"Me time" - it's that concept most of us automatically envision involving a bubble bath, candles, and some serious pampering time. But in reality, we often end up congratulating ourselves for even having time to even bathe regularly, let alone in a proper lounging manner with suds and champagne. Finding ways to dismiss the world and its stresses for even 10 minutes at a time and reconnect with yourself can make the difference between being on top of things and feeling overwhelmed. Here are some of my favorite ways to do just that.
- Breathing exercises - Oxygen is going to be your new best friend. Deep breathing helps deliver more oxygen to your brain to help you think more clearly, and it also stimulates the pituitary gland to send out neurohormones whose sole purpose is to make you feel better. Really, they inhibit stress-releasing hormones and trigger a relaxation response, but it makes me happier to think of them as tiny bartenders running around giving stressful me teeny glasses of wine every time I need it. Try some of these breathing exercises, or hit the Googles for more that might fit you better.
- Advice Time - Sometimes more of our stress comes not from making decisions, but in enacting them. That's why just talking through our issues with a friend is often the best therapy, even if your friend's advice is frequently exactly what you already know you should do. But for those worries and concerns you don't feel able to share (we all have our secret burdens), try role reversal. Imagine your friend is dealing with the same situation and write down the advice and solution you would give in that case. You'll find it easier to be objective and frank, and it will be easier to proceed with what you know is the right choice.
- Journaling - Not terribly different from Advice Time, but far less specific. Just take a short break every night, even for 10 minutes, and let your thoughts about the day flow freely. You might just surprise yourself when your subconscious starts piping up with associations and feelings you ignored in your haste through the day.
What kinds of stress-breakers do you use to help relax?