5 Helpful Strategies to Effectively Manage Stress Levels

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Over Christmas break when my kids were out of school for two weeks, we sat down to watch one of their favorite Netflix shows where these really strong-looking men and women compete by lifting really heavy things and jumping really far distances over water. I had never seen an episode before, and don't watch much TV, but.... my girls just love this show so I had to see what the fuss was! As we're watching, we are hearing stories of the athletes who are competing and a little bit about their backgrounds. One of them was a doctor from India, who became passionate for exercise to "manage stress levels from work." Wow! What a brilliant statement! If I was in need of a doctor for a serious condition, I would choose this guy! Connecting the fact that there will always be stress, but it needs to be managed in healthy ways is just the smartest statement I have heard this year! :-) (yes it's still only January but.....)
My morning quiet time....candle lit, tea or coffee made, and quiet.....

Stress reduction has so many benefits! When we are less stressed it's easier to breathe. Our respiratory system is an important organ that controls movement and flow. When we are less stressed clarity of thought comes easier. When working "smarter not harder" we can be more productive at everything we do.
What about the days, though, when we just don't have time, or money, or motivation? Of course, the words "stress-relief" and "spa day" go hand-in-hand, but not everyone has time, or money to enjoy spa days. And then of course there are the days when we need stress-relief the most and we find our motivation is very low or exhausted!
So, after some reflection on what works for me, and what I desire to work better for me this coming year, I put together a list of 5 strategies that I think are somewhat manageable for most people to incorporate into their daily lives.

5 Strategies to Manage Stress Levels

1. Exercise. This is a no-brainer. Any exercise is great! Stretching, running, walking, the gym, weight-lifting, yoga, cross-fit, etc. It works best when it comes a habit. Specific times during the day for busy schedules on a regular basis make it happen much easier. Skin looks so much better when the body eliminates waste through sweat. I can't say enough about the benefits of exercise!

2. Quiet Time. I try to get up every day at least 1/2 hour before everyone else just to have time to think, write, light a candle, have a cup of coffee or tea, and just be. It makes such a difference! If your quiet time isn't first thing in the morning, what is the perfect time of day for you to find this for yourself?

3. Hot Towels. It doesn't take long to warm up washcloths in the sink with hot water to use for applying over the front and back of neck and chest areas. Apply warm steamy towels will give you a few minutes of easy breathing and calmness.

4. Music to my ears! The sound of music in the air can change the whole mood, especially for children in the house! Some ideas for music could include:
Morning ~ positive, happy, uplifting beats
Afternoon/Dinner-time ~ jazz, blues, reggae, folk (I try to expose my children to a wide variety of genres during dinner)
Bedtime ~ Classical, spa, or nature-themed

5. Self-Massage. If you don't have time to get a professional massage, try these tips at home:
~ Rub your foot on a golf ball for a quick, easy foot massage.
~ Take a tennis ball and put it between the wall and your back and rub up and down and around your back area to ease tension.
~ Rub the area on your hand between your thumb and forefinger. This pressure point holds a lot of stress in the hands and rubbing it can instantly relieve tension.
~ Give yourself a hand or foot rub by using a body balm, body butter, or body oil. Rub the moisturizer in between your hands to warm it before applying.

There are so many more stress-relieving methods out there, but these are a few that I'm personally going to be incorporating more of in 2018! I hope that at least one of these tips can be helpful to your daily lives. Are there any specific stress-relieving methods that work best for you? I would love to hear them!


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