Stress. Everybody has it. It’s that annoying little bugger that none of us can seem to get completely rid of. In small doses stress can actually be a motivational thing, but we’re all familiar with the not-so-small doses”the kind that causes us to lean out the car window and flash that not-so-nice finger at the poor lady driving too slowly in front of you.
Chances are you aren’t yelling at that lady because of her Driving Miss Daisy road skills. It’s probably that catty coworker, or the pile of errands causing you to act this way. The scary thing is long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. It can raise blood pressure, lead to obesity, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process.
It’d be nice if you could de-stress by following in the footsteps of our favourite celebrities and hitting up a local retreat for some R&R. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and you can only afford five minutes. Can you de-stress in five minutes? Yes, it’s possible: just try one of these when you’re pressed for time.
Massage your ears. This is the quickest and easiest way to release endorphins in your brain. These feel-good vibes only take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule. Start by gently rubbing your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Then squeeze the outer edges of your ears all the way to the top. These parts of your ears have tiny reflex points that can relax specific areas of your body. Finish by using your index fingers and middle fingers to massage behind the ears on the bony part of your skull.
Go for a quick stroll. Even if it’s just to your girlfriend’s cubicle at the other end of the office and back, take time to stretch those legs. The aim here is to get yourself away from the immediate source of stress and to calm down. A few minutes to gather your thoughts is all you need to get some perspective.
Take slow, deep breaths. This is a time-old approach to handling stress. When we get stressed, we tend to breath more quickly, taking shallow breaths. Concentrate on your breathing (this is a technique employed in yoga). Imagine breathing from your stomach, filling it like a balloon, and not your chest. Take slow, deep, fulfilling breaths. You’ll notice a difference immediately.
Make cuts to your to-do list. How many shoulds are on your to-do list, and how many of those items are musts? Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely. Even watching that list shrink will have a calming effect on your frazzled state of mind. Learn to say no, to tasks and extra responsibilities. Taking on than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
Brew some tea. If you’re feeling uber-stressed, stay away from the caffeine. Stick to a nice cup of soothing herbal tea. The act of making yourself a drink can be calming: it gets you away from your stressful situation, and time to savor a drink with cleansing properties.
Watch a funny video. It’s hard to stay stressed when you’re laughing. Go ahead, click that LOL-check this out! video link you got in your e-mail from your buddy and give yourself five minutes to indulge. You’ll find that you return to your work “ or whatever the source of the stress is “ feeling much better equipped to handle it
As you get caught up in the moment of being busy sometimes it’s best to step back, let go of what you’re doing and take five minutes to calm down and refresh your mind. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. A stress case is never the best case!