1. BREATHE + MEDITATE
“Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body.”
Breathing is one of the most important things that we should focus on daily, yet many of us don’t. Feeling overwhelmed? Close your eyes, wherever you are, and take 5-10 deep breaths.
Slow, deep breathing calms the body’s nervous system because the breath is connected to the stress response of the body (think faster breathing = more stress).
Dr. Josh and I like to start our mornings with a 10 minute meditation. It sets the tone for the day and starts us off on the right foot. We love the Calm App, but there are many apps and free meditation videos that you can find on YouTube.
2. MAKE TIME FOR GRATITUDE
“It is not happy people who are grateful, it’s grateful people who are happy.”
Now more than ever, it’s so easy to get caught up in the negative side of things, but we are all so fortunate in one way or another and, focusing on this can really help decrease your stress levels.
Each morning/evening, take a few minutes to write down or say out loud 3 things that you’re grateful for. They even make gratitude journals that you can keep on your nightstand or gratitude apps you can download that will send you push notifications as daily reminders to record what you’re grateful for.
3. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT YOU’RE READING AND WATCHING
“Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, the people you hang around. Be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
It’s obviously important to be informed of what is happening in our community, country and the world, but tapping into the news and social media all day, every day, can really weigh on our emotions and increase stress.
Try to set limits with news and social media (30 minutes or 1 hours each day) and then follow them up with a positive/motivational podcast or listen to some upbeat music.
“Let exercise be your stress reliever, not food.”
Regular exercise is SO good for our bodies, especially as many of us sit at a desk or computer all day for our jobs. It improves circulation, builds muscle strength, increases flexibility, and boosts endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to our bodies and improves the efficiency of our cardiovascular system. When your heart and lungs work better, you work better.
I think by now we’re all familiar with the fact that exercise is important for physical health, but it’s also VITAL for mental health. Exercising boosts endorphins in the brain, reducing stress. It’s “meditation in motion.” This isn’t speculation, it’s been medically proven that exercise can lower symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
This doesn’t mean you have to join Crossfit tomorrow, it’s ANY form of exercise. Whether it’s taking a walker hike with your dog, paddling around in the pool or at the beach with your kids, hitting the golf course with a friend, or doing a HIIT workout in your garage. ANY form of exercise reduces stress, whether it be 10 minutes or 60 minutes! GET MOVING!
"If you stretch correctly and regularly, you will find that every movement you make becomes easier."
I feel like a broken record sometimes (much like I’m sure a dentist feels in regards to telling their patients to floss): you MUST STRETCH every single day! Even if it’s for 5 minutes (preferably more), stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong and healthy. Flexibility is mobility! When we don’t stretch, our muscle become tight and shorten, increasing pain and potential for injury.
So, I’m sure I know what you’re thinking at this point…what does stretching have to do with de-stressing?! I’m here to tell you that you can “Stretch Your Stress Away” every day.
By putting on a YouTube gentle stretching or yoga video for 15-60 minutes, you’re going to reduce stress by relieving muscle tension. Stretching will help you relax and, if done at the end of day while you’re binge watching your favorite Netflix show, you’ll even sleep better!
6. BONUS: PLAN A FACETIME OR ZOOM DATE
"Sometimes, just spending some quality time with good friends is the only therapy you need."
Being isolated can be so difficult for many of us, as we are social creatures by nature. Thankfully, we have technology! Plan a facetime or zoom date with a family member or friend (not someone that stresses you out though, please).
Have a glass of wine or some tea and relax while catching up with someone who brings joy to your life, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel afterward!
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