How to help manage stress during difficult times!
Hello everyone! If you follow us on social media, you know I have been putting together different video series for everyone to help with stress management. I wanted to make sure these videos are accessible to everyone, since these times have been stressful for us all! As with my last blog post, each video covers a slightly different topic, but all focusing on the overarching theme of stress management. Enjoy!
In this first video I go over one of the most simple exercises to help reduce stress. It's so simple in fact, that we do this constantly throughout every day, BREATHING! When we take a minute and just focus on breathing and relaxation, several things happen in our body. First, your body will instinctively slow down your heart rate, release neurotransmitters that help relax muscle tension, and have been proven to reduce stress. Make sure to try to take diaphragmatic breaths (deep into the belly, rather than up near the top of your lungs)! Hope this video helps!
In this second video I talk a bit more specifically about the jaw. One very common symptom and sign of stress in clenching or grinding your teeth. As I'm sure your dentist may have told you, this can have significant problems for your teeth, but not only that, it can cause jaw muscle tension, tension headaches, and create temporo-mandibular joint (or TMJ as it's more known by) dysfunction. This can lead to pain with chewing, or even just a nagging headache you feel even at rest. So this video goes over a couple of tips on how to reduce jaw clenching and pain when you are feeling a stressed out.
In this third video I go over a really interesting activity/exercise to help with total body relaxation. Stress can have a huge impact on muscle tension throughout the body. Have you ever heard someone say something like "I hold all my stress in my neck" ? When stress hormones are released in the body, it puts our body in a state of "fight or flight" where it is basically preparing your muscles to activate at the drop of a pin. This is an evolutionary response that we developed when we were running from lions or tigers. Now at home when we are stressed about budgets, deadlines, kids, or whatever it is that causes you stress through the day, our body still reacts like it's about to be chased by a tiger, but now for our full work day instead of a short time! Our muscles tense up and become easier to activate more fully than when in a resting state. The exercise shown in this video help individually isolate, activate, then relax all different areas of the body. It can be a great exercise to help your body relax before bed, or as a break in the middle of your work day just to help your neck muscles relax. Hope you find this helpful! I know I do!
The main goal with this next video is to get everyone thinking! I want you to ask yourself the question: "What am I doing every day to help me relax?", and the answer to this question cannot be watching television! This may seem like a simple question, but when you look back through your day and think about times you spent only for yourself and only to help relax, I bet it might be difficult to find something! As mentioned in the video, this can be anything that YOU find relaxing. Some people love to cook and find it relaxing, so cooking each meal in a day can just feel great for them! Others, when trying to cook for their partner and 3 kids, and each child has different food preferences, and each one is trying to help, but really just making things worse... Geez, I'm getting stressed just writing that! My point is that what you find relaxing might be different from your partner, your friend, or your family! Take the time for yourself and find a passion you love to do each day to help you relax!
Now this last part is not a video, but is very important in helping relieve stress and anxiety. EXERCISE can be extremely beneficial to help reduce stress and anxiety, burn off excess energy, and loosen up tight muscles. Yoga can be very beneficial as it focuses on muscle relaxation, breathing, as well as core stability and muscle strength. These exercises were put together by our fabulous kinesiologist Karen. All of these can help reduce stress and improve your bodies overall health!
When you tune in to your breathing as you move through the following poses, the mind will focus and settle. Breathing into any areas of the body that you may feel restriction or tension can help to relax these areas. As you relax try extending the breath (long inhales and even longer exhales) while maintaining an easy pattern.
Come onto all fours. Relax the hips and sit back to heels. Bring forehead to rest on a pillow if needed. Stay for 5-10 deep long breaths or until you start to feel your body relax.
2) Child’s Pose Side Stretch: Start to walk your hands to the right side until you feel a stretch along the left side. Stay for 5 full breaths.
Repeat on left side.
3/4/5 ) Cat/Cow: Come onto all fours,with wrists directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Bring spine to a neutral position and take 5 deep, slow breaths. On an inhale, drop belly to ground, lift chest, lift gaze. On your exhale pull belly in, round the spine towards ceiling and tuck chin to chest. Repeat 5 times moving with your breath.
6/7 ) Supine Twist:
Come on to your back. Extend the legs, bend the knees and bring feet mat width apart. Extend arms a long side you or in cactus pose as shown. Allow knees to fall to the right, unstacked and uneven, and hold for 5 slow deep breaths. Repeat on the left side.
Note: Please discontinue and/or speak to your health care provider regarding any modifications that may be available to you, especially if any poses cause pain!
I hope that you all find these videos and exercises useful! I know these are uncertain and stressful times right now, but we can all work to find some joy amidst the chaos!
If you need anything at all from us, give us a call at 905-240-9355, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! We are here to try to help in whatever way you want, even if it's just for a quick chat! We are also doing virtual visits if you have any more in-depth questions or concerns!
Namaste and stay healthy!