Quick ways to beat stress and relax

Don’t you hate when you’re feeling stressed, and people think they know better than you? ‘Take some time off,’ they say. ‘Take a deep breath’. ‘Relax!’ It can get annoying, and is usually easier said than done.

But don’t despair—if you’re feeling stressed about something, there are some simple techniques you can try and get back to feeling at your best. Here are five of our favourites:

1. Breathe

It sounds simple, right? However, studies show that when someone is stressed they tend to hold their breath. This can be subconscious, and is the reason for why your chest feels so tight. So, take a moment to take a breath. Deep breaths. Breathe in for four counts, filling the air into your chest as if blowing up a balloon. Hold for a second, and then exhale for four counts. Make sure to take this slow, because inhaling too quickly can make you hyperventilate or light headed.

2. Go for a walk

If your workload is getting to be too much, taking a break is absolutely fine. A ten-minute walk isn’t going to hurt, and when you get those endorphins pumping, your brain will thank you. Take your mind off your work and enjoy the scenery, breathe in the air. Just relax.

3. Meditate

Meditation is quick, relaxing, and easy to learn if you have a little patience. Sit with your legs crossed and place your right hand over your left, thumbs creating an arch. Breathe in as if your lungs are a bag, filling the bottom then the middle and, lastly, the top with air. Hold your breath for a moment. Then starting at the top, completely exhale. You want to do this slowly, pressing all the air out, as your lungs curl up under your ribs. Focusing on your breathing for a few minutes should relax your body. Meditation is such a revitalising technique and will have you feeling as smooth as melted butter.

4. Stretch

If your feeling tense and your shoulders are pressed to your ears, you might want to take the opportunity to release your muscles. Step away from your work or find a quiet room. Play some soft music if you like. Try a few simple stretches; stretching your arms and neck will help relieve the tension pressing onto the area of your thoracic spine or neck. When my neck was particularly sore, I would stand with my legs apart and lean forward, hanging my head towards the floor. Keep your balance and try not to lock your knees. Let your arms hang forward and feel your neck release. You can also cross your arms and let them dangle above your head to feel the stretch better.

5. Lastly, Exercise. Why not try Yoga or Pilates?

Now, don’t say, ‘That’s too much effort!’ or ‘I don’t have the time,’ because trust me, you’re going to want to try this. Taking an hour or less out of your day will not jeopardise anything, and you won’t regret it. If your neck is sore and your head is pounding, that’s your body telling you to, ‘It’s time to take a break!’ Sign yourself up for one class and see how it goes. You might find yourself booking more, and by the end of it you will feel lighter, healthier and happier.

There are no excuses when it comes to your wellbeing. No matter the task, health is more important, so give your body the break it deserves. These simple steps will reduce the strain and allow you to get back to your day feeling re-energised and relaxed.

Written by Lilli Leeon

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