Written by Eleanor Le Fevre
National Stress Awareness Month, sounds silly right? Really if you think about stress and its effect on your body, mind, and spirit, EVERY month should be stress awareness month! Chronic stress is linked to the 6 leading causes of death including heart disease and cancer. Stress! Can you believe it?
We are a society who thrives on stress; deadlines, the constant need to be going and doing, staying connected to society at all times. Our blanket response to “How are you” is either “Busy” or “Stressed” at least I know that is my response. According to the American Institute of Stress, 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago and 3 of 4 doctor’s visits are due to stress related illnesses. Not surprising when stress is linked to 60% of all illness and disease.
So what does stress look like for you? Are you overtired or not sleeping well? Secretly noshing on chocolate in the middle of your day? Are you feeling extra tension in your neck and shoulders, or sometimes find it difficult to take a deep breath? Or do you have chronic stomach issues that will just not go away? These are signs and symptoms of being over stressed, so what can we do about that?
Here are a list of 8 things I want you to work on right now to help you combat stress:
- Turn off your phone! (That’s right people turn it off!) When you get home tonight just completely unplug and do not switch back on until the morning.
- Sit outside and breathe. Tress are blooming and birds are singing right now! Go outside for just 5 mins and sit in silence, listen, and breathe!
- Notice your breathing patterns. Is it shallow? Are you hunched over? Try this; stand up and place your hands over your belly button. Now inhale and fill your belly to 80% capacity, then allow the next 20% to inflate and lift your chest. Reverse the motion on the exhale letting breath out of chest then belly. Repeat 10 times and be mindful of how you feel afterwards.
- Say no to things you do not want to do. (Within reason) I’m talking about the extraneous stuff that we don’t HAVE to do but feel like we SHOULD. Just don’t do them today, and don’t worry about doing them either.
- Book a massage! Now I wouldn’t be a good massage therapist if I wasn’t trying to promo the office at least a little bit. Seriously though! We are specialists in the field of stress reduction, this is what we do!
- Take a bubble bath! Lock the kids (or furry children in my case) out of the bathroom. Light some candles and put on some soft music and just lay there for 20 mins.
- Lay off the coffee. I know I have no room to talk on this matter, since coffee is essentially my life force. Try some herbal tea, water or seltzer water after the clock strikes noon. It will reduce your anxiety levels and help you wind down throughout the day instead of keeping you amped up. You’ll be ready for your bed as soon as you hit the pillow and have less tossing and turning at night.
- Lavender oil – super beneficial for relaxation and stress reduction. Try adding a couple of drops to some lotion and give yourself a little leg and foot massage before bed, or put some in a diffuser overnight. As a bonus we’re running a special 20% off Lavender oil this month so it’s a good time to stock up! Or if Lavender isn’t your jam I recommend YL’s Stress Away. It’s a light scent and amazing in a diffuser.
Give some of these a try over the next week and take note of how you feel. Less stressed? Excellent.