This time of year can be extremely busy, with many people putting in over time and losing sleep in rush to meet Spring Festival deadlines. Tension and anxiety can begin to take their toll. Stress management techniques can help maintain productivity, keep you grounded and prevent burn outs. Here are some suggestions to help manage the mayhem:
1. Breathing exercises: Most of us tend to take shallow breaths, especially when we are under stress. Deep breathing not only tells or bodies to relax, but it also oxygenates the tissues. Try this exercise.
2. Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which are the natural “feel good” chemicals in our body. It also helps us release tension, anger, and frustrations. Even if you don’t have time for a workout, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walk home from the subway instead of talking a cab.
3. Visualization, meditation and prayer: All of these techniques have similar effects on the body, namely inducing a state of relaxation and thereby reducing stress. There are many different ways to go about achieving this effect so use the method that you’re most comfortable with.
4. Journaling: OK, so you haven’t had a diary since you were 13, and you’re a bit rusty when it comes to writing about your feelings – no problem! It’s time to pick up a pen and get started. Writing about what you’re going through can help relieve stress and as an added benefit, can aid in problem solving.
5. Herbal remedies: Linden flowers, chamomile, and lemon balm have long been used for their calming effects. These herbs can be enjoyed easily as an infusion: Use 2tsp of herbs per cup of tea.
6. Essential oils: Research into essential oils has shown that their scent can affect different parts of the brain. Some essential oils can help relieve anxiety, improve mood, and induce relaxation. Try putting a few drops of lavender or neroli (orange blossom) oil in a tissue and breathe deeply.
7. Laugh: Laughing releases endorphins. It’s not easy to laugh spontaneously, so watch a funny movie to get you started.
8. Avoid watching the news: It’s good to be informed, but more often than not news reports are filled with terrible, saddening, depressing news. When did you ever feel happy or invigorated after watching the news? In times of stress cut back on “stressful” TV.
9. Crash early: If I mention sleep a lot it’s because it’s so very important and most of us aren’t getting enough of it. When we’re well rested we have more energy, more patience and our ability to concentrate at work can improve.
And just remember, this crazy time won’t last forever. The madness will soon be over and you’ll have plenty of time to rest and relax. You deserve it!
Dr. Melissa Rodriguez is a Naturopathic doctor who lives with her family in Beijing.