Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
I received a bunch of interesting comments from last month’s newsletter on the topic of stress. Many of you wrote to say thanks for the background information and it helped you remember to listen to what your stress was trying to tell you BUT, you wanted more specific ideas about what you can do to relieve and decrease the stress in your lives. One reader wrote and reminded me that in January I often write a list of top things to add to your health/fitness lifestyle, so could I please do something like that for stress relief.
So I listened, and here’s a resource list for you. I’ve used all of these at various times and some of them I use on an ongoing basis. Remember that stress is subjective and what stresses you out may not stress someone else, so listen and observe what works for you as stress relief. Also, I’ve found that it’s good to vary these as sometimes they do the trick and sometimes not. In other words, don’t marry your stress relief choice. Sometimes it’s a challenge to know how to find that OFF switch, but this list will give you plenty of options so you’ll always have something to work with.
I’ve put this list in alphabetical order so as not to emphasize any of the suggestions.
**Enjoy quality time with family and friends. Carving out time for this in our already overloaded schedules may seem challenging, but it really is essential. And of course, be present. Turn off all your electronic gadgets. Yes, ALL of them. Being present and turning off your gadgets will put the quality in the term “quality time.”
**Get acupuncture. I use acupuncture regularly and have written about it before.
**Get a massage. There are so many massage techniques, so I know you’ll find one that works for you. It’s often more about how you connect with the practitioner than the specific technique.
**Go for a drive in pretty, relaxing, scenery. This may sound like a strange suggestion but I’m one of those people who loves long car trips in beautiful scenery. I find driving relaxing, and especially in beautiful scenery.
**Go for a walk, bike ride, or hike. Again, preferably in scenery that’s relaxing.
**Go through a mobility series of movements. I personally enjoy the Z-Health mobility movements and even as I’m writing this (while standing up at a counter), I’m loosening my ankles and wrists with joint mobility movements!
**Have a spa day. If you don’t feel like going to a spa create one at home. Some of the suggestions on this list can be done at home and used to create your homegrown spa day.
**Laugh more often. I really like this one. Laughing is so good for us. Find something to laugh at every day, even if you have to conjure up a memory that makes you laugh. One of the criteria I use when choosing friends to surround myself with is do they laugh easily? I want to spend time with people who laugh easily. For me that’s a MUST.
**Listen to music. Music creates different emotions in all of us so enjoy music that speaks to you. And also, dance to your special music. For me both music and dancing are great for decreasing stress.
**Read. I envy people who can just drop down into a great novel. That’s a challenge for me. And it doesn’t matter what you read. Anything that helps you relax and unwind is good.
**Take a hot shower or relaxing bath before going to bed. Or even take a relaxing bath before dinner or in the late afternoon. And if you don’t already know about salt and baking soda baths, email me and I’ll give you my recipe for the kind of bath I’ve been taking for over 20 years!
**Travel. Perhaps this is a strange suggestion for stress relief. Yes, the act of actually traveling can be stressful, but I enjoy traveling and seeing other places, meeting new people, and trying different foods. And what we enjoy has a stress reducing effect on us.
** Try Tai Chi or take a Yoga class. If you can’t find a class, try using a DVD. I suggest going to your public library and taking out all the Tai Chi and Yoga tapes they have. Try them all and you’ll find one that works for you.
** Use light static stretching. And breath while you’re doing this. When combined with movement, deep breaths will relax you even more.
**Use your hands. Wood working, gardening, writing, and even coloring, are fun and relaxing. I also find cooking very relaxing, that is as long as it tastes great when it’s done!
**Use your foam roller to work on some of those stressed and tight muscles and to relax your body. What, you don’t use a foam roller? Quick, email me right away and let’s get rolling!
**Watch your favorite movie or TV show. I know this sounds strange coming from someone who hasn’t watched TV in 14 years, but I know some people have TV shows they enjoy and relax with. I do watch movies and find them relaxing, especially the comedies.
Did I leave out one of your favorites? Let me know. You can never have too many choices in your stress relief tool kit.
Until next month let these suggestions help you dissolve your stress and bring you relaxation.