Stress always seems abundant at this time of the year. It’s the middle of winter – seasonal depression time – and it’s tax season. But there are plenty of ways to help counteract this stress.
With the help of the Teton Cancer Institute, specialists in hematology oncology, we’ve put together this list of relaxation techniques to help you reduce some of that seasonal stress.
First, see this list of benefits you can gain from practicing relaxation techniques:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve digestion
- Reduce anger and frustration
- Boost confidence in problem solving
- Increase blood flow to major muscles
- Reduce muscle tension
- Improve concentration and mood
- Improve sleep quality
- Slow heart and breathing rates
- Lower fatigue
- Meditation – Meditation allows you to clear your mind of your stressful everyday thoughts the more you practice it. You can take 2 minutes or 20 minutes out of your day to practice this technique. It can help you become more aware of when you are feeling stressed and frustrated. Realizing that you feel this way can help you take a step back to meditate and help you choose to feel differently.
If you want a good guided meditation, try Calm. It is an app that you can get on most mobile devices.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation – This relaxation technique requires you to focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle in your body. Start with your toes and work your way up your body. Tense each muscle for about 5 seconds and relax for 15-30 seconds. This is almost a form of meditation as well, helping bring you to the sensations of your body and away from your everyday stressors.
- Yoga – Yoga is another great technique to bring you to awareness of your body and away from your stress. Exercise in itself releases endorphins, which naturally help us feel happier. Combine that with yoga and deep breathing and you’ll find that your stress quickly melts away.
- Aromatherapy – Essential oils are becoming more and more common for all kinds of relief – especially from stress. Get an oil diffuser and place a few drops of a stress-relieving oil in it while you meditate. Or simply place a drop on your temples or neck and rub it in. Some great oils for stress relief include lavender, rose, chamomile, and spearmint.
- Massage – Get a massage. A lot of mental stressors develop into physical stress in our body. Getting a massage to help relieve some of that physical tension can help your body and mind relax.
- Music and Art – Enhance your creative mind while relaxing. Many people find that music and art help them to relax. Try listening to some calming music (maybe a yoga Pandora station) or focus on artwork like adult coloring books or painting. These methods, like many of the others, help us redirect our focus from our stress to the task at hand.
Everyone is going to find that different relaxation techniques work for them. Try a couple of these, or others that we haven’t mentioned, to see what works best for you.