February 25, 2014
Feeling like you’ve been having “one of those days” since you stepped into the office Monday morning? Can’t seem to catch up with that to-do list? Check out the tips below to get that much needed dose of R&R.
1. Deep breathing. It’s known that taking in a few slow, deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth delivers a calming message to your body and nervous system, curbing anxiety and slowing down heart rate.
2. Sleep. Ideally, we should all be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but that isn’t always doable. So instead, my advice is simply to get as much sleep as possible. Stop checking the time, turn the light out and relax. If you’re unable to fall asleep after a half hour or so, make a cup of tea, take a bath, or read a book. Eventually, your body will relax enough to send you off to dreamland. Until then, don’t let not getting enough sleep be what’s keeping you up at night.
3. Pay attention to yourself, not your stress-induced habits. It’s been a tough day, and you just got into a fight with your significant other or tanked that presentation you’ve been working on for weeks. Now what? Stop and take a breath. When under duress, it becomes incredibly easy to fall back onto self-destructive habits and turn to unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. So just take a moment, and stop. Ask yourself questions like, “If I was content and peaceful right now, would I want this?” and “How will I feel after I eat this piece of cake I’m not hungry for?” If the answers to those questions are “no”, and “bad”, then stop. Take that deep breath and know that your true satisfaction is going to lie in understanding why you’re feeling like indulging in that old pattern of behavior and instead finding the real solution to the problem you’re dealing with.
4. Don’t block the stress. Often when we’re stressed it’s so automatic to go to a place of trying to push the stress away, which never works. I was once told that our feelings are like the ocean; they rise to the top so that they can evaporate and be let go of. I believe it, and I think one of the best things you can do for yourself is simply let yourself feel whatever you need to. Let all that stress and upset in, assess whether there’s a reasonable solution to it (or if you just have to make peace with not having a solution for the time being), and then let it all go.
5. Yoga! Last but certainly not least, is yoga! Yoga has proven health benefits, including reduced stress, improved physical fitness, and natural management of high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and heart disease. Even setting aside just 10 or 15 minutes to do a few relaxing poses, such as child’s pose or corpse pose can help bring you back to a space of peace and clarity. So remember yogis, don’t sweat the small stuff! Let it go and come back to your peaceful, loving center.
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