The Art of Relaxation
Top tips to help you beat stress
Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people but what causes stress for one person may seem like no big deal to someone else.
Stress can come from seemingly small events like heavy traffic or a long queue at the shop, or it can be a result of a crisis event, like the loss of a job, a death in the family, a pandemic …
The most important thing to do is to recognize, accept and manage your stress to avoid negative physical and emotional consequences. Chronic stress has been shown to suppress your immune system, increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels and exacerbate underlying conditions like anxiety and depression. While there is no perfect way to manage stress, here are some tips that may work for you and your family:
Take a Hike
Tough day? Take a walk as a family. Being outside in nature can help everyone relax. Explain to your kids that relaxing not only feels good, it can also help make us healthier. When we’re stressed, we’re more likely to make unhealthy choices, but unwinding helps us clear our minds and gives us the energy and focus to make good choices.
Cuddling and hugging can all help relieve stress. Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.
It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health as laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood. Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with family friends who make you laugh. Have everyone share a funny story or their favourite joke. Make sure everyone is listening when it’s one person’s time to talk. It’ll make your children feel good when people pay attention. Everyone gets their moment in the spotlight.
Have everyone sit comfortably, eyes closed, as you coach them:
• Take a slow deep breath in through your nose.
• See how your belly raises up?
• Hold your breath. 1-2-3.
• Slowly breathe out through your mouth.
• See how your belly goes down?
• Let out a sigh as you exhale, “ahhhhhhhh.”
Tell your kids they can deep-breathe whenever they need to recharge or calm down: at school, before a match, or at the end of the day. The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper.
When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises. This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful.