5 Tips for Stress Management
Stress plagues us all, in the workplace and at home. From deadlines, to computer problems, to the virus your child brought home, managing our day to day is often stressful. It can cause anxiety, body pain, and serious health concerns. When we stress we tend to put our mental and body health on hold, promising ourselves we will take care of our needs when we can find the time. But the time is never found, for one must make time. In our first Good Karma Mind & Body blog, we are introducing you to 5 simple, time conservative ways for you to manage stress.
# 1 : BREATHE
Breathing is the quickest and easiest technique to settle our minds and relieve body stress. Taking a long breath in while counting to eight, then exhaling while counting to eight will instantly slow our blood flow and increase oxygen to the muscles. Studies show that professionals who spend most of their day at the computer breathe shallow and often hold their breath. So, remember to take breathing breaks throughout your day at the office. Set a timer to remind yourself to push your chair back and take a few deep breaths every couple of hours. Mindful breathing is a good practice to start for your stress management and a more relaxed body.
#2 : STRETCH
Stretching doesn't have to be an hour long yoga class for you to reap the body benefits. 5 to 10 minutes when you roll out of bed is a good karma start to your day. Not only will your body be grateful for the stretch before you hit the ground running, but your mental outlook for the day will feel clear and manageable. Think of stretching as a way to tell your mind & body that you are engaged and present.
Incorporating stretch breaks in your day are vital to healthy muscle function, especially for those who are stagnant in an office chair. Try these simple stretches in the morning and through your day (maybe even combine them with your breathing breaks):
- From a standing position, bend at the waist and let your head be heavy. - Sit or stand with a straight spine and square your hips. Side stretch by reaching your right hand up and over to the left side while side bending at the waist, creating length in the side body. Repeat on the other side.
- While sitting in your chair, cross your left ankle on top of your right knee and lean forward. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Place your right hand behind you on your sacrum and the left hand on your right hip then gently twist at the waist toward your right. Be sure to do the same stretch on the other side.
# 3: MASSAGE
Recommended by countless physicians and health professionals, massage is no longer considered a luxury. Massage is a therapy that should be included in your regular self care regimen. Although having an hour appointment a couple of times a month is ideal for stress management, that can sometimes be a challenge to make happen. For aches and pains maintenance, and especially frequent head ache sufferers, chair massage is an option that shouldn't be overlooked. 10 minutes with a massage therapist in the chair can alleviate neck tension, shoulder discomfort, muscle spasms, and many other body ailments due to over work or over sitting. Every Tuesday, Good Karma Mind & Body has Open Chair Massage from 11am to 1pm. You can walk in without an appointment and take your 10 to 20 minutes of stress less time. Chair massage pricing is $1 per minute. Fun fact: Most HSA plans cover the cost of massage when accompanied by note from your doctor.
If it's good enough for Hippocrates, then it's good enough for us. The father of modern medicine (Hippocrates) used aromatic fumigations to rid Athens of the plague, and he wasn't alone in the practice of aromatherapy for healing. The Egyptian, Chinese, and Arabic cultures all used, and continue to use, aromatherapy for harmony, healing injury, and over all well-being.
Here are a few Aromatherapy must haves:
Lavender - This powerful essential oil is considered a cure all. From healing small cuts and wounds more quickly to making acne disappear when used topically, the aromatherapy of lavender can calm your nervous system during stressful events, help you get to sleep, stop night sweats and even tame a nasty headache.
Peppermint - Another easy to find essential oil, peppermint is a miracle worker for sore muscles, cramping, and also indigestion. Keep this oil close for a mood changer. Peppermint is known to support a happier life outlook when used as an aromatherapy.
Cinnamon - Can't concentrate? Low on energy? Cinnamon oil is an excellent energy booster. Put a few drops in your oil diffuser for improved brain function, oxygenation, and mental focus. Cinnamon is also known to relieve symptoms of depression. So next time your feeling down or emotional, dab a little cinnamon oil behind your ears.
"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are too busy then you should sit for an hour." - Zen proverb
Meditation is to your brain like massage is to your body. It opens the door to mental relaxation, gives you more mental flexibility, increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure, gives you sustained energy, helps you focus, relieves body pain... you see where we are going. Meditation is a beneficial practice that will help you on your path of stress management. If you don't know where to start, there are hundreds of guided meditation downloads on the web in just about every audio application available. Start with a five minute practice, and build from there. You'll find that once you drop in, it becomes easier with repetition. Watch for our upcoming group meditation classes on the GKM&B website at www.goodkarmamindbody.com/mindbodyevents