It’s National Relaxation Day! And we totally get it – relaxation is rarely a priority with the end of summer winding down and Back to School preparations happening. But when stress creeps in, it can have not only harmful psychological effects but negative physical effects as well.
Stress and behavioral health are affected by both environmental and biological factors. Emotional health concerns are less likely if environmental stress is well managed or reduced, we take care of our bodies, medications are taken as prescribed (if necessary), and substance use is avoided.”– Dan Braun, LCSW & Behavioral Health Director for Wasatch Pediatrics
There are 2 basic things you can do to help decrease stress:
- Take care of yourself: Eat healthy, exercise or play every day, spend QUALITY time with family/friends, get 8 hours or more of sleep nightly.
- Put boundaries on screen time/media/information: Accessing screen time & social media encourages a constant comparison of yourself to others. In addition it can disrupt your sleep, cause sensory overload, and trigger your body’s stress response. Make sure to schedule time away from screens to help your body regulate and your mind take a break.
In addition, you can do things to actively relax such as…
Deep Breathing: Take deep breaths in through your nose so your stomach rises, pausing for a few seconds, before slowly breathing out through your mouth. Deep breathing can counteract the physical effects of stress.
Imagining a relaxing place: Think of your favorite calming place, noticing what you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear to healthily distract and relax.
Stretching: Stretch the muscles in your body gently. Stress often causes our muscles to tighten and stretching counteracts this tension.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Gently tense the muscