In addition to managing stress in the moment, it's also very important to proactively invest in your health. You can think of it like a bank account-if you never make any deposits, there won't be money in there when you need it. You can build up your "stress management reserve" by practicing making yourself and your health a priority. That means reaching out for support when you need it, practicing reframing and being kind to yourself, setting good boundaries with others, and making time for yourself on a regular basis.
Particularly in today's wireless world, making time to practice relaxation techniques is a key component to managing stress and remaining resilient. There are a variety of techniques you can choose from, such as:
- Deep breathing
- Progressive relaxation
- Tai Chi
You can find more information about all of these techniques online. If possible, schedule a set time to practice relaxation each day-this is like making the deposit into your wellbeing account. You may find that it's easier to stick with your practice if you do it first thing in the morning, before other tasks and responsibilities get in the way.
Remember too that you can practice relaxation techniques while you're doing other things. For example, do some deep breathing while commuting to work. Or, try a simple meditation while waiting for an appointment. Even mundane tasks like housework or mowing the lawn can be used as opportunities for practicing mindfulness-instead of just trying to get through the task, really tune in and notice the movements you're making, the noises around you, and how you feel in your body.
A simple way to relax and recharge at your desk is by taking 5 minutes to massage your temples, breathe deeply with your eyes closed, hang your head forward, and rotate your shoulders. You can also just sit in silence and collect your thoughts.
The most effective relaxation techniques will be those that you're most easily able to incorporate into your daily routine. You may find it's helpful to actually schedule one to two brief periods each day for proactive relaxation and honor those times as you would any other appointment. Try out a few different techniques to see which works best for you. And if you find that you miss a few days or even a few weeks, don't worry-just get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum. The more you practice, the easier it will become.