Simple one-minute stress relief strategies
It has been a long summer! This past week or so has certainly tested my strength and patience. The kids are bored and fed up; There isn’t a lot of “nice” flowing through our house right now. I am losing the plot several times a day; my tolerance for “kid crap” is wearing VERY thin!
I can go from 0-60 in about five nanoseconds. Therefore, I decided (for my sanity and the kids’ safety!) to do a little research and find some simple stress relief strategies.
I think we will all benefit from a break from each other once September rolls around!
We feel stressed when we are under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. Our level of stress can also be linked directly to our health. High levels can leave us feeling run down and under the weather.
We can’t always prevent stress, but fortunately, there are lots of stress relief strategies we can try to help alleviate the “overwhelm” throughout the day.
Generally speaking as parents we don’t get a lot of time to ourselves, so taking a nice long soak in the bath or sitting with a coffee and a good book for an hour is often out of the question.
Hence my gift to you! ……
Some simple one-minute stress relief strategies that can make a real difference in how we handle stress.
When we are tense, we breathe from the upper part of the chest. A long full deep breath will help relieve that ‘tight chest” feeling.
Take a deep breath and allow your abdomen to expand fully. Hold it for about 3 seconds. Breathe out, as you exhale relax your jaw and shoulders. Think calm thoughts.
Focus on one muscle group and tense ( you may find your fists already clenched !) Release and take note of the relaxation.
Take a deep breath and hold it as you curl your toes for about 5 seconds, then let your breath go all at once. Don’t ease off — let go completely!
Next clench your calves, thighs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, jaw and finally squeeze your eyelids. Release quickly as the wave of relaxation releases the tension build up.
(You may need to lock yourself in the bathroom for this one!)
Close your eyes and regulate your breathing. Next, in your mind, go to the place you love. This place can be somewhere you have been, and you felt at peace, or just anywhere you imagine yourself feeling calm. Block everything else out and sit using all your senses. Feel yourself in comfortable clothes, hear pleasant sounds, see beautiful colours and smell the air around you; breathe in the serenity.
Visit this spot whenever you need to relax. Take a mini-holiday!
Keep a gratitude journal
Take one moment every day to find something you are grateful for in life. Write it down; your journal can be something as simple as a piece of paper stuck to the fridge. When a situation becomes overwhelming, use your journal to reflect and look at all the things for which you are grateful. Pick a word and use it as your mantra, focus on it and smile, even when you don’t feel like it; Smile!
Create a worry box
First, you will need a box (any box will do) and a pad of post-it size papers. This box will allow you to let go of your worries and stresses mentally. Having a place to contain your fears, quite literally, will help you set them aside so that you can focus on the more pleasurable and meaningful parts of your day.
Having a place to contain your worries, quite literally, will help you set them aside so that you can focus on the more pleasurable and meaningful parts of your day.
As you begin to feel, the negative thoughts, worries, or concerns build up, write them down on your slips of paper and deposit them in the box. Once they are in the box forget about them, now focus on something new and reset your mind.
Deflate cognitive distortions
Once you learn to recognise and banish negative thought processes life will become a little more comfortable. There is definitely something to be said for the power of the mind.
When those pesky negative thoughts crop up, this is what you need to do.
Stop – Consciously call a mental time out!
Breathe – Take deep breaths to release tension build up
Reflect – Ask yourself some difficult questions and be completely honest with yourself as you answer.
Ask, Is this thought or belief valid? Am I jumping to conclusions? Do I have any evidence to back this up? Is there another way to view this situation? Does thinking this way help my situation?
Choose – Decide how to deal with this source of stress. Can you recognise that your thoughts could be distorted and let them go? Is the problem real? If so what steps can you take to deal with the problem?
One step at a time
Managing and coping with stress takes practice. It isn’t always easy to put these simple stress relief strategies to use, especially when daily difficulties (kids!) seem relentless. However, on re-programming your thoughts and understanding that the way we deal with each situation can massively impact our health and well-being.
Making a conscious effort to put our old habits to bed and trying a new approach can prevent the feeling that life is spiralling out of your control. Recognise each day as a new beginning; Yesterday is history it is gone and therefore can’t be changed. Be aware you will need to work on creating solutions to problems rather than letting them consume you.
Give yourself grace, stop putting yourself under too much pressure, the first step to coping with stress is realising the power of your own mind; Remeber you are doing your best, and that is the best you can do.
Do you need some top tips for staying mentally healthy?
Do you struggle to cope with stress daily? Or do you have any tried and tested coping mechanisms you could share?