Stress is unavoidable. It’s a part of life. While you navigate the holidays and try to steer yourself in the right direction in the new year, you may be wondering -- what can I do to relieve this stress besides drinking a whole bottle of wine with dinner? There is a way! Just follow these healthy ways to relieve stress.
Exercise. I know. It’s cold outside. You’re snuggled under a blanket and you don’t want to do anything but watch Netflix. When your feet hit the cold floor, the last thing you want to do is exercise. But listen, if you really want to relieve stress -- even during this busy season -- you have to move. Exercise reduces stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Movement increases endorphins -- the feel good chemicals that can combat stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself if you’re feeling stressed. And it doesn’t have to be training for a marathon -- walking for 10-15 minutes, doing gentle stretching or yoga, and dancing are all going to give you significant stress-relieving benefits.
Just breathe. Maybe you truly don’t have time -- or let’s be honest, the motivation -- to make it to yoga today. Don’t let that get in the way of the self-care and stress relief you need. Just doing breathing exercises can provide serious relaxation and stress relief. When we are anxious and stressed, we tend to breathe quick and shallow. Breathing deep and slow tells you body, “It’s ok to relax. We are calm.” Try this easy exercise anytime you feel overwhelmed (this can be done pretty much anywhere) -- 1) Breathe slowly in through your nose for 4 counts. 2) Exhale through your mouth for 4 counts. 3) repeat until you feel calmer. 4) Be amazed at how easy this all is.
Massage. You knew this was going to come up right? But of course, massage is a healthy alternative to drinking a gallon of spiked eggnog at the end of a long week. On top of its countless health benefits, massage is a perfect way to relieve stress and truly relax. In just one hour (or less) you could be leaving the massage table in a completely different state of mind. Treat yourself!