Wednesday, May 16, 2018

10 Simple Stress Busting Methods You Can Use Right Now

By Chloe Pearson

Stress is something goes along with the role of caregiver, but it doesn’t have to take control of your life. Here are 10 tricks to tank stress right now:


1. Stretch. Something wonderful happens to your body when you take a moment stretch your arms and legs. It activates your body’s relaxation response and, according to Plexus, when combined with deep breathing can help you fight stress.


2. Take a whiff. If you’ve ever walked into the kitchen as cookies were coming fresh out of the oven, you know how powerful and soothing scent can be. You can harness your olfactory senses to squash stress in seconds. Scents such as lavender, rosemary and cinnamon can put your mind in a meditative mood; peppermint can help you focus.


3. Count. You’ve no doubt heard that you should count to 10 before saying something in anger. There’s a reason for this. Counting gives you a moment to stop and assess the situation, whether it’s stress, fear, or irritation. Psychology Today explains further that you can use numbers, especially counting games, to effectively change your thought processes during a stressful situation, so you can switch your focus to something more pleasant.


4. Walk away. While you may not be able to stray too far from your loved one, if you’re feeling stressed out, take a moment to walk around the room. If they are napping, you may be able to sneak in a five-minute break to take a walk around the perimeter of your home or to the mailbox. Giving yourself a change of scenery can help you approach stressful caregiver situations with a fresh perspective.


5. Focus on your body. The way we perceive stress starts with the mind but can have serious consequences on the body. Entrepreneur explains that if you focus on your body and the physical sensations you’re feeling, you may be able to reduce the emotional toll of the day.


6. Look at pictures. Science says that looking at certain types of images can bring about an instant sense of calmness. This can be photos of nature, pictures of your loved ones, or a photo album from your last family vacation. You can also look at photos with the person to whom you are providing care to stir up a few pleasant memories.


7. Read a funny story. They say laughter is the best medicine, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine seemingly agrees. It’s been shown that laughter can have a positive effect on postpartum fatigue and stress. Even if you’re caring for an aging relative, the effects are similar. Take a few moments to read a funny story or watch a funny video. When you laugh, your body releases dopamine, which goes to work beating cortisol – the stress hormone – back from whence it came.


8. Grab a drink. We’re not talking about alcohol, but grabbing a quick drink of water when you’re feeling stressed out can help you wash away your worries. Mild dehydration can elevate your cortisol levels and drinking plain old water is the best way to rehydrate.


9. Go outside. There is an undeniable link between stress relief and spending time outdoors. Even if you can’t break away to go outside, open a window with a view. Even the act of just looking at nature will calm your nerves.


10. Chew gum. Sometimes, you just need an outlet for your nervous energy. Chewing gum can provide that outlet with the added benefit of giving you fresh breath. Make sure to choose a sugar-free variety so your stress-chewing habit doesn’t turn into cavities.


While there is no way to avoid some of the stress that goes along with putting yourself second, there are ways to beat stress and the above self-care habits are simple, easy to remember, and won’t interfere with your caregiver obligations.

Image via Pixabay