In today’s society, we are expected to wear many hats. Some of us not only wear them but, also design and make our hats too. Being a parent is a perfect example of a high-stress situation and when you have a special needs child the level can sky rocket. Research has shown low to moderate levels of stress are actually good for us because it keeps us moving and motivated. However, high levels of stress are considered as big “no-nos” because of the harm it does to the body. It is suggested that when you start to feel stressed you take a break and do something relaxing to lighten the load. The question is, “what are we supposed to do for relaxation?” If you are a person that is used to spending most of their day multitasking and being nothing less than a superhero, how do you turn it off for some “me time”?
I recently had this conversation with a group of parents in attempts of finding out what people do to de-stress and unwind. With that information, I came up with a top 10 list for taking a breather.
1: Take a walk- a 10 minute stroll around the block can do wonders when it comes to clearing your head. When you start to feel overwhelmed, go outside and take in the sights and sounds of nature.
2. Listen to music- This is one of my favorite ways to mellow out. Music can really change your mood. With cool apps like Pandora and IHeartRadio, you can easily find your favorites.
3. Laugh- We have all heard of the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” and there is a lot of truth to it. Finding a funny book or watching a light-hearted sitcom or comic can quickly lower your stress level. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter actually causes more oxygen to enter the blood stream, relaxes tense muscles and improves blood circulation, all activities that reduce stress levels
4. Read a book of interest- This can be any kind of book as long as it is enjoyable and is a distraction from all the other chaos going on in your life. Read up about a favorite celebrity, a place you want to visit or a hobby you may want to learn more about or start.
5. Work on a hobby- Speaking of hobbies, working on one is a wonderful way to relieve stress. Some of the most popular hobbies according to 2014 surveys include: jewelry design, knitting/sewing, traveling, scrapbooking, photography, reading, camping, fishing and using social media.
6. Take a bath- Soaking in warm water relieves tension. Adding different types of bath salts and scents can turn the experience from ordinary to spa like. Turning off the lights and using candles is also a nice touch that can take your mind off of things and heighten the level of relaxation.
7. Work out- Sounds crazy to suggest working out if you are already feeling overwhelmed and stressed but, exercise has many benefits when it comes to stress. Exercising can help you organize your thoughts, lighten your mood and releases endorphins, better as “the feel-good” chemical.
8. Take a nap- Nothing helps the body recuperate like a good ole fashioned nap. There is a lot of research being conducted about naps including what is the optimal amount of time for them. While I personally would love to hear them say an hour nap is best, it looks more like 15 to 20 minutes being the amounts of time most recommended.
9. Meditate-Meditation is an activity that has been around for centuries. It is the process of clearing your mind and focusing on slowing down the body by releasing negative thoughts and energy. Meditating has been credited with not only relieving stress but, also lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving moods and attitudes and promoting self-awareness.
10. Talk with a friend- This works best when talking with a friend that is lighthearted and you truly enjoy being around. The one that makes you laugh and helps you plan fun future events that take your mind of the present and reminds you that tomorrow will be better
So, if you find you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, take a break and try one of these 10 top ways to relieve stress. Also, it is probably a good idea to make sure to add de-stressing time to your schedule every day to keep the levels from building up.
Zipporah is the director of The Creative Approach Development Center. Be sure to check their site for upcoming classes, workshops and more.