Exercise, counting to 10, going to your happy place… There are many ways professionals recommend approaching and relieving stress, but for some people, racking up more miles on the pavement just doesn’t cut it. Here are some unique ways to relieve stress in your life that actually work.
Multitasking is often seen as a productive badge of honor, yet the more we pack into our schedule, the more stressed out we become. Psychology Today encourages 4 steps to decreasing stress like doubling the time you think it will take to perform a task and consciously performing tasks in slow motion.
Brush your teeth.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake besides brew your coffee? Think about the laundry list of tasks you have to accomplish for the day, right? Well, stop it.
“In the morning as your brush your teeth, brainstorm all the things you’re grateful for. You’ll feel much more focused than going over your to-do list,” says Life Coach and writer, Debra Smouse. “So, as you polish your pearly whites, infuse your morning with gratitude.”
A study from Georgetown University Medical Center in early 2013 shows that acupuncture reduces the stress hormone response. “Many practitioners of acupuncture have observed that this ancient practice can reduce stress in their patients, but there is a lack of biological proof of how or why this happens,” says the study’s lead author, Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, an associate professor of nursing at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies. “We’re starting to understand what’s going on at the molecular level that helps explain acupuncture’s benefit.”
Many practices offer acupuncture treatments but it is imperative to make sure they are properly accredited with the appropriate licenses. Start with area medical spas that offer acupuncture services, like Thrive Med Spa in Chicago.
Resist hanging around with drama.
And I mean any kind of emotional turmoil, not just family drama. Does shopping during the holidays make your chest collapse and send you into a panic attack? Try shopping when there is less foot traffic in stores. Analytics firm, ShopperTrak, states December 4th to be the least busy day of the holiday season. Consumers had five weekends to shop in 2012, but in 2013, shoppers only have four. “The weekdays will see stores with fewer crowds and more attentive sales staff offering shoppers an opportunity to complete some of their holiday shopping without competing with the crowds,” states Shopper Trak.
Meditate by chopping some veggies.
Debra refers to “active meditation” as selecting a task that involves a repetitive motion – like the chopping and slicing you would do in the kitchen preparing a meal.
“The kitchen is the space in which you nourish your body and the bodies of your family, but it can also become a place of escape by designating it as your sanctuary,” says Debra. “Here, you are queen of your kingdom. Cooking forces you to live in the moment while also gives you room for creativity, which is a necessary part of creating a life you love.”
Work on helping someone else.
Instead of dwelling on your own circumstances, think of a way to help someone in need. Volunteering or reaching out to family or friends who physically cannot help themselves distracts you from lingering mentally on your own stress. A study by Michael Steger, a psychologist from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, revealed that the more people participated in meaningful activities, the happier they were.
Finding out what works for you to relieve stress is often a trial and error process. Just because exercise helps one person, doesn’t mean it is the right approach to the tension in your life. Giving these six options a whirl might be just the stress relieving tactic that compliments your situation.
About the author: Elizabeth Rago is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content, working with yoga studios, chiropractors, mental health, and wellness practitioners. Elizabeth works alongside Thrive Medical Spa to create expert content as well as writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping (an editorial partner of the Chicago Tribune) and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. She has been published in Mamalode Magazine, MOMentumNation.com and thesavvyfreelancer.com. Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz, and Google+