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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Health: How to Battle Stress



I had a very stressful day both personally and professionally yesterday and it got me thinking about ways I manage my stress and other ways I could handle it better. I thought this would be a great reminder to me and give all of our readers out there who deal with stress some tips. 

1. Take a deep breath and do some stretching. Fellow yogis out there -- a few sun salutations go a long way. For all of you who do not speak yoga I'll give you a shorter version -- close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, lift your arms above your head and reach for the sky. Try to clear your mind and not think about what is stressing you out. Do a few neck rolls to the right and now to the left and slowly open your eyes. Feel better? Sometimes just taking a mini mental break gets me back on track.

2. If it's going to take more than a little breathing exercises, try sneaking in a 30-60 minute workout. I know, sometimes when you're stressed the last thing you want to do is workout. But trust me on this, once you get out some of that nervous energy you'll feel a million times better. I find that working up a little sweat makes whatever I was stressed out about seem much easier to tackle and I have a better handle on my problem. 

3. Find your favorite song or playlist and crank it! If you're at the office invest in some good headphones so you can blast your uplifting tunes. If you're alone, singing out loud on the top of your lungs does wonders. You wouldn't believe how much better I feel once I belt out some tunes. 

4. Remember to eat and eat well. One of my major downfalls of being stressed is I lose my appetite and don't feel like eating. When I do force myself to eat it usually comes in the form of calorie ridden comfort foods. Not good for my energy levels or waste line. Not eating for long periods of time not only kills my metabolism but it also drains all of my energy to deal with whatever is stressing me out. I schedule meals for myself and plan ahead to make sure they are nutrient-dense foods. I feel so much better when I take care of my body. 

5. Vent to a friend or family member (preferably not a coworker if it's a work related issue). Sometimes I feel SO much better if I can just talk to someone about what I'm going through. They may not be able to offer any advice, but you'd be surprise how much stress and pressure you can release by just letting it out. This helps prevent any major meltdowns from built up stress and anxiety. 

6. Dance! I know, sounds like a lame idea but honestly sometimes just being silly and dancing really helps me get out of my bad mood. It really helps me forget what was stressing me out and life doesn't seem so bad when you're carefree and having fun. Try it -- it works wonders.

7. Take a bubble bath. Pour yourself a hot bath, add some bath salts, bubbles, oils or whatever else will put you in a relaxed mood. I LOVE the Bath & Body Works aromatherapy eucalyptus spearmint relaxing nourishing body lotion after a long bath or shower. The scent instantly relaxes me and puts me in a calm mood. 

8. Get a massage. Nothing beats a professional massage when you're stressed out. On a budget? Have a friend or family member rub your tense shoulders and neck. It makes a world of difference to get those toxins out of your body and all the kinks worked out. 

9. Do something else on your to-do list to distract you. Sometimes after a stressful day at the office it  feels so good to clean the house (crazy I know), cook a good meal, write a blog post ;), do the laundry or something else on my to-do list that I know I can tackle. Sometimes my stress comes from things outside of my control so doing something routine helps me get out of my stressed out phase. I know it sounds odd but it really works! 

10. Read a good book. I can lose myself in a good book and I forget what is going on around me. Don't like to read? Pick up your favorite magazine or watch a TV show or movie you've been wanting to see. Escaping into another reality for a bit really helps.

If all of the above don't seem to do the trick have a glass of red wine. It always helps calm me down and relax me. Don't overdo it though, feeling hungover and dehydrated the next day never helps. After one glass my problems seem a little less intense. 

Do you do any of the things we listed above to de-sress? Are there any other tips you have for battling stress? 

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