yu take in more oxygen after, which helps to calm down your nerves and you feel light and relaxed.
- CHEWING GUM: According to some studies, chewing a piece of gum, improves your breathing and thus reduces anxiety.
- TREAT TIME: A small piece of chocolate never hurt anyone. I am not saying binge eat or eat the whole bar. Just a small chunk. Getting a little sugar in your system will definitely make you feel good. And no, this doesnt mean that i support stress eating.
The above mentioned ways were what you can do when you are feeling stressed, like immediately at that moment. But there are certain things that you should follow in general in your daily routine to help you fight stress. Lets take a look at them:
- Try and get GOOD QUALITY SLEEP. Switch off that mobile/ TV atleast an hour before going to bed. Light some scented candles in your room, have a warm bath, have a nice conversation with your partner and go to bed. Also, do not drink tea/ coffee after 7 PM. Caffiene will make you more alert and will compromise your sleeping time.
- REDUCING SCREENTIME: More screentime throughout the day leads to disturbed sleep, stress and depression (in extreme cases). If you are a office worker, then screen time= work. So, try and take breaks every hour or two. Drink water, take a small walk in and around your office, listen to some music, chat with your colleague, do stretching exercises at your desk. Just go off screen for sometime and then return refreshed and start working again. For SAHM, make sure you use your mobiles, laptops, TV when the kids are sleeping or are at the school or day care. When they are home spend all the time with them. Automatically your screentime reduces to just a few hours. And spending time with kids is one of the best stress busters.
- MINDFUL EATING: Always be careful of what you put in your system. There are some foods that may cause digestion issues. These might get you stressed. Snack on healthy options like dry fruits, nuts, fruits. Get out of the room, go to a peaceful corner with lots of air and light and eat. Focus on the food and how it makes you feel. It is very important to nourish your system from within.
- HOUSEPLANTS: Some plants are not just air purifiers but also act as calming agents. Keep one on your office desk, decorate them in your living room/ bedroom/ in your house. Even talking to plants helps. Imagine you are talking to your friend.
- SELF CARE: That occasional visit to the salon or spa is also needed. Get a nice massage or just a mani/ pedi. Enjoy that me time. Go for shopping alone. Retail therapy never hurt anyone, especially you girls out there.
So thats all..
I know it was a long post but i am sure you would agree with a couple pointers here and will find the others to be helpful as well. Most of these methods are tried and tested by me, so i know for sure that they work.
If you like what i write, then show me some love.
Stay tuned for more.