How to Give Holiday and Other Stress the Boot
By Sandy Schroeder
Life is too important to let stress diminish the joy. If you have had it with the holiday stress cycle, for example, give your mind and body a break with these tips from nbcmontana.com.
Use the power of compassion – Researchers say reaching out to others help individuals lower stress, and reduce pain. Try this compassion meditation: Think of someone who needs help. Close your eyes and repeat, “I wish you peace. I wish you love. I wish you happiness.”
Roll out muscle tightness – Use a massage ball or foam roller to untie muscle knots. Roll out hips, legs and back using moderate pressure and focusing on the tightest areas. Look for travel-sized rollers and vibrating massage balls online or in sports shops.
Breathe your way through– Psychologists tell us it only takes 90 seconds to achieve a relaxation response using breath. The heart rate slows, blood pressure drops and stress hormones back off. Close your eyes and lengthen each breath, making each exhale a sigh of relief. Take five deep breaths. Then open your eyes and see if everything looks better.
Hang on to your workout – You may not be able to fit in your regular gym time during the holidays, but making room for smaller sessions at home will still give you some of exercise’s stress relief. Use jumping jacks, squats, push-ups and planks. For yoga, you can put your legs straight up the wall after a long day, or do one-legged tree poses while you work in the kitchen.
Stay hydrated – Even slight dehydration can increase cortisol, the stress hormone that feeds irritability, tiredness and worry. For every glass of wine or beer that you have, drink a glass of water. Add water to each meal and start your morning with water. Look for electrolyte water at the market to keep your system running smoothly, and counteract the effects of holiday drinks.
Keep saying thank you – Practicing gratitude can give you an energy lift, boost your immune system, fight anxiety and strengthen relationships. One couple set up a whiteboard in their bathroom and made a habit of listing three things daily that they were grateful for. They said it added a new dimension to their relationship.
See what works for you. If foam rollers, deep breathing or compassion meditations ease your stress, keep going, and pass the tips along.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brea, Calif.