3 Ways to Relieve and Control Stress
As a working mom of 3, I’m no stranger to stress. Whether it’s a sick kid, a looming deadline, a daunting amount of laundry, or a combination of it all, I have a few tools in my back pocket for when the stress becomes overwhelming. The first thing I do is take a deep breath and pause before throwing my nervous system into fight or flight mode.
Once I feel my heart rate calm down, I prioritize what I need to do immediately and what can be saved for later. Obviously if one of my kids is sick it is a priority to tend to them. If it’s the amount of laundry I still haven’t done, I remind myself it’s just clothes and I will get it done eventually. With deadlines at work, I have to make sure I close all tabs on my computer and sit and focus. When things feel too overwhelming, here are three things I find incredibly helpful for relieving stress:
I love to journal in the morning and evening. After a particularly stressful day, I find it so helpful to get my thoughts down on paper in the evenings to let go of the day’s stressors so that I can sleep peacefully. If I wake up and know I have a stressful day, the morning is a great time to journal. I can reflect on the many positives in my life and focus on those. I use my journal as a place to release my thoughts and not edit myself. I also like to have a place to see all it is that I need to do for the day, and then also look back and acknowledge myself and all of the things I’m accomplishing.
You can meditate anywhere, anytime. Meditation can help with connection, focus, relaxation, and stress relief. Whenever you find yourself with a few spare moments, breathe deep and focus on what your body is feeling. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting, standing, or lying down, just be for a moment. I like to focus on a longer exhalation and letting go of anything I don’t need. Imagine a giant bubble wand and a bottle of bubbles. As you blow big rainbow bubbles place a worry in each one and watch as it drifts away. You can also think about each body part letting go of physical tension which releases the tension in the mind.
3. Yoga and/or exercise
Even though I am a fitness and yoga instructor, I also need to get in some movement that is just for me. A good cardio workout is a great way to get my heart rate up and my mind off of the stress. Typically, by the end of the workout, I’m no longer thinking about whatever had me going in the first place. A session on my yoga mat can also help to clear my head. Similar to meditation, I focus on my breathing and letting go as I move from posture to posture.
I hope these methods for relieving and controlling stress are helpful to you but experiment with what helps you calm down when you need to. Call a friend, get some fresh air, paint, read, watch something funny, there are many options. The main goal should always be to relax and let go. Being stressed about a situation is never going to help things run smoothly. Ironically, once you’re chilled out you really can focus and get more done or at least get what you need to get done and enjoy it while you’re doing it!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!