Christmas is a special time of year but it can also come with a few stressors. You may not suffer with stress but there are always ways to relax the mind and body. So here are 5 simple ideas on how to encourage stress to be released.
1) Move – they body was designed to move. Over the Christmas period it feels great to rest on the sofa, watch a few films or even go for the box-set binge on Netflix, this needs doing, but the body does needs to move to work efficiently. If you are involved in one of our movement classes then why not get on your mat, flow through some yoga or pilates moves, belly-dance in the lounge or use the kitchen worktop as a makeshift barre. The body will love to feel that movement again. If you are not used to one of our fabulous movement classes then why not come along and try one, we are super friendly at The Well Retreat and we would love to welcome you. A winter walk will also get the circulation pumping into the muscles, it doesn’t have to be a long trek, a 20 minute stroll would get you breathing and moving well again.
2) Breathe – this is a really important aspect of life, but breathing well is really important for our wellbeing. Taking a few moments to be still, to draw attention to our breathing, to encourage the body to breathe from the belly will reset the stress response, start the body’s relaxation response and begin to calm. Take a few deep breaths, breathe in and out of the nose and release the out breath slowly.
3) Bathe – taking a 20 minute bath, morning or evening, will be so beneficial to reducing the stress levels in the body. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, said ‘Healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage’. If you add some epsom salts to the water, which contains magnesium, the relaxation mineral, this will support the stress release. We would also encourage the use of organic essential oils. Keep it simple, add 4-7 drops of lavender oils to the salts, run your bath water, once its ready, pour the salts into the water, swish the water around and lower yourself into the bath for a 20 minute soak, this will allow the salts and essential oils to enter the body.
4) Prioritise Sleep – getting good quality sleep is vital to reducing stress levels. If sleep doesn’t come easily, or you get the 2am stress induced wake up call, then make sure you’re doing all you can to allow the body to sleep. Keep the TV out of the bedroom, turn the phone onto airplane mode or better still leave it downstairs. If you wake up, try not to pick up the phone, but lay in darkness drawing the mind away from feeling the frustration but staying focussed on the breath.
5) Think Differently – it’s so easy to be overwhelmed with our increasing job list over the festive period, we can induce the stress response with our thoughts. A really good friend of the Well Retreat recommended writing down your job list, then work out how much time it would take to complete the task and you may find that the list that felt exhaustive could be completed in much less time that you had first thought.
You will find on our resource page some free tools to help your breathing, muscle tension release and stress release.