In today’s fast-paced world, unhealthy stress is something everyone has to deal with. Whether it’s the job you just can’t stand or the kids driving you nuts, here are some simple ways of unwinding all the little “stress balls” that are knotting up your life.
- 1. Bathe. At the end of a long stressful day, take a hot bath. Treat yourself with scented oils or bubble bath and let the negativity drain away. Women already know this, but for us men it’s most likely something we haven’t done since our mommies made devils horns out of our hair in the tub.
- 2. Back Roll. This is a Pilates exercise. First, find a 7 X 5 piece of uncluttered carpeted floor, or any slightly padded area. The ground must be firm and slightly cushioned. Bare wood or tile will not work and neither will super fluffy carpet. Next, sit down and pull your knees up to your chest while keeping your head down, chin tucked in, and your hands grabbing your opposite ankles. Now that you’re in a fetal position, push off with your feet and allow gravity to roll your body backwards. Keep in this position until you’ve rolled all the way back and then stretch out with your hands placed at your side, palms flat, feet flat and knees up to support your lower back. Just rest now. Feel your neck and spine elongate and breathe slow deep breaths.
- 3. Breathing. Find a quiet place outside or in a room by yourself. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose as you tilt your head up, then exhale through your mouth only, your head coming down. Feel your heart beat and let your shoulders come down with your head on each exhale.
- 4. Self-Massage. If someone can give you a foot, hand, or head massage, GREAT! But if you’re not so fortunate you can massage yourself. You can massage the bottom of your foot with a tennis ball. Bring your hands up with clawed fingers and give yourself a head massage.
- 5. Pet. If you have a dog or cat, take time every day and especially on those really bad days to spend some quiet time with your pet. Feel the tension leave your body with each stroke as you gently pet the creature of your choice. There is something therapeutic about gently petting your animal. As your pet relaxes, you relax.
Any one of these five techniques is sufficient to relieve stress on a daily basis. Incorporate all or some of them into your lifestyle and notice the stress melt away!