Our regular contributor, Arin Agase, is back with timely tips for how to manage stress this upcoming holiday season. Her five stress-reducing suggestions are below!
Stress is inevitable; and like it or not, we all experience it at one time or another. As much as we’d like to be in control of every aspect of our life, we can’t be. With that being said, are you managing stress—or is it managing you? The key is to stop stress before it consumes you (easier said than done, I know). It not only affects us mentally, but stress can manifest itself physically, too. It’s no coincidence that we are more vulnerable to illness during stressful times. Luckily, there are coping mechanisms to help you learn how to manage stress, and we’re getting you started below! Remember, we’re not always in control of life, but we are in control of our thoughts.
5 Tips to Ease Stress:
1. Visualize your happy place.
Multiple studies have proven the power of visualizing and its immediate reduction of stress. Simply close your eyes, and imagine yourself somewhere calm, watching your stress melt away. Perhaps it’s a hot shower or a tropical beach. Imagine an empty box, and place all of your worries in it. Place the box outside the door, away from your environment. Or try imagining yourself walking through a calm forest with lush leaves and a crashing waterfall on the horizon. I think you get the point! What does your happy place look like?
2. Count to 10.
Sometimes, we need to take a moment and calm down. If you’re on an aggravating conference call or your children are acting up, before you do or say something you may regret, physically or mentally step away from the stress-inducing situation and count to 10. Grown-ups deserve time-outs, too! It always helps to take a few breaths before reacting.
3. Luxuriate in lavender.
I always keep lavender oil at my desk (chamomile, basil and peppermint are other great options). It creates a sense of peace and tranquility. Whenever I’m feeling overly stressed, I breathe in the scent and notice an instant relief. Look for these in your local health store or contact your doctor.
4. Shake it off.
Maybe Taylor Swift was onto something, but shaking it off really is a great way to loosen up your muscles! Stretch your arms out and shake your hands for about 10 seconds. The faster, the better. Add some breathing exercises, and you’re on the happy train!
5. Take a long soak.
Oh, how I “heart” a good bubble bath. Sometimes, we need to take an hour, soak every inch of our body (in a lavender-scented bubble bath, of course) and detach for a bit. No cell phones allowed! Use this time wisely, and meditate. If you’re not able to actually do this, simply imagine it (see tip one above) or splash some warm water on your face and arms to refresh and release the stress.