Ten-minute stress busters
Margot Mostyn, RMT
Try these quick, easy tips for relaxation and stress relief. You'll find they fit easily into even the busiest day.
As a working mom trying to balance all of my responsibilities, tension can feel overwhelming at times. That’s when these five stress-busting exercises can really help. After 10 minutes invested in any one of these exercises, I usually feel relaxed and ready for anything. Try these quick, easy ways to combat stress and anxiety. You’ll find they fit easily into even the busiest day.
A Soothing Bath
The ultimate de-stressor is a hot bath. Set the mood by dimming the lights. As the bathwater is running, add 3 to 4 cups (750 mL to 1 L) Epsom salts. Slip in and soak for at least 10 minutes. You should come out of your bath feeling light in the body and mind.
You don’t need a full hour with a massage therapist to relax. Find a comfortable place to sit and massage your worries away. With your fingers resting on the top of your head and your thumbs placed just behind your ears, use your fingers to gently massage your scalp in a circular motion. Now reach your right arm across the front of your body and firmly move your fingertips in a circular motion over the muscles just above the left shoulder blade. Repeat on the right shoulder.
Physical exercise is a great way to relieve stress. It causes your body to release endorphins, which have the amazing ability of making you feel good. Whenever you feel anxious, get your heart pumping with a few sets of push-ups. Or jog on the spot for 10 minutes. Just find something that you enjoy doing and have fun.
I’ve always found that different music can affect my mood in various ways. Hard rock makes me feel anxious, while listening to the music of Enya and other folk musicians makes all my troubles disappear. The right music can actually lower blood pressure, relax the body, and ease the mind. Next time you’re feeling stressed, put on your favourite music, close your eyes, and get lost in the rhythm.
Have you ever felt as though you are unable to catch your breath in times of stress? Shallow breathing reduces the amount of oxygen we take in, making us feel tense, short of breath, and anxious. Deep breathing allows complete oxygen exchange throughout the chest and lungs.
With one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, breathe in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as your stomach rises. Now breathe out through your mouth, feeling your hand move in as your stomach lowers. Belly breathe in and out for 10 minutes.
Don’t let life’s daily stresses rob you of your physical or mental health. Take 10 minutes out of your day for any one of these stress busters, and replace tension with tranquility.