Say that six times fast.
Still with me?
If that gave you a chuckle or a smile, you’re already on the way to reducing some stress.
Here are six stress-squashing suggestions to help you better ride the rocky waves:
Breathe. I know, I know. So simple. Overstated. Blah, blah, blah. But, everybody’s doing it! Seriously, though, this is the FASTEST way to reclaim your power when you’re having low to moderate stress. Got a minute? Try this simple technique right now: Sit with spine straight in a chair, both feet on the ground, hands on thighs or lap. Slowly breathe in through your nostrils to the count of three. Hold your breath for a moment or two and then exhale for a count of four to seven (whatever is most comfortable). Hold for a moment or two, then inhale and repeat the cycle for up to a minute.
Move in Nature. Now that the bears have gone to sleep, it’s safe to refill the birdfeeders. Go for a short walk in your yard, down your street or around the block. The different patterns found in nature, like branching and spirals, have a calming effect. You’ll elevate mood, reset sleep cycle rhythms and have an opportunity to appreciate and be enriched by beauty, which is always a good thing.
Do Something Kind for Another. Start with yourself and ripple it out. Donate to the local food pantry. Shovel someone’s walkway. Practice Loving Kindness. Bake cookies or a casserole for a friend. Mail or drop off a “just-because” note or card. Pet, play with and scruff a companion animal a little longer than usual (with both hands!). Set up a “listening” call with someone you know who is going through a hard time. Box up some clothes and drop off at a Goodwill. Lighten the load of a family member or house-mate and do a chore you normally don’t do. And, please, please, please, always replace the toilet paper roll.
Be Playful. A good release valve from the pressure of 2020 is to give yourself permission to have playful moments. Go outside and howl at the moon. Jump in the puddles. Have a snowball fight. Yell in your car like you’re on a rollercoaster. Hula hoop. Find the funny. Try a tongue twister. Identify a constellation in the night sky. Messily decorate cookies with sprinkles and colored frosting. Eat the frosting! Play catch. Play fetch. Have a dance party in your kitchen – solo or with the whole family. Doodle while watching Netflix. Sing really loud in your car or shower.
Take a Time Out. There have been a lot of blurred boundaries this year. It’s hard to know when to shut things off. Meditate, pray, journal, cloud gaze, look at a candle flame or just sit in a favorite chair and zone out. Resting isn’t lazy. It’s refueling, reconnecting, resetting, rebooting, reflecting and re-creating. Set a timer if it will allow you to let go more.
Do Something Useful. Feel better about yourself, improve the world around you and get some new energy flowing! Clean a room. Ugh. Too much? Start with a drawer. Fix something broken. Move furniture into a better layout. Write a Facebook or blog post that shares some useful knowledge. Sew a button on a piece of clothing that’s without one in your closet. Volunteer to write an email or letter for a cause you find particularly meaningful. Move something forward, even a tiny bit. What small thing can you do right now?
It’s a hard time. Take stock of your courage over the past year, continue to seek out replenishing conversations and actions, and remain open to learning new things that may help yourself or those around you.
Wishing you all a SUPER (califragilisticexpialidocious) day! Couldn’t resist.
Medical Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health professional.
Geri Ann Higgins, owner of Fully Present, is a Writer, Reiki Master, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Tarot Reader, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified yoga4cancer Teacher, Marketing Professional and Breast Cancer Survivor. Learn more at www.FullyPresentWithYou.com.
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