Have you ever noticed that in times of greater stress we lose focus on taking care of ourselves? We put ourselves as the lowest priority when we really need to take greater care and have more compassion than ever for ourselves and out needs. If you finding yourself experiencing this all too common issue, the first step is to take a quick breather. Following are the “10 second” tips of de-stressing, Maybe after you do these a few times throughout the day you’ll actually take part in some of the more intensive self-care techniques.
Take that breath. For just a few seconds, take a deep inhale and then let the exhale come out slowly and fully. If you can manage to make your exhalation longer than your inhalation, you will send a direct trigger to your brain to relax. Instead of relying on your mind to relax you by demanding it do so, do the reverse. Just breath deeply, it’s a way to trick the brain into believing there is absolutely nothing wrong.
Smile. Sometimes a simple smile will have the same effect as that deep breath. Smile fully and thinking about something that makes you smile is even better. New research that shows that smiling while under stress can actually help your heart. Read a little more about this research here.
A body scan looking for those areas of the body that are tight is also helpful. Scan until you feel that tension. Breathe into the tension and mentally suggest (note I did not say demand!) that the area relax. Try “I am relaxing my [insert body part], my [body part] is relaxed. Move to the next area and repeat the exercise. You can do this seated at your desk or lying in bed at night.
Take something off your plate. Maybe that means getting rid of an item on your calendar or task list that doesn’t have to happen right now. Maybe for you it means hiring a housecleaner or grocery shopper. Have a look at the list and see where you can let go. remember that you don’t have to control everything.
After you find your breath again, try something more. For me , I love a bubble bath and eating well. You may think eating well isn’t on the de-stress list, but I beg to differ. How you eat changes everything! Not only is it your long term disease prevention plan, it’s also your energizer, your clarity ‘drug’, your booster pack! Eating well is one of the top things you can do for self care.