As someone who has experienced stress for majority of her life, managing stress is a must. I have struggled in the past to find quick and easy tools to manage stress. I needed to make it stop. Immediately.
Do you find yourself so stressed that when you try to look up destress techniques you get even more stressed?
With these simple 5 techniques, I will try to help you look no further. It is my hope that these simple and readily available techniques will serve you right when you need it most. Do not worry, you do not need to purchase more merchandise to make your life stress free (well I cannot guarantee stress-free life, but we can manage it better together).
Creating a healthy routine for yourself.
The first step should begin with creating a healthy routine and following a daily schedule. Think about it, when your daily activities are predictable you no longer have to worry about the "unknown". Healthy routines will yield a sense of structure, peace and serenity. Scheduled activities and planning ahead minimizes stressful and unorganized lifestyle and helps removing unnecessary worries and feelings of anxiety. Can you still have unpredictable events ruin your day and throw you off your feet? Of course. But don't panic. Sticking to a routine and having organized "life calendar" will help you cope with these events much more efficiently.
Breathing Exercises and learning to breathe deeper.
Breathing is something we are born to do. Literally. We begin the journey of life by taking our first breath. Why do we forget to breathe when we are stressed?
I will not be taking you on the journey of science behind the breathing while anxious or stressed but I will tell you that you can use your breathing to manage your stress and anxiety.
I will mention that when we are stressed and anxious, our breath becomes laboured and we have difficulties "catching our breath", we also get really tense all over our body. By focusing on our breath and paying it more attention, we will achieve emotional and physical release. Deep breathing improves circulation, regulates our heart rate, helps our muscles relax and releases endorphins. The best part is that I do not have to teach you how to breathe, you already mastered it!
You can practice breathing exercises in the shower, while driving, at work or anytime you feel your stress and anxiety are rising. Feel free to practice it everyday, all day!
For more on breath work follow @radiant.mind.academy #breathwork
Every time I bring self-care to a conversation or a therapy session, the answer is always the same - I don't have time for this. Another common answer is "self-care cost money". When I ask people about self care, they often refer to going to a spa, getting nails/hair done, or doing expensive retail therapy. This is NOT what self-care is all about. Self-care should be something that you do you for, you deserve it. Self-care can mean many things to different people and my first go-to question is: what do you enjoy doing? what have you done in the past that made you feel joy and happiness? Surprisingly enough, people often respond with making art, working out, going for a jog or a hike and many more activities that do not include a fancy spa or other ways to dish out money. Self-care is self-explanatory - doing an act of self care and caring for YOU. Think about something that you have not done in a while that made you feel good, even if it's brief. Make sure you pencil it in your new healthy routine and allow yourself time for you. Feel free to start with 2-3 days per week and then increasing to daily activities. Have fun with this.
Having Fun and being playful
In today's society, being busy and serious is important and valued. We strive to educate ourselves, get a serious job and get lost in the world of structure. We left no room for fun and smiles. If we think back at our childhood, little things made us happy and we used to enjoy being playful with our parents, right? Isn't it interesting that as grown ups we forgot how to?
Right. This is a no brainer. Being playful and having fun should not be a difficult chore. Get outside when it's raining, dance like no one is watching, run barefoot on a freshly cut grass! Get in the habit of making a point to yourself to spend at least 5-10 minutes doing something fun and playful! Enjoy yourself!
Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditation? I cannot do it! What is mindfulness? sounds too complicated. What if I told you that practicing mindfulness and meditating does not require you to have special skills nor you need to spend thousands of dollars on training. Practicing mindfulness merely means taking the time to notice. Notice how your are breathing, notice your body, notice your surroundings, notice you.
Practicing mindfulness can be done anywhere and everywhere! Much like breathing, you do not need a special tool or a skill. Being mindful is about staying in the present moment and making room for you.
Meditation is easy. No. It's not. Not at first. Why? Well we are lead to believe that during meditation we are not to have any thoughts. At all. If I said to you right now "pink elephant", you cannot stop thinking about the pink elephant. Much like in meditation. If you tell yourself: "Don't think", many thoughts will come flooding, making your meditation journey frustrating and unpleasant. The goal of meditation is bringing your awareness to your thoughts but not assigning meaning to them. Simply let them go. You can acknowledge these thoughts but don't get stuck on them, simply let them go. If you get distracted, don't worry, simply bring your attention back to your breath and focus on your breathing.
When you try to meditate, let go of your expectations of what it "should" look like and simply "enjoy the ride"!
With time and practice this will become easier. Be kind to yourself and learn to let go.
Practicing these 5 techniques may take time and effort on your part. Not all of them may work for you. But that is not important. The importance is that you tried. Keep trying and looking for what works best for you.
Let me know if you have any de-stressing techniques that work for you best!