We don’t plan for stress. Nobody sane would. Yet it seems, dear readers, that stress is a big issue. Our lives are all about demanding jobs, constant pressure to be bigger, to do better things, and at home things are crazy, hectic and we just don’t have the luxury of slowing down. Stress sucks. Period. It’s your poor body’s way of responding to unreasonable demands. When you’re stressed, in either a good way or a bad way, your muscles tense, rapid breathing, like you’re on a thrill ride, and your body tries to distribute oxygen and blood quickly to your body core, your heart rate, and blood sugar level increases. Take it from me, it’s not pretty. My husband has learned this the hard way, a couple of heart attacks and mini-strokes later.
I know that it is improbable and impossible to completely eliminate stress from our lives, and that’s OK. Stress challenges us and gives us that rush of adventurous excitement that helps us grow. But, too much stress and we burnout. So, how do we stress less and live more? Read on for three simple life hacks to relax.
- Breathe. Sounds so simple. There’s no one size fits all for stress, but controlled breathing does work. As a new student to meditation, the first thing I was taught was deep breathing, the kind that sucks up the air from the pit of the universe. It takes you away from yourself. Done properly, it can totally relax and refresh. This is one of my go to meditations, try it, you’ll like it! https://youtu.be/xh_JRH95Cpo
- Take a Break. Guilty. This is something I am still figuring out. I have to learn what triggers that desperate sense of freak out and take a breather. It doesn’t matter how much you enjoy your work, house, friends, we all spread ourselves a little too thin. And, if like me, insomnia is your nighttime pal, well, it’s a bad combination. Take a break, read a book, have a coffee, watch a YouTube video. Take ten to calm your brain, and refocus your cardio system. A little secret, that ten-minute power nap/rest. Don’t think of being unproductive, lazy or selfish, it’s a necessity.
- Move it. I know, how many times do we hear that we need to get moving. Exercise, the modern cure-all. But, it is scientifically proven to boost your mood, reduce stress and the benefits are tangible. My favorite, as I mention often, is to get outdoors. Nature is a fantastic mood lifter too.
Alright I know I said three hacks, but one more for the bonus round. A hug. You know I adore Leo Buscaglia, and he really hit this one on the nose. Scientifically proven, a hug or cuddle can instantly boost your mood. Your cortisol levels spike with stress, and this can weaken your immune system. When you indulge in a squishy puppy cuddle (or have human contact,) your brain releases oxytocin, remember, the happy hormone? https://www.morningbeansblog.com/the-art-of-being-happy/
OK then, recap. Breathe. Know when to take a break. Get active. Get a hug or give a hug; it’s like free therapy! And of course, stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕️