Freaky Friday: 9 Ways to destress from your day that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, TV or Stuffing Your Face.
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Years ago, if I had a bad day at work or just a plain old bad, rough day, I would say, “I need a drink!” That’s how I calmed myself down, a glass of wine or a bottle. I’ve also had very mind-heavy days and I come home and watch some mindless tv. And then there’s my favorite, stress eating. I’m not one of those people that loses weight when they are stressed, I gain it. “Eating for two?” Nope, just eating for my emotions. The thing is, drinking the glass of wine, watching the mindless television or stuffing my face never made me feel better in the long run. I still had the stress, plus now I felt like a lump with a headache and ill fitting jeans. Not a good place to be.
Here are some tried and true ways to be able to deal with stress and unwind, none of which involve copious amounts of stimulants!
- 1. You need a moment…Maybe you’re one minute from biting off the head of the next person that breathes or maybe you want to cry. Take a moment and do this breathing exercise. It’s simple and will calm you down in a minute or less. Also, in spiritual talk, this breathing exercise raises your vibration, moves energy through your body and helps to bring your body back to a homeostasis state of being. Ahhhh…that’s better. It’s simple, you can do this anywhere at anytime. Close your eyes, If you’re somewhere that you are able to do so. Then inhale through your nose for four counts. Hold the breath for four counts. Exhale through the nose for six counts. In a minute you should be able to do about 5-6 rounds. If you need more than a minute, keep going. Congrats! You just meditated.
- 2. Go to a group fitness class. I don’t care what it is or where it is, go to it! You’ll feel so much better once you leave. Working out releases all sorts of happy chemicals in the brain plus, energetically, working out helps move stagnant energy in the body. Yoga is incredible at reducing stress. I teach Wednesdays, 5:30pm at Dharma Yoga Nantucket, all levels. Any fitness/yoga/workout class usually costs less than a couple adult beverages at a bar. If you have a membership, classes could even cost less than drinking at home. I find group classes to be a great winter social activity as well.
- 3. Go for a walk. Keep your head up high and walk it off. 15-30 minutes will do the trick.
- 4. Talk to someone. More often than not, we don’t talk about our problems or what’s bothering us because we don’t want to seem like Debbie Downers, or burden others with our problems. They’re our problems after all. But I have found that when someone says things out loud the stress disappears. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by a situation. Telling someone you’re overwhelmed is a great first step to no longer allowing this situation have a hold over you in this way.
- 5. Journal or write a letter. Grab a pen and a piece of paper or, if you have terrible handwriting like me, your computer. Just begin writing. No one has to see what you’re writing. Sometimes the very act of getting your thoughts on paper releases you from those thoughts.
- 6. Better yourself. Take the focus off whatever $hitty thing just happened or your “I need a new life” attitude and refocus towards the betterment of you. Always be investing in yourself; your education, your spirituality, your future and your happiness. You’re worth the investment, even if it hasn't always seemed that way. Oscar Wilde once said, “The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
- 7. Help someone else. You’re stressed out? Help someone. Be of service to someone. Put it to Facebook that you would like to help someone out, or call/text family and friends to ask how you can help them. Even if no one says they need something, now they know you’re there for them plus you’ll feel better and maybe even receive some love in return.
- 8. Plan for better days. It’s easy to get into the rut. Wake up, go to work, come home, rinse and repeat. Do something about it! Make a plan. Start small. Even just mixing up the way you eat or taking the stairs instead of the elevator will begin to change your life. It’s amazing to see when you change, how the world around you begins to change for the better as well.
- 9. Accept it, change it or leave. Something I learned from The Power of Now is that we have three choices when it comes to situations and/or people; Accept it, change it or leave. Once you figure out which category your current situation happens to be for you, move forward. If you accept it, live with it in this moment. No need to fight any more. If you want to change it, know that you may not be able to but that’s ok. If you’re at the point of leaving it, you’ve probably exhausted all other avenues and are tired. Always make sure to asses your life and situation. Take note of your involvement. And you’re always involved in some way. Not that I want you to blame yourself for anything, just observe the situation from all angles. Then learn from the situation and improve your life. All situations, especially the stressful ones, are there to help your life. Sometimes we need to have a break down to have a break through.
If you find over and over again that you’re turning to stimulants and substances to cover the stress or difficulty in your life, you’re not the only one and all is not lost. Once you have made the decision that you want to make healthier and happier choices for yourself, you’ll find yourself on a new path. Your life doesn’t have to be stressful or mundane. The goal is to be able to enjoy life in a paper bag. All you need is in the moment. The rest is just gravy.
Peace, Love & Hugs!