De-Stress Tips and Methods

There are so many factors that can contribute to stress in our lives between work, kids, and especially right now with the holidays quickly approaching. Apparently my chaotic life is beginning to catch up with me as it was a sad morning just a few days ago. I was blow drying my hair and combing through it when it happened. Low and behold among my dark black hair was a single silver strand! Yep, I found my first gray hair. With that I would like to share with you some de-stress tips and methods to help alleviate the tension that has built up through the day, week, year, however long it’s been and maybe even keep your hair coloring appointments to a minimum.

Popular De-Stressing Methods

These are some common practices that help unwind and relax, some of which can date back for centuries.

Yoga
yogaIt’s no secret that Yoga is a very commonly practiced form of de-stressing and meditation. It’s great for your mind and body. I used to do it more often (i.e. before having kids) than I do now to help strengthen my back muscles and improve my posture as I’ve had back problems since I was a teenager. It’s hard to get into a routine of doing it now with the kids but it’s time to get back into it when I can.

There are even some studios and DVDs that demonstrate mommy and me yoga which you can do with the kids. My 4 year old likes to ‘exercise’ with me when she sees mommy doing her Yoga poses. It’s ideal if you can get time to do it alone so you can meditate and free your mind without having to focus on anything else (like the kids getting into something while your eyes are closed), however this isn’t always practical for everyone. If you can’t get some alone time to do it then include the kids and have them do it with you. It can be great for everyone and helps teach kids early on the value of exercise.

There are certain poses that aid in relieving stress and tension to promote relaxation while others focus more on core strength and fitness. The key is to free your mind and focus on your breathing -which defines meditation- while doing the poses. If you’ve never done Yoga before these are some simple de-stressing poses for beginners:

childs poseChild’s Pose – For this pose you will be kneeling while sitting on your heels with your feet together so that your big toes touch and your knees separated so that they are hip-width apart. Exhale while bending over with your head down so that your nose is pointing towards your knees. You will outstretch your arms in front of you with your hands together and laid flat palms down. You can stay like this for 30 seconds or more if you like, focusing on your breathing the entire time. Take a deep breath in as you slowly come up.

warriorWarrior Pose– Stand with your feet together, toes pointing forward while you inhale. Then exhale as you take a large step forward with your right foot, keeping your back leg straight and turning the left foot to the side at a 45 degree angle to where your heels are still in line with each other while lifting your arms straight out with your right arm in front of you and your left arm straight back. Hold the position while inhaling and exhaling for about 30 seconds then repeat the steps with your left leg.

bridgeBridge Pose– For this pose you are going to be lying on the floor with your back flat and knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Inhale as you contract your muscles so that your lower back remains flat (don’t arch your spine) Your arms should be at your sides palms down. Slowly exhale as you lift your hips up and pressing your feet into the floor. You want to maintain a straight spine so that your back isn’t arched by keeping your muscles contracted. Inhale as you slowly lower your hips back to floor.

Know your limitations while doing yoga and don’t over exert yourself to avoid injury. You may want to invest in a good yoga mat to make the floor poses a little more comfortable, especially if you have hard bare floors to also help you get a better grip.

SexsexYes, you read that correctly. Having sexual intercourse with your partner while in a healthy relationship can be an easy way to relieve stress. It can be quite effective in alleviating tension while bringing you and your partner closer as endorphins created by orgasms can trigger happiness and make you feel good. Arrange a night for the kids to stay away at grandma’s while you enjoy a romantic evening kid-free every once in a while. Try new things to keep it exciting  such as different poses or new toys. Just make sure you’re taking necessary precautions if you aren’t planning on having more children any time soon!

De-Stress Tips

Taking certain steps regularly can help to minimize your stress levels and keeps you in check. Follow these tips to help you from reaching your breaking point.

Just Breathe – Similar to practicing yoga as mentioned above, by taking a few moments during the day to take a few slow, deep breaths can really help by inducing calmness and allows you to recollect your thoughts in times of chaos when your stress levels are at their highest.

spaPamper yourself – Put a little extra money aside each week to treat yourself to a spa day. Getting a full body massage, a pedicure, or even just a facial can help you to relax and relieves tension. It doesn’t have to be every month, but every six weeks to every other month can help to restore and can also serve as therapy for tired, sore muscles.

Plan ahead – make early preparations to avoid stressful mornings or getting out the door with the kids. Keep the diaper bag stocked and prepared (aside from things that need to be kept cold such as bottles of milk or food) near the door so that if you have to run unexpectedly for any reason, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Fix back packs and lunches the night before so your mornings aren’t so crazy.

bath8Have some you-time – Try to allocate certain times when you can have some quiet time just for you. Find a babysitter who can watch the kids for a couple of hours or take advantage of nap time to allow time just for yourself. Take a relaxing bath with some aromatherapy candles or soothing music. Spend some time shopping with a friend for just yourself, that means no buying toys or clothes for the kids (just as long as it doesn’t put a financial strain on your budget which can lead to further stress)

Drink green tea – certain herbal teas such as green tea or pepper mint tea can have soothing effects that help you unwind, especially at the end of the day. Stick to decaf as excessive amounts of caffeine can have the adverse affect especially if you’ve already had coffee that day. I love the Sleepy Time tea by Celestial Seasonings that I get for my Keurig but you can buy them in a box as well to brew your own cup.

Taking the time to help reduce your stress levels is not only good for you emotionally, but it’s also essential to your health to avoid feelings of anxiety, insomnia, or leading to depression. Find something that works for you to help you relax and reduce tension so you can feel better and have more energy for the kids.

References: http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness_programs_exercise_library_list.aspx?equipment=10&level=Beginner

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