Have you relaxed recently? That is, have you really relaxed in order to manage or reduce stress in your life? Summer is ideally the time when we take it easy, and spend some time on the beach recharging our batteries. And most of need to unwind in some way.
Too much continued stress can seriously affect our physical and mental well being. It can interfere with normal daily activities, diminish our self-esteem, impair our relationships, and affect how effective we are at school, at work, or in the home as a parent and as a spouse.
How to Identify When You’re Stressed
When we feel stressed, our bodies react with what is called the “fight or flight” response. Without the ability to relax, chronic stress or anxiety can lead to burnout, anger, irritability, depression and medical problems.
The problem is, believe it or not, we may not be able to tell when we feel stressed. Here are some common symptoms, some of which may not seem like symptoms of stress at all:
- back pain
- ringing in the ears
- easily fatigued
- shallow breathing
- eating too little or too much
- critical attitude of others
- inability to finish tasks
- crying easily
- unhappiness, depression
- feeling helpless
For more symptoms of stress (and there are many), please take a look at this stress checklist. If you have determined you are living with stress it’s important to develop some strategies for relaxing, and, ideally, removing the stress from your life completely.
The first step in effectively managing stress and anxiety: developing an ability to relax.
10 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes or Less
So now that we’ve established stress is definitely not a good thing to have in your life, here are some tips for combating it. Read until the end, where we reveal the ultimate stress-buster (hint: it involves a vacation in Turks and Caicos).
1. Get Organized
A stack of papers, three tape dispensers, a bunch of misshapen paperclips: All this clutter could be contributing to stress. Take a few minutes to reorganize your desk (or table, or wherever you are), leaving just what you need on top.
2. Take a Quick Walk
“Now walk it out, now walk [stress] out.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick strollaround the block. You’ll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts!
3. Lay Your Head On Something Soft
There are days when what we really need is a nice, long nap, but we can’t. However, if you’ve got a pillow, you can do the next best thing: lay your head down for a few minutes. It’s an effective tactic for combating stress.
4. Remember to Breathe
Slow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate.
5. Try Progressive Relaxation
Progressive relaxation involves tensing the muscles in one body part at a time to achieve a state of calm. The method is used by actors and is a actually a great way to fall asleep.
6. Count Backward
Try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down. By remembering what number comes before seven you can focus on something other than stress or worries.
8. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball
You can get experience an immediate feeling of relaxation by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball.
9. Drip Cold Water On Your Wrists
If you’re feeling stressed, splash some cold water on your wrists and behind your earlobes. Why? There are major arteries flowing just under the skin, delivering cool relaxation all over your body.
10. Get Out In the Sun
Getting out in the sun always provides some stress relief. If it’s a sunny day, just go outside and lift your spirits. Bright light is known to be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy people.
And may we suggest a sunny vacation in Turks and Caicos?
Start Planning a Vacation
The best way to relax, though? Start planning a vacation.
Crashing waves, warm sand, and gentle breezes… Take a break from work and start browsing the web for some future vacation spots. It’s said the best part of a trip is in the planning, although we can guarantee you will enjoy staying with us on beautiful Grace Bay Beach.