Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Stress-Less Strategies

Need to relax? Cant figure out how to do this when you have children running around everywhere? Well here are a few idea's for you to try out. I am guilty of getting stressed to just about everything. So this will be a learning lesson for you and me both. Okay lets go...

Listen to music or read.
Music with a slow beat may cause brain waves to keep time and mellow you out. Whereas getting lost in a good book allows you to disassociate from real-life chaos for a bit. When I walk my girls to school, on the way home I plug my ears with my ipod with my favorite music. I usually will pick a fast beat song for uphill streets, and slow songs for flat streets. This way I can get through the hill but not notice how my legs are burning. lol

Watch tv or a movie
Anticipation of a fun event, even a new episode of a funny show, lowers stress hormones and revs up immunity. But if your trying to do something and turn off the tv. Your attention gets scattered, making it harder to unwind. If im up and worried about something late at night, I turn on the tv to get my attention else where. Sometimes I worry about the silliest things. A couple days ago I was worried about my next day trip to Ikea. Didnt know if they would have a stroller cart big enough for my twins. See what I mean?

Talk with friends
Friends help you manage your negative emotions and brainstorm new ideas for solving problems. Giving support is as soothing as getting it, because listening can make you feel needed. But dont get too whiney about it. Talking in circles will just create more angst. Spend no longer than 5 minutes complaining about it, then move on. So keep your closest friend on speed dial . lol

Exercise 30 minutes
1/2 an hour of aerobic exercise can release chemicals that help blunt your body's stress response for up to a full day. Do more, benefit more. Everyday I do 1 hour of walking, and fyi im pushing my 4 yr old twins in a stroller the whole time. Yep, and I even jog with them. Yes I get stomach cramps and have to walk. Im no pro. I can say that I do it. It keeps my mind off any worries and I feel good and healthy.

Pamper Yourself
A little self-love lowers your blood pressure and distracts your brain from its worries. And it doesnt have to cost a thing. A warm bath can activate neutrons that increase serotonin. Try putting a good lotion on your feet and give yourself a massage. Your feet will thank you and you will relax. Put on your favorite pj's (anytime of the day) and this automatically makes you feel better.
Have lots of love making
Yep I said it. Even a 20 second kiss or hug raises your endorphin levels. Plus, reaffirming connections with your loved ones is a sure-fire tension reducer. Dont stop at a cuddle. Doing the deed releases more calming hormones than anything.

Keep a journal
Just pull out a school spiral you bought for your kids on sale for craft time. What? Am I the only one who does this? Stressful thoughts tend to be disorganized and can set off the fight-or-flight response. When you write them down, you can look at things logically. A study finds that a mere month of expressive writing can help reduce hypertension. The first time you write about a worry, you can feel worse. Write for at least 3 days to move past venting. Its for your eyes only so dont hold back.

Be a better breather
When you make a effort to breath deeper, it naturally brings your body back to a more relaxed state. Place your hand on your stomach and watch it rise as you inhale for a count of 3 or 4; hold your breath for the same count, and then exhale for as long as comfortable and watch your belly fall.

Look foward to something
Each morning think about one little, enjoyable thing you plan to do that day(using that freebie coupon ) and one bigger pleasure on the horizon(maybe a camping trip). This ritual trains your brain to focus away from what can go wrong that day.

Post pics of your happiest moments
Put pictures of your happiest moments on a mirror in the bathroom. Just 10 seconds of concentrating on the images is enought o reduce muscle tension and stabilize your heartbeat.

Dish out a compliment
Studies have shown that the more warm personal connections you make, the better your body will be at fighting off the effects of stress.

Convert Monday to Friday
You know that more heart attacks occur on Mondays than any other day? yep. Have a play date, moms day, or coffee date with a friend on Monday. This way you will look foward to that day and not dreading it. Or you can completely ignore Mondays like I do. lol

Come home 15 minutes late
After work, or a stressful day of taking care of the kids, take a extra 15 minutes for yourself. Liten to music or take a walk. Its an important way of decompressing and transitioning back into relax mode.

Make a worry list
A constant loop of anxieties keeping you up? Put a notepad by your bedside table, write down your worries and tell yourself, I will not fret until 11 am tomorrow. When that time rolls around, you'll likely see things anew. Im gonna try this one out tonight. I struggle with this one.

Learn to fight fair
Women stress over fighging with a significant other. Its what we do. Take a time-out every five minutes of an arguement to take deep breaths and calm down. Then end every fight with a positive activity such as kissing or dancing to raise your endorphin levels. Im not sure how this one will actually play out. I know im not in the mood to dance or kiss after a fight. Maybe a hug will due? lol

Stop and smell the rosemary
Breathing this scent for five minutes lowers cortisol. Sniff out valerian to aid sleep and bergamot and rose to calm down. Maybe you have fresh rosemary in your garden? Pick a sprig and rub it gently. Lay it on your bedside table. This should do the trick. If you have lotions with these in it, just put some lotion around your neck. I do this with lavender lotion. Helps me sleep better.

Gain perspective.
Weve all had our moments: Im gonna be late, he's gonna get mad! Take a dep breath and picture your stress shrinking and your happiness growing. Make a mental note of it. Im a little iffy with this one. We will see if this actually works.

Stress busting foods (vitamin B)
To brightening your mood
Almonds Low fat yogurt
Pistachios Salmon
Scallops Shrimp

Jump start immunity (Vitamin C)
Blueberries Broccoli
Green Bell Peppers Kiwifruit
Strawberries Tomatoes

Managing anger (Potassium)
Advocados Banana's
Black beans Corn
Potatoes White beans

Sounder Sleep (Magnesium )
Chickpeas Lentils
Oatmeal Pumpkin seeds
Spinach Swiss Chard

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