Though doctor’s often say we need to cut down on our stress, sometimes stress is unavoidable. A death in a family can cause not only mind-numbing grief, but send a family into finacial turmoil—right at the point you have the least emotional strength to deal with it. A single mom can be working several jobs all while fighting hard to make sure she’s spending the kind of time with her children necessary to raise them properly. A prolonged layoff with no new prospects on the horizon and a family to feed can leave someone feeling helpless.
When a stressful moment occurs, our brains signal a fight or flight response. When the danger is over, our bodies should go back to normal. Unfortunately, for those with prologed stress, our bodies never quiet get back to normal. Those times in our lives put our body into overdrive, affecting multiple systems. Your blood pressure increases, your blood vessels develop issues, putting you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Muscle tension leads to headaches and pain on a daily basis, which has the unwelcome affect of increasing your stress further. Finally, the constant cortisol release compromises your immune system.
What if you can’t do anything about the causes of your stress? I have good news for you. There are stress management techniques that are easy to do that can give your health the boost it needs.
Relieve Stress By Putting Yourself in Time-Out
Sometimes just sitting down and taking a deep breath will help reset your body, at least in the short term. Sit somewhere quiet. Even just a few minutes helps. If you’re the mom of young children, you may have to dash off to the restroom and lock the door. Take some deep breaths. Give yourself a minute to think. Of course, moms of little ones may only get a moment before the banging on the door starts.
Escape with a book. Just fifteen minutes of reading a day can help reset your mind and give you a break.
Relieve Stress By Finding a Creative Outlet
There is just something about taking time to express yourself (in a healthy, non internet troll way) that does wonders to relieve stress. And yes, we’re all busy, but taking an hour a week to yourself to do something creative will reap benefits for your mind and body far beyond anything else you can accomplish in that same amount of time.
Do you play piano? Write? Paint? If not, now might be the time to try your hand. There are books and videos galore at the library that can teach you any number of creative skills.
Relieve Stress By Exercising
Exercising is a fantastic way to reduce stress and is even known to help relieve the symptoms of depression. During your activity, your brain releases endorphins. These do two wonderful things for your stress. First, it decreases your pain receptors and therefore can help with the achiness that often comes with stress. Second, those same hormones give you a feeling of well being, some describe it as euphoria.
If you’re in the middle of a high-stress period of your life, try one (or all three) of these stress management strategies. Your mind and body will thank you.