We can’t avoid it; stress is a part of life.
Left unchecked, stress inevitably wreaks havoc on your body, mind and soul.
We wanted to share the top 7 most powerful stress relief tools we use to stay healthy and at ease at the studio.
But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important to adopt your own set of stress relief coping skills.
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress itself does not have to be bad. It is a reaction from your body to keep you safe and alert in challenging or dangerous times. In its most useful form this ‘fight or flight’ system response kicks in to remove/resolve the stressor and you then go back to being your positive, resilient self.
Sometimes, however, we run into what’s known as chronic stress. 😩 When the stressors you experience are ongoing, frequent or the result of an unresolved trauma triggering unhealthy patterns of thinking, the frequent fight or flight reaction turns toxic.
This type of chronic stress can lead to a condition we call distress.
Distress can lead to muscle pain, tension, aches, depression, and anxiety, digestive disorders, autoimmune flare ups, skin problems and so on.
HOW DO YOU REACT TO STRESS?
Knowing how your mind and body react to stress is crucial. ✨ If you see yourself acting out or exhibiting some of your go-to symptoms of stress, it’s time to respond with a dose of healthy course correction.
Some symptoms you may experience because of stress includes:
Tension in shoulder and neck muscles.
Not being able to sleep.
HOW TO RESPOND
Below are a few of our favorite ways we combat stress.
1. TUNE INTO YOUR BODY
It sounds simple but this habit is powerful when it comes to stress relief. 🙏🏼 Mindfulness helps you be aware of and regulate your body's go-to (unhealthy) stress responses.
This skill starts with being present. Step into the present moment and take a mental scan your body. Get a sense of how you’re feeling and maybe how stress is affecting you.
Lie back and really feel every area of your body from the crown of your head to your toes. Notice if there is any pain or if you are unconsciously holding tension anywhere.
See if you can relax a little more.
2. BREATHE DEEPLY
Breathe into your belly. Fill you low back and let your rib cage expand with breath.
After a few rounds of slow, deep breath, just focus on the exhale.
Your parasympathetic nervous system (resting state) kicks in on the exhale. 🖤 Your blood flows back to your belly and you’re able to digest, relax and think more clearly when you focus on a deep, complete exhale.
One of our favorite ways of decompressing is with a heat wrap.
Place it around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes, close your eyes, relax your face, neck, jaw and shoulders. 🥰
A shoulder massage is helpful after about 10 minutes of relaxation You can use your hands, a gua sha tool or a tennis ball to relieve some of that tension.
If you are working from home these days, take 30 minutes to transition from 'work mode' to 'rest mode' with a relaxing or refocusing activity like:
watching your favorite show
going for a walk
whipping up a snack
working on a hobby
Consider it your daily commute 😉
5. GET SOCIAL
When dealing with a stressor, talk to others face to face, (or at least on the phone.) Share what’s going on. Let others lift you up and care for you. They may be able to carry the load a bit or give you a fresh perspective on your situation.
Bonus Points: Laugh with them, exercise, or listen to music together. These activities are known to decrease cortisol (stress hormone) and increase endorphins.
6. PROTECT YOUR SLEEP SCHEDULE
Take control of your sleep schedule and quality. Set yourself up for 7-8 hours of restful, recovering sleep every night.
Of course, there’s room for grace with this one, but saying NO for the sake of stress relief is a beautiful thing. Set yourself a bed time and stick to it!
7. INTERRUPT ANXIETY WITH GRATITUDE
Sometimes, all it takes to resolve your mental stress is a bit of gratitude.
Remember all the things that are going right in your life. Celebrate accomplishments and new experiences. Your brain is wired to protect you and solve problems and life’s concerns can overwhelm your thought life.
Combat the overwhelming negativity with a gratitude practice on a consistent basis.
MICHELLE'S FAVORITE STRESS RELIEF TOOLS
We hope this helps! If you're dealing with muscle pain or tension today, schedule an appointment with our massage therapist and we'd be happy to help you get back to living an easeful, stress-free life :)