“Storms don’t last forever.”
Most women know stress all too well…the adrenaline rushes through your body as you try and deal with a screaming toddler, a moody teenager, the ticking watch on your wrist as you sit in traffic when you’re already late for an appointment or the deadline at work that seems impossible to make.
When stress strikes, try one of these techniques for a quick cool-down:
Change the environment
Try and do something relaxing for a little while such as reading or taking a shower. If you are at work, step outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air, it really can work wonders!
Practice breathing exercises
Focus on your breath, pushing all other thoughts aside. Be conscious of the breath coming in and going out; focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling.
This does not mean sitting crossed leg on the floor and burning incense. Meditation is about quieting the mind, not reacting; just noticing. Even a minute can make such a difference to you and provide calm. Be in the moment noticing everything around you and just observe without reacting.
Laughing and looking for the humor in things is so beneficial that it can ease physical pain, boost your immune system, help you make connections with other people and aid with coping with anxiety and depression.
Do relaxation exercises
Sometimes known as progressive muscle relaxation, practice tensing and then releasing each of your muscle groups. If your body is physiologically relaxed, then you can’t be stressed.
Go walking or running
Exercise can be a great stress reliever. It helps you blow off steam and releases endorphins. Take a walk or go running. This will provide some perspective so you can return in a new frame of mind.
Practice a rhythmic activity
Walking or running are great rhythmic activities that readjust your focus and relieve stress. You can also drum on a table with your hands or a few pencils.
Immerse yourself in a creative outlet
Doing something creative that you enjoy like cooking, baking, art or photography can take you away from the stress at hand.
Express your feelings
Write your stress away in a journal, take out your coloured pencils and paper and focus your concentration on drawing, or have coffee with a trusted friend and just talk.
Be in the moment with one of your senses
Sight, smell, sound, and taste—you’ll be amazed how quickly the stress melts away when you focus on just one of them. Eat something that you crave and savor each bite. Light a scented candle and breathe in your favorite scent. Listen to a wonderful piece of music and let it take you away. Focus on the nature around you and allow yourself time to stop and stare.
If one method doesn’t work for you, try another. Learning to cool down takes practice. Be patient with yourself and you will reap the benefits!