According to mental health therapists, this past year has been one for the books in terms of stress. Even 18 months after the start of the pandemic they’re still seeing record numbers of people suffering from anxiety who can’t quite break the cycle.
Have no fear. Although there are serious mental health situations that require guidance from an MD, there are many ways to manage the daily stress that we’ve been feeling, and it’s something we should make a priority.
So, if you’ve drunk all the chamomile tea you can stomach and you’re still stressed, we’ve got a few quick and effective ways to relax and lower your heart rate that will leave you feeling post-luxury massage without the high price tag.
When we’re constantly stressed, our adrenal glands become overloaded and our bodies can’t tell the difference between running away from a bear or being annoyed from sitting in traffic.
And while those adrenal glands jumping into action serve a very important function, when they’re overloaded on a daily, weekly, or even yearly basis they aren’t able to produce the amount of hormones the body needs to function properly.
And that’s a problem we don’t want you to have. So if the stress you’re dealing with isn’t a medical emergency, these tips will help you lay your head on the pillow at night with a clear mind and calm body.
Move your body
Walk, run, jump on a trampoline, or go out with your friends and dance. Not only will it get your mind off any stressful situation you might be dealing with, but it will boost your endorphins, which decreases stress.
Do something creative
Don’t fancy yourself an artist? It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to paint a picture on a canvas, even grabbing an adult coloring book will help get your right brain going and distract you from whatever is causing you stress. And yes, coloring with your toddler counts too!
Put down your phone and turn off notifications from your apps. Not only does staring at a screen nonstop cause stress, it can also disrupt your sleep and even cause depression. Instead of scrolling, read a book, put on a sheet mask and take a power nap, or spend time with people you love - those who make you laugh, not stress you out.
Once you’ve unplugged, you can move on to our last suggestion that will really take your stress down a notch - or 20.
Take Your Vitamins
Research proves that keeping certain vitamin levels balanced can help our mood and stress levels, so it’s a quick and easy way to stay centered and calm - and also keep our cells healthy while we’re at it.
“Stress” can refer to either the mental stress we feel from being overwhelmed or physical stress that our bodies encounter on a cellular level, which can then have an effect on how the body functions as a whole.
Our resident nutritionist, Keri Glassman, stresses the importance of eating your vitamins as much as possible, but also promotes taking supplements when chewing 50 pounds of vegetables won’t cut it. There are certain vitamins that she always recommends to her clients and we’ve made sure to include them in our supplements.
B vitamins help us optimize energy from the food we eat, Vitamins A, C, and E are powerful antioxidants, which help us keep damage from free radicals at bay. If you don’t know where to start, check out our Multivitamin, developed with Keri, to provide just the right amount of the vitamins you need to thrive.
A restorative yoga pose combined with a breathing exercise, thanks to an increase of oxygen, will have you feeling like jelly in no time. Restorative poses are designed to open the body in a gentle and comfortable way, while engaging our parasympathetic nervous system to take us into a resting state. The following pose allows you to let the body settle into the pillow to open the shoulders and relax the torso, while supporting the legs in a butterfly position releases the hips from the stress.
Supine Bound Angle:
- Grab a yoga bolster or a hard pillow from your couch to support you in a reclining position.
- Lying on your back, bend your knees and bring the feet to the floor as close to your seat as is comfortable.
- Slowly open your knees out wide and bring the soles of your feet together.
- You want to feel a nice stretch in the inner groin, but not as though anything feels like it’s being pulled too much.
- Extend your tailbone toward the heels, and reach the crown of your head in the opposite direction, lengthening the spine.
- Place the palms, face-up, next to your hips, and relax your shoulders down toward the mat, away from the ears.
- Lastly, soften your face, eyes, jaw, neck, and throat, coming into a nice even breath.
Want to get even more chill? Add this breathing exercise.
As you learn to control the breath to an even 1:2 ratio, the body relaxes and the mind becomes peaceful. If you can’t do this in the pose above, this can be done while waiting for your kids after soccer practice. Begin to take full deep breaths, creating a steady inhale and exhale; then mentally count the length of each inhale and exhale. Gradually begin to extend your exhale so that it eventually doubles the inhale. For example, if you are working with an inhale of four, then you will exhale to eight. Once you find your rhythm without any strain, try to stick with it for at least 10 rounds of inhales and exhales, or longer if you can. You’ll instantly feel calmer after only a few rounds.
Pick one or try them all, we promise you’ll feel less stressed in only a few minutes with any of these suggestions - unless your toddler is having a meltdown next to you, then you might need to try all of them at once.
If you do feel overwhelmed by the amount of stress you’re experiencing it’s important to seek help. Mentalhealth.gov has incredible resources.
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