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1. Drink more water – With your body being made up of approximately 70% water, it really is important to get down at least 8 glasses a day. A glass of water should be the first thing that hits your stomach in the morning so that your body can recover from the dehydrated state it developed over night. Water makes the body feel good and allows it to carry out many of its functions. Water also helps improves many medical conditions such as:
- Asthma. Histamine is the substance that your body makes which induces asthma. Histamine levels are higher when the body is dehydrated.
- Gastritis/Ulcers. Water is essential to keep a plush lining in the stomach. Without it, the stomach gets irritated and can also be injured.
- Arthritis. Water helps to lubricate the joints which translates to less friction and pain.
- Depression/fatigue. The brain uses a lot of energy which makes sense because it is constantly firing. Dehydration causes the brain to work harder because of its own need for water and also because it needs to tell the body how to function without an adequate water supply. This can lead to feeling tired and even depressed in the long term.
Bottom line, drink water and you will feel better. Feeling better leads to increased performance and less stress.
What is the easiest way to incorporate more water into your daily routine? Increase access. I have already discussed my love of Mason jars and here is one more use… a water bottle! Mason jars come in a 12 pack for what a single water bottle costs these days (or sometimes half the price of a single water bottle). I find the quart size jars to be perfect for this use.
Before I go to bed, I fill up my jars with water and put them in the fridge so that they are ready to drink and to take with me in the morning. If you want to get fancy, there are special lids you can buy to make the top more like a water bottle or you can personalize them!
2. Exercise – Did I really even need to type this one? You are probably already aware that exercise and stress relief go hand in hand. Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, a similar compound to opiates, which creates a natural high. In addition to its positive mood capabilities, exercise also increases attention span and improves memory. Also, here is a friendly reminder that 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week is the target to shoot for according to the American Heart Association.
I have found that when I replace the time I spend researching recipes online with researching exercises or fun outdoor activities, I am more likely to get my butt up and moving (and less likely to crave a ridiculous variety of food). I figured out that if I can brainwash myself into wanting a cupcake, I can brainwash myself into wanting to exercise
3. Relax - There are several methodologies to relaxation, and thanks to Youtube, most of them can be viewed from any location that has internet access. Relaxation techniques include meditation, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenics, yoga, and deep breathing. The favorite among these varies person to person. I am a big fan of guided imagery and in addition to that, I prefer whispering. Because I naturally think too much, whispering causes me to focus more on what the narrator is saying and therefore relax. But while I find it very relaxing, my boyfriend finds it creepy and prefers nature sounds.
Here is a video called Echo Spa Massage Relaxation where the facilitator walks you through a spa experience including a chocolate bath with essential oils, manicure, pedicure, and massage. There are also many videos where the facilitator instructs you on how to give yourself a facial massage or hand massage which can be searched.
The next video is from Inner Health Studio. They have many Youtube videos as well as free downloads on their website which go over the various methodologies of relaxation. This one is much shorter than the Spa Massage, and is a guided imagery where you are taken through an experience of floating on a cloud.
Relaxation videos can also be used to promote sleep and reduce anxiety. Simply search those key words in addition to whatever type of relaxation technique you wish to use.
4. Journal – channel all the stress from your day into writing… or drawing or speaking! For me, writing in a journal is too much work and sometimes increased my stress, so I do bullet points and one-liners or draw pictures instead. My friend chooses to do video journals and has a Youtube account set to private which he loads all his videos on. For the creative types, consider purchasing a Smashbook. Smashbook has a lot of bright pages and cool accessories to help you synthesize all your thoughts and memories in one place.
5. Read –Channeling your stress into reading is a great way to refocus your attention, and you are certainly in the right place to get started! We would love to help you find a book to enjoy and unwind with. Also, consider buying a newspaper. Newspapers are filled with all kinds of things to read and look at and they even have crossword puzzles and Sudoku to keep your mind engaged. Don’t forget to check out your daily horoscope!
6. Smile – Research has shown that mood and facial expressions form a two-way street. Just as when you are happy or sad you smile or frown, smiling signals back to the brain that you are in a better mood and makes you feel better. Having trouble getting yourself to smile? Send a funny e-card to a friend, visit a website that makes you smile (for me that, FML.com), or dance like no one is watching to a random 80s tune. Note: the last one probably is better if no one is actually watching.
7. Box it Up – Create a box filled with items that make you feel good. Unearth the box whenever you feel like you need a boost. It can include photos, a poem, a square of dark chocolate, post-its with your favorite jokes and memories written down, or ticket stubs from events you have attended. If it makes you feel good and fits, it goes inside the box!
8. Repurpose Play-Doh – You may not have touched Play-Doh for over a decade, but it is a fantastic tool for stress relief. You can sculpt it by hand or use cookie cutters, write on it, or just knead your frustrations out of it! Best of all, you can make it yourself!
Keep in mind that the cream of tartar is actually optional but does add some elasticity.
9. Create a Mind Jar – Mind jars were invented to help children relax when they are feeling anxious. Seeing as I continue to watch Disney Channel despite being in my mid-twenties, I have no qualms with using this as a stress reliever.
The ingredients include hot water, glitter glue, food coloring, and additional glitter. You mix 1 tablespoon of glitter glue for every cup of hot water that you need. The idea is that the glitter is your thoughts. When you shake the jar, the glitter whirls around like the thoughts in your head and then slowly settles as you calm down. This is a great tool to have on your desk at work.
10. Bust out the Board Games – The latest rage in my home is Guess Who but any game will do, so just pick out your favorites! There is Uno, Catch Phrase, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Apples to Apples, Cranium, Scrabble, and many others you and I have probably long forgotten all about. Take a visit to the game section next time you are out shopping and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Links to the above images from today’s posting with further instructions can be found atwww.pinterest.com/NicoleST2345 in the “All About Books” section. Thanks for stopping by!