Reduce Stress by Being On Time

Punctuality can make a world of difference for everyone. Some people seem like they are born to always be early to everything and don’t know the meaning of being late, while others, you can bet on being at least 20 minutes late and if they’re on time, it’s shocking! But let’s take a moment to talk about the benefits of being on time. I am NOT an expert in being punctual–I have been known to be a chronically late person. However, I have made huge strides in this arena to overcome the stress of being late and the deeper ramifications that can accompany tardiness.

 

When you are constantly running late, it raises your cortisol levels, your stress hormone. You’re more likely to speed along and not pay as close attention to things around you and you might even get in an accident, which will create more stress.

 

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Here are some ways to help you be more punctual.

  1. Lie to yourself. If you have an appointment at 3, tell yourself it’s at 2:30. Put appointments in your phone as being before they actually are. Set your clock on your car ahead so you have that sense of urgency. When you start lying to yourself a little bit, it starts carving new neuropathways in your brain and makes you think that 2:50 is 3:00.
  2. Count minutes. One thing that can be insidious is the idea that something will “only take a minute.” Well, how many minutes are you using? If it takes you 2 minutes to put your hair in a bun and 1 minute to put on lipstick and 1 minute to decide what scarf you want to wear and 1 minute to tie the scarf how you want and 2 minutes to brush your teeth and …. Do you see how those minutes start adding up? Right now, we are at 7 minutes! Now that might not seem like a lot, but that’s 7 minutes you are now late. And in those 7 minutes, another car accident could have happened and now you have a detour you have to take that tacks on another 4-6 minutes to your commute. Now you’re 11-13 minutes late! Counting minutes makes you more aware of how you’re spending your time.
  3. Driving time is different than how much time it takes to get there. This is something that’s an interesting thought, and I don’t think many people think much about it. Say it takes you 20 minutes of driving time to get where you need to go. That means you can leave 20 minutes before you have to be there, right? WRONG! That’s JUST your driving time! That doesn’t include grabbing everything you need before you leave the house, putting your shoes / coat / hat / etc. on, getting in your car, buckling up, starting your car (maybe giving it a minute to warm up), making sure doors are locked, or needing to wait to get out of your driveway for some reason. It doesn’t take into account if there’s road construction, a car accident, if you get pulled over, getting stopped at all of the red lights, waiting for a train, and countless other things that could happen while you’re on the road. It doesn’t add in the time it takes for you to find parking, grab all of your things, walk to where you need to go, talk to the right person, get situated for being present at that place, and any other event that might come up. Just because it’s a 5 minute drive doesn’t mean it takes you 5 minutes to get there.
  4. Set timers. If you have 15 minutes to do makeup, set a timer. Once that timer is done, you’re done! No more! Walk away! That’s all you got! You can’t finish it! You gotta go! If you have 20 minutes to watch a show for a bit of a break, don’t watch an episode of Scandal or Sherlock! 20 minutes gives you ALMOST an episode of Parks and Recreation. You’re better off watching a quick Nickelodeon show or just reading a book for 20 minutes.
  5. Know yourself. I personally am unreliable before 10 am. I constantly try to work on it, however, my job also makes it easy for me to not work before 10 am. More people want to come in after work and on weekends, and not usually before work. Starting my day at 10 am or later and working later works for me. Don’t lie to yourself and say you can be up and lively at 5 am if you can’t! Be honest with yourself and know yourself. People will respect you more if you’re just honest.
  6. Raise the bar. Really, you need to start holding yourself to a higher standard. Maybe I’m being rude and you won’t like me after this, but it comes down to your priorities. Is it more important for you to have those extra minutes? Or is it important to you to be punctual and viewed as reliable and dependable?

 

By implementing some of these into your life, you will find more peace in your day. These will give you an opportunity to find Mindful Minutes throughout your day. When you get into your car, take a minute to sit and breathe and remember you’re in a 1 ton + machine that carries your precious life in it. Take that extra breath before you turn onto a road. When you get to work, grab yourself a beverage and either make a mental or physical list of the things you MUST accomplish that day. When you are on time, or even early, you get to add in more intention to your life.

 

Written by Marissa Orchard

Stress Kills; We Can Help

Many people might think that massage is too expensive or just a luxury, not a necessity. Some might say, “Only people with butlers and maids who send their clothes off to be dry cleaned and buttons sewn back on can afford it. Besides, it’s only good to relax, and I don’t have an hour to sit with cucumbers on my eyes!” Well, stress kills, and we can help.

