Relax Your Way Out of Stress
By Candice Cason, M.Ed., Director, Division of Addictions and Mental Health
Will the holidays put you in a worry mode again this year? Try these stress relievers!
Set aside time to fret. Write down everything you have to do, should have done or wished you had said. List what’s bothering you, angering you and making you anxious. Then, either write down an action step for the worry, or cross it off and move on!
Drink water and eat high fiber foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, and cereals or breads) to flush your system. Products with sugar, salt or caffeine may elevate stress levels. Take 15 or 20 minutes to eat a small meal without distractions.
Exercise! It increases the body’s built-in, anti-anxiety hormones and releases pleasure-producing endorphins, helping you feel calmer.
Get a massage. Many experience a drop in blood pressure, an increase in circulation, and relaxation in strained muscles. A massage can speed the release of endorphins.
Brush your skin! The skin has thousands of nerve-end fibers and, when properly stimulated, they decrease muscular tension and induce relaxation. Try a back brush or loofah in a warm shower.
Try out deep-belly breathing in bed. Eyes closed, lying on back, gently place your hands on your belly. Inhale and exhale, feeling your belly expand and contract. Visualize your navel and spine meeting. Repeat, until you are in slumberland!