My top 5 tips to reduce stress

1. Make sure you have some personal time

We live in a society where we have many demands placed upon our time: at home it may be sorting out children in the morning or chauffeuring them to and from after school activities, running a home, supporting elderly parents; and at work it may be attending meetings, travelling both here and abroad, or making phone calls at home so as to work with colleagues in other countries. All these factors reduce the time available to fit in an activity that is just for you. So try and schedule some time aside each week to do something you want to do. It might be to go and watch a rugby match with friends; have a long uninterrupted soak in the bath; read a book; or to try a meditation class. Whatever you choose to do that time is precious and to be enjoyed so do not feel that it has to be the first activity to be dropped if you run out of time, your well-being is a priority otherwise you cannot perform your other tasks to the best of your ability. You are important and sometimes you do need to put yourself first.

 

2. Exercise  

Most of the companies that I work in, staff are fortunate to have either an on-site gym or access to a subsidised gym. Use it! If your working day involves spending hours at a desk and then you relax at home by sitting watching TV or gaming for example, then some of your muscles will forget how much they can contract or stretch. Typically hamstrings can become shortened, which in chronic conditions can contribute to low back pain; shoulders can become rounded due to some muscles like the rhomboids being pulled out of position and lengthened.

Stress 1Regular exercise can break this pattern and help maintain balance in the body. A general gym workout will exercise all the major muscle groups and will invigorate the body. Exercise increases levels of endorphins in the body, which appear to be linked to pleasure centres in the brain and contribute to the feeling known as ‘runner’s high’!

If the gym isn’t for you there are numerous other options: yoga, running, dance classes, pilates, netball or football clubs. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

 

3. Have a ‘To Do’ list 

I love a ‘To Do’ list: sad but true. It can really help to write down all the things you know you need to do, that you are juggling in your head, as the demands these tasks require press upon your time. Even as you write the list remember the SMART mnemonic so that you break down large tasks into smaller components that are easier to achieve. This means that even on a busy day although you may not complete the entire task you will have taken steps towards it. At the end of the day/week, look back at your list and tick off all those you have accomplished. This then allows you to reorganise outstanding tasks and helps prioritise your goals for the next day/week.

 

4. Take a break away from your desk

It’s so important just to change your position and stretch out. If you own a cat or dog you will see for yourself that after it has been fixed in a position for a while it will turn round and just

Stretch

If you are unsure what stretches would be best for you then call me on 0759 050 1552 or email susan@powertouchtherapy.co.uk to book an appointment when we can look at your daily activities and devise some simple stretches to meet your needs.

 

5. Have a massage  

Well, obviously I am going to promote massage! But that is because it reduces stress levels. Studies have shown that massage is more effective in altering the body’s biochemistry than just resting or meditating, and has proven effectiveness in reducing anxiety, depression, lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate. This is achieved by altering the level of pressure applied to each stroke, the fluidity of movement and the techniques used by the therapist.

I know some people feel that if they have a massage they might feel too relaxed to work the rest of the day. Not a problem! I always tell my clients that if ever they have an important meeting or deadline to attend to after a treatment to let me know and I will incorporate some invigorating techniques in the session to leave you relaxed and refreshed. Indeed, a study by Field et al in 1996 showed that as well as reducing cortisol levels (a neurotransmitter that increase with increased stress levels) maths tests were completed faster and more accurately by the massage group than the control group who just sat in a chair.

 

With all these stress-relieving tips, they need to be incorporated into your daily life to feel the benefit. Spending 30 minutes away from a task may seem like time wasted but is it really if the result is that you come back clear headed, with better focus and clarity to evaluate and complete your task?

If you want to book a massage with me then please call me on 0759 050 1552 and leave a message to let me know your name and contact number or email me: susan@powertouchtherapy.co.uk.

 

 

© Susan Harrison, 2014, Powertouch Therapy

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