With the every-day stresses that accompany our daily lives, stress can be a really silent, slow killer. The only way you can escape it is if you are a care-free three-year-old only playing and eating what you want! We, as a society, tend to over-stretch our glutes and back muscles while shortening our pecs and hamstrings, just to be very general. We have forward head posture, which causes Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which can cause headaches and does cause numbness in our hands. We spend hours at computers working and Facebooking and watching TV or YouTube in awful positions that end up causing us pain or muscle strain. We spend loads of time texting and on our phone and while we are talking about phones, we still try to hold our skinny smart phones between our ear and shoulder while we are talking on it. We get in car accidents, slip on ice, fall down stairs, stub our toes and run into things. And that’s not even getting into the psychological stresses: deadlines, weddings, divorces, kids, no kids, kids sports and activities, church or other volunteer opportunities, pets, significant others, roommates, parents, siblings, extended family, in-laws, job changes, job promotions, new managers, new co-workers, losing jobs, sleep deprivation, sickness, technology not working, phone contracts, internet installation, turning 50, pluming issues, car work, and the list goes on.

 

Stress of any kind raises cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Cortisol is good. It’s that feeling you get that lights a fire under you so you do what you need to do. It regulates your metabolism and blood sugar levels; it’s anti inflammatory and helps with memory storage in your brain; it regulates your blood pressure. So you can’t just remove it from your body and call it good. If you were to do that, you would have all sorts of other bad symptoms. Too much cortisol can lead to high blood pressure, osteoporosis, weight gain, mood swings, and muscle weakness.

 

You can regulate its production by one of many de-stressing ways:

  • Go for a walk
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Learn how to say no (especially when your plate is full)
  • Voice your feelings, in a healthy, respectful way
  • Do yoga
  • Accept things you cannot change
  • Write in a journal
  • Listen to music
  • Be less busy
and, of course….
  • Get a massage
Massage can lower cortisol levels. An old CNN article pointed out many benefits of massage, so this is not some new study you’ve never had access to. Massage works in helping with stress–physical, emotional, psychological, and sometimes even spiritual.
We also have some great essential oils that you can take with you everywhere you go. Check out our post about Stress Away.

101 Ways Massage Will Improve Your Life

Massage really has a million benefits, but here is a quick list of 101 ways massage can and does improve lives every day.

Psychological:

1. Reduce Stress

2. Reduce Anxiety

3. Reduces depression

4. Can help to gain new perspectives by relaxing the mind which can help create new neuropathways

5. An escape from life / mini vacation

6. Helps you become more self-aware by knowing what is going on in your body

7. Increase mindfulness

8. Boost mental health and wellness

9. Increase vitality

10. Increases sense of well-beingSpaFinder

11. Increases productivity

12. Can help increasing reaction time

13. Can increase alertness

14. Increase mental clarity

Physical:

15. Improves posture

16. Increase range of motion

17. Decrease chronic pain

18. Decrease tension headaches and frequency of migraines

19. Hydrates and revitalizes skin

20. Reduce spasms and cramping

21. Keeps discs healthy

22. Decreases pressure on the joints

23. Decrease stiffness

24. Help manage carpal tunnel

25. Decrease jaw pain

26. Help manage chronic jaw issues

27. Ease sciatica

28. Reduce tender points

29. Increases metabolism

30. Reduces lactic acid build up

31. Lower Blood pressure

32. Reduce acute pain

33. Increase blood flow

34. Increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues

35. Can aid in elimination

36. Ease pain in stomach from food poisoning

37. Ease chronic symptoms for post-polio sufferers

38. Increases blood flow to organs, allowing them to function better

39. Early detection of skin cancer

40. Help ease pain in clients in hospice care

41. Help ease painful oncology treatments

42. Reduces nausea in chemotherapy patients

43. Decrease and in some cases eliminate scar tissue

44. Strengthens immune system

45. Decreases recovery time post-surgery

46. In some cases, prevent surgery for tendonitis

47. Help decrease pain for sufferers of plantar faciitis

48. Lessen the effects of rheumatoid or osteoarthritis

49. Decrease numbness or tingling in extremities

50. Decrease the pain associated with scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis

51. Aid in recovery from strains or sprains

52. Decrease the pain from upper crossed syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome

53. Aid in sinus health

Athletics / Fitness:bigstock-athlete-running-sport-feet-on-44182534

54. Decreases recovery from workouts

55. Decreases recovery time from an injury

56. Makes exercise easier

57. Helps with exercise gains

58. Reduce muscle tension

59. Help athletes monitor muscle tone

60. Promote relaxation

61. Reduce muscle hypertonicity

62. Improve soft tissue function

63. Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state

64. Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high intensity exercise

65. Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise

66. Improve exercise performance

67. Decrease DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

68. Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise

69. Reduce swelling

70. Reduce irregular breathing patterns

71. Enhance athletic performance

72. May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly

73. Is the most efficient self-care regiment tor maintaining maximal athletic performance

Sleep and breathing:

74. Improve sleep

75. Increase sleep hours

76. Improve quality of sleep

77. Overcome feelings of fatigue

78. Practice deep breathing

79. Practice breathing

Pregnancy / women’s health:

80. Decrease discomfort during pregnancy

81. Assist in shorter, easier labor for expecting mothers

82. Decrease bloating, cramping, mood swings, and other PMS related symptoms

Hormones:

83. Balance hormones

84. Decrease urninary CRF-LI (a biochemical marker of stress-related symptoms

85. Decrease cortisol levels

86. Releases endorphines

Infants (Results of a case study):

87. Massage is a cost-effective therapy for pre-term infants.baby massage

88. Pre-term infants gained more weight with just 5 days of massage

89. Massage therapy by mothers in perinatal period serves as a strong time cue, enhancing coordination of the developing circadian system with environmental cues.

90. Over the 6-week period, the massage therapy infants gained more weight, showed greater improvement on emotionally, sociability, and soothability temperament dimensions and had greater decreases in urinary stress catecholamines/hormones (norepinepherine, epinephrine, cortisol).

91. Infants receiving massage showed fewer sleep delay behaviors and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study

92. Massage may have a stress reducing effect on pre-term infants in the NICU.

93. Reduction of illness and diarrheal episodes in orphaned children in Ecuador

Medications:

94. Decrease use of analgesics

95. Ease medication dependence

Overall:

96. Great place to start for making changes

97. Improve health status

98. Improve quality of life

99. Work well in an integrative treatment plan

100. Increase the improvement when paired with other alternative health regiments (chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, and more)

101. Valuable component of your wellness program

Sources:

MassageTherapy.com

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

Huffington Post

MedicineNet

American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)

Stretch Yourself

One of the best ways to prevent pain or limited range of motion is very simple. Stretch yourself! Muscles have four attributes that make a muscle a muscle: Contractility, the ability to shorten, or contract; elasticity, the ability to return to its normal state; irritability, the ability for the nervous system to tell it to do something; and extensibility, the ability to stretch. When you lose flexibility, you lose a very important aspect of that muscle.
LiveStrong says “Stretching is the unsung hero of exercise that keeps your muscles flexible, free from injury and feeling young.” They go on to say how massage and stretching are the best combination for workouts and muscle health for athletes. We have written two articles on how we love helping athletes, talking about Sports Massage and Meeting Your Fitness Goals.
The American Council on Exercise, or ACE, outlined their top 10 reasons to stretch. We agree with each of these reasons, but I wanted to outline a few of them:
  1. Helps to increase range of motion, which may also slow degeneration of joints.
  2. May reduce injury. Flexible muscles are less likely to experience an injury because you are working on one the the four attributes of muscles. Also, because it increases range of motion, your muscles have to extend farther to possibly injure itself.
  3. Improves posture. Because our society has us have a more rounded shoulder, forward head posture, stretching is the best thing you can do most consistently to help with your posture. We wrote an article that can give you more tips on improving your posture.
  4. Helps reduce stress. Well stretched muscles hold less tension and therefore, leave you feeling less stressed.
  5. Decreases pain. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar spine which in turn reduces the risk of low-back pain.
Stretching isn’t just for athletes and gym rats. Whether you have a physically demanding job like construction or you sit at a computer all day, stretching is one of the most important things you can do for your body, especially between massages. Stretching will help repetitive motion injuries or soreness just as much as it will help someone who just bench pressed 300 pounds.
While stretching is extremely important, as we’ve outlined, stretching correctly is just as important. While we are not yoga instructors at Under Pressure Therapeutics, we do train people how to stretch for their problem areas. Many of the stretches that we teach are yoga poses or modified yoga poses. It’s important to stretch all of the fibers of your muscles. If you have questions, contact your massage therapist.
If you haven’t thought about adding Yoga to your health regimen, please give it a thought. If you think that you can’t do yoga, think again. Yoga is not about contorting your body into these impossible positions. It’s about getting a stretch. It’s about bettering yourself. It’s about moving into a healthier you.