I have known Maeve since high school and I’m so glad she offered to do a guest post for me. Her blog is called Moving Pictures; she explores “the spiritual, inspirational, and moral dilemmas in thought provoking films.” Enjoy!
First, I would like to thank Maggie for allowing me to guest post! She is such a disciplined and diligent, yet carefree and upbeat blogger, and I truly admire her work. As you know she writes an amazing blog centering on healthy eating and yoga. I think these two topics are so important, and are wonderful ways of managing stress which inspired me to write this post on stress relief.
We all know life is stressful. When we get stressed we can emotionally eat which can leave us lethargic and even less capable of handling stressful situations. While eating well and exercising takes planning, it gives back 10 fold because a healthy body can handle stress better. By reading Maggie’s blog you are well on your way.
However, with the economy the way it is, we could all use some extra stress relief so here are some other ways I deal with stress. Hopefully they help!
- Breathe. Slowly. Deeply. With purpose.
This is probably the simplest way to deal with stress which is why I am including it first. It requires no money, no classes, no equipment – just you and your lungs. You can just take a moment, wherever you are and focus on your breath. In. Out. In. Out. Breathing is the foundation of yoga and meditation practices and there are many exercises one can do with breath for stress relief but just being conscious of your breath and slowing it down is a great start.
- Savor a cup of tea.
I am a big tea drinker, and one thing I love about warm tea is that it’s best enjoyed slowly. Drinking tea is a great time to pause and reflect, and can have a calming effect. Herbal teas can also have dietary and medicinal effects. Ginger, Chamomile, Mint, Lemon, and a myriad of others can be soothing both physically and to the spirit. Also, keeping hydrated can help alleviate headaches which can be brought up by stress.
- Take a walk.
Taking a walk can actually help de-stress on multiple levels. First there is the fact that you are doing something physical, and exercise has many health benefits (not to mention it gets you breathing!). Secondly, you can pick a scenic route and connect with nature which can help remind you of the beauty in the world and the big picture. Thirdly, if you are walking alone you can reflect and meditate, or if you are walking with a friend or pet, companionship can also be a stress reliever.
- Write in a journal/diary/blog.
I am an avid journal writer. I find sometimes I have thoughts or fears that swim in my head, but if I write them down then they are released. If it is a bigger issue, writing it down makes it tangible, a problem I can solve. However, sometimes something seems so big in my head but when I write it down I realize how silly/little/unimportant it is. Either way it gets out of my head. My journal is a safe, private space, where I can deal with life’s stresses without fear of being judged. As for blogs, I do that too. Blogging is more of a social experience. My blog is on films, which are another great stress reliever for me.
- Read a book/Watch a movie/Listen to a story/Go to a play.
It does not matter what form a story takes- whether you listen to a friend tell a tall tale, or watch an adventure, or read a great novel from the library- stories can transport you to a different time or place and help you escape for a little bit. (Not all of us are as lucky as Maggie to actually get to escape on a cruise!) Of course we would not want to fall into the trap of escapism, but a little break can be just what we need sometimes. Stories can also help us connect, and learn, and grow, and deal with stress. They can help us put life in perspective.
- Music… oh sweet music.
Music helps the soul to ascend. While the lyrics can put music in the category of story, I feel it deserves its own spot. Music is just so powerful. It can capture mood in such a potent way, and can transform you. Sometimes when I am down I like to listen to a sad song, and then a really upbeat and happy one, because I both need to know that others feel the way I do, and want to feel better.
Laughter has many health benefits. It boosts the mood and it gets you breathing (it’s all about the breath!) I am lucky in that I have two siblings who are amateur comics. They can make me laugh in an instant. I also love watching standup or a comedy. Laughter is such a release, a letting go. There is a reason why laughter has been hailed as the best medicine!
Those are some of the ways I deal with stress, but probably the way I personally deal with stress best is through the spirit, by connecting to God. I pray and I meditate and I read the Holy Writings. Not everyone is religious or spiritual, so I did not put that on the list, but I think everything on the list does help people connect with the spirit, or with humanity, or with the world in general. When we are stressed we feel powerless and small, but all of these methods can help us connect with the world at large and feel more complete, make us feel inspired.
I hope you enjoyed my post. Thanks for reading!