Stress or rather things that can cause stress are all around. It might sneak up on you when you least expect it or you can see it coming a mile away! For me stress often brings on anxiety and if you’ve ever dealt with anxiety before you know how much of a jerk it can be! I wanted to share the top 3 things that I do to help relieve stress and anxiety.
I LOVE stretching! It’s something I started doing a few years ago before bed just to help ease some tired muscles. But this last year I started upping my game and didn’t just reserve it for my nightly routine. When the anxiety started last year I started feeling it not just in my mood and heart, but even in my muscles. So when I felt anxiety or stress creeping up I would sit down and spend about 10 minutes or so in my favorite stretches. These are a few of my favorites, but you can do a google search for stretches and a ton will pop up! I like to really reach into each stretch and take deep breaths while holding each pose.
My sweet friend Kristin shared this idea with me years ago, and it has helped me countless times! The basic idea is to just dump everything that is occupying your brain. I like to grab a blank sheet of paper (computer paper) and just write everything that is on my mind. In no particular order, in fact I just write it randomly on the page, not in a list or any organized way. Don’t think about it. Just write. Everything, anything, it doesn’t matter, if it’s in your brain, it needs to come out and onto that paper. Little things like, wipe the counters, to big things like, Pay rent. Anything that is in there I just dump it. usually I start out writing pretty fast and as my brain is emptying it comes slower and slower. Soon my brain has been dumped and I feel freer. Later I will circle three items and write them down in a list and make my plan for tackling that item, and then continue through the dump until I’ve done all I can.
Now bare with me. This may sound odd, but just hear me out, I discovered this on accident years ago. I was stressed about who knows what as I was getting ready for the day when the power went out. The lights weren’t working (obviously as that’s how power outages work) in our bathroom with no windows, but I needed to take a shower. So I just hopped in and had the ambient light from the bedroom just barely spilling in. I could see enough to not fall, but it was dark. The water started hot and it almost burned, but this is good. I finished my shower in water that was as hot as I could stand, even with the water still running, I could tell there was a mist in the air from the heat, and as it got thicker I started to feel heavy almost. So I slowly turned the water down cooler, but my body temperature already so high it wasn’t cooling down very quickly. So I turned it cold, as soon as it hit my skin my breath caught in my chest and I had to move around because it was so cold. This was the best part, as I stood there and got a little bit more acclimated with the cold I could feel the weight of my stress being lifted. As much as it doesn’t sound like it, it was SO relaxing. This is my favorite way to relieve stress as I can tangibly feel my stress/anxiety go away. So to shorten that all; take a shower with the lights off in water as hot as you can stand, when you can’t handle the heat/air turn the temperature to cold, take deep breaths and make yourself stand in it, let it hit your face, back, stomach, FEEL it!