Instant Stress Relief: Ways to reduce tension and change your brain

I’m coming out of a stressful couple months, where I lost track of taking care of myself. I had a solid morning routine for months, I usually pick up a good routine around February. This year, I managed to keep my routine into July, but completely lost pace when I came back from vacation to a mess at work. All of a sudden I found myself giving work 10 and 12 hours days, compounded by poor eating habits due to a lack time to prep. Fact is, eating well takes time, if you can’t afford a personal chef, and when you run out of time fast food becomes a go-to. I was going to work early and skipping my morning routine, missing the time I take to make a good breakfast and lunch. I would get home late and just not have the energy to give any fucks about supper and sometimes even a shower.

It’s been two months, and I am clawing my way back. Two months. The recovery period will be much longer. My skin is shit. I’ve lost good weight and gained bad weight. I feel tired all the time. I can tell I have not been nice to myself.

[What is losing good weight, and gaining bad weight? I can tell I’m losing muscle mass because the number on the scale is going down, but the fluff around my tummy isn’t really getting smaller. In which case I’m losing good weight and gaining bad weight :/ This is a good example of why a scale alone is not a good progress indicator when it comes to health and weight. There are so many factors.]

So what have I been doing to get back to where I need to be? It’s slow. A daily process, sometimes a weekly process.

    • Drink more water.
    • Trying to get up earlier. The days are getting darker, it’s not light before I wake. But try to get up. Walk the dog.
    • As I get up earlier, get back into a morning stretch. I’ve 2 days under my belt. đŸ™‚
    • I hope to get back to my morning routine of wake up, drink a litre of water,  meditate 10 minutes, mobility stretch 10 min, work out 20 mins, breakfast, pack lunch, get ready for work and go.
    • Hot showers to relieve muscles.
    • Slow down. When I’m stressed it feels like there are a thousand things that need my attention. Stop. Think. Act.
  • One task at a time.
  • If I feel really stressed or anxious, I stop and breath. Meditation has really taught me to focus on the breathing when in turmoil.
  • Clear some space. When work got out of control, so did my home. I was just too tired. Slowly, a weekend at a time, I’m taking back my space and clearing it all up. I find messy spaces stressful.
  • Organize your head. Make a list, journal, just get it out of your mind for peace and clarity.
  • Step away from social media. I’ve been on a hiatus. I checked maybe once every two days. For 10 minutes a shot. I just couldn’t do it, but also needed to be less stimulated.
  • More fresh foods. Even while I was flat-out running every day, I noticed my eating habits weren’t helping, instead of going through a drive-thru I would go to a grocery store. Instead of fried shit, I would collect from fresh fruits and veggies and then go to the bakery section and get a freshly baked bun. These are small changes that made a world of difference.

As I continued to make these changes I had more energy. I could get up a little earlier. The changes compounded, because I was slowing down and had time to rest, and was eating a little better, which meant I could get up in the morning and prepare and eat better, which gave more energy. By eating less shit I could sleep better. It’s a cycle friends.

Self-care is no joke. Whatever that looks like for you, you gotta do it. Here are some other ideas for de-stressing:

  • Gardening: it’s a great way to relax, create organization and let your mind be calm
  • Smile: fake it till you make it
  • warm your hands: fear and anxiety will make your hands go cold, warm them up to force a calm
  • breath and focus on the exhale: breathing is super critical to the reactions in the body. Controlling your breath is the easiest way to control your reactions.
  • eats some whole grains: carbs, they’ll make you happy
  • donate: time or money, giving without return can lift your spirit
  • move a little: getting the blood pumping will make you feel energized, it doesn’t have to more than a couple of minutes
  • pick a mantra: mantra, positive affirmations, positive self-talk – change the dialogue inside your head
  • have a bath and soak it all away
  • take a walk in nature
  • go out with friends for a laugh

Making little changes and continuous improvement is the way to make a big change. Don’t make it hard. Give yourself time and notice the improvements. I think you’re better to start something and track your success and once you’ve reached a milestone, add something. This way you are open-ended in your practice (because you shouldn’t stop after 8 weeks or 12 weeks) and you’re creating permanent changes that fit with your lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.