Stress Relieving Techniques to Use Throughout the Week
“Stress may come in so many shapes and manifests into a countless number of issues. Living in the city that never sleeps, we pride ourselves on “burning the candle at both ends.” We are applauded for having full time jobs + side hustles + personal lives + side side hustles and then are made to feel like we are failing when we can’t keep up. Everything from waiting for the train, what type of gluten free bread to select at the store, which email address to check first to what yoga class to go to; all of these create symptoms of stress and even more so, anxiety” Elana Weisberg, licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and writer, reminds us.
Elana expresses that one of the best things about her job is about reminding people to slow down, reset, restore balance. A lot of us live in a world where we need to be reminded to close our eyes and breathe.
A busy city is not the only reason that we may feel stressed. Factors such as personal life, family members, strained relationships, financial problems, responsibility and more can also cause us to stress. Wether just a tad or a lot, stress is inevitable in our life, and if we did not have any perhaps we would get too comfortable in our lives, and not strive, take turns, or progress. However, since stress is not going anywhere, here are a few ways to deal with it.
What is Stress + How to Deal
Elana reminds us that “No matter what the stress is, how significant or minimal, our bodies react with releasing cortisol, our stress hormone. Our sympathetic nervous systems are so over stimulated and used to being in overdrive 24/7 that many of us are constantly in a state of stress, of shortened breath and limited focus. The trick is to help reset our nervous system every single day, so that we don’t begin our days already at a disadvantage”
The main answer is BREATHE.
“Deep, full inhalations and long, conscious exhalations. Our breathe regulates our heart beat which calms our minds which resets this whole intricate system.”
A great way to tune out for a bit, reconnect with yourself, slow down, and breathe. We have a how to on Meditation if you are new or need a refresher to the practice.
A lot of people find the few minutes in every day that they set aside for a prayer can often help reconnect with a higher power, reconnect with themselves, ground themselves, have faith in something, and use this time to remember that life usually is bigger than the stress they are dealing with at that moment.
Sometimes a simple answer is to get your body the rest it NEEDS. Make sure you create some time to get enough sleep to help your body feel nourished, rejuvenated, and rested so you can have a clearer head as you go on. “Reducing the blue lights in our bedrooms and if possible, from our beds can help immensely. Creating a dark environment, reducing street lights and other distracting lights from our bedroom helps to reduce cortisol at night & tell our bodies it’s time to sleep. Consider using noise machines, meditations, ear plugs, [silk sleeping masks] whatever works for you to reduce the outside noises” reminds us Elana.
Walking is a great stress reliever as it can be a change of environment, and the pace you walk at can be in tune with the pace you are thinking at, as well as how you receive your environment and therefore bringing you awareness of other elements other than the stress you have, as well as getting to know your body. Mindful walking is also a more outdoor and moving based form of meditation that Deepak Chopra encourages, especially for those sitting all day.
Exercise is commonly known to help reduce stress. Simply speaking you are redirecting that frustration and energy into the exercise. However it has been clinically proven to reduce stress, increase circulation - therefore feeling fresher - and release endorphins - your feel good hormone. However, you want to remember to breathe during your exercise, and also start off slow and end slow to also avoid carrying out the high intensity and stress of the workout to be a shock to your body at the beginning of your workout (aka stretch and warm up) and also wind down and cool off at the end to recalibrate your body back to regular activity. Not to mention you are sweating out toxins, which is a great internal detox.
No this does not mean you stress eat and gain weight, and a result be unhealthy,it simply means making sure we take time to make sure we are eating, and eating well! Meaning we are not eating junk, we are nourishing, and not not nourishing ourselves as a result of our stressful timeline, or feeling. Elana highlights “work to limit the excess sugars, caffeines, preservatives, chemicals & inflammatory ingredients in your food. Make an effort to notice how eating certain food groups makes you feel, do you bloat after dairy? Are you constipated after gluten? Headaches after wine? Listen to your body and make decisions that feel good for you.”
PRO Tip: “Try to make an effort to cook for yourself and/or meal prep at the start of the week to prevent scrambling for something unhealthy in a low sugar hangry mode. At the least, we can be aware of the food through reading labels, ensuring we know what we are putting into our bodies so we can make educated & conscious choices. We can’t run on empty and stress will only feel more intense if we are undernourished” says Elana.
in specific to a work environment / work day
Get up every hour while working; stretch their legs,
Fill up their water,
Fo some squats,
Get some fresh air,
Even close your eyes for 5 minutes
Make sure that you’re taking regular breaks, even if you’re swamped, can ensure you’re not getting burnt out or losing focus.
There are some amazing acupressure points you can learn to help boost energy, increase focus, regulate digestion, calm your breathing. This is a great tool to have for those who work in offices at a desk all day. A youtube tutorial on this would be the best way to learn.
“Meditation is just one stress relieving technique, but certainly not the only one. If it doesn’t resonate for you, don’t sweat it, there are other ways to find some calm. Whatever gets you to pause, breath and unplug for at least a few minutes everyday is what’s best for you. What makes you happy? There is not just one way to feel relaxed. Whether jogging, swimming, journaling, being in nature, getting acupuncture, walking, talking with friends…some drops of CBD, taking breaks, a bath. There are so many things to bring you back into balance”.
Even Healthy People get Stressed
Holistic, healthy, people, are just as susceptible to stress. It’s a part of life. Life is also full of choices Elana reminds us. She says “While [choices] can be overwhelming at times, we should appreciate & take advantage of the choices we have. It’s easy to get in a comfortable routine everyday, but being too rigid can also be a source of stress. Adding variety and switching your schedule up every so often helps to create a balanced & flexible lifestyle and can often help things from feeling boring or mundane”
What are the signs of stress
Elana highlights that stress takes on so many forms and shows itself in so many parts of our lives. Some more common signs of stress may be:
Touble falling or staying asleep,
Shortness of breath,
Neck or back muscles,
Poor immunity highlights.
Dangers of Stress
“Literally every part of our body can suffer as a result of acute and/ or chronic stress. Our mental and emotional health can be the first to suffer and as so many of us know, when we aren’t, it makes it so challenging to be productive and do what we need and want to do. If we make use of the daily stress relieving techniques we can save ourselves from suffering more later on!” says Elana.
AntiDepressants - Not the Best Management Technique
“While so many benefit greatly from antidepressants and truly need them to feel better, if we aren’t also addresses what’s causing the stress, the layers of bandaids upon bandaids won’t be a lasting solution either. Medication should be used in addition and in conjunction with other stress relieving tools. It’s easy to think that one pill can cure all, but through using traditional & integrative medicine, we learn that we need to address our bodies as a whole, not just by part.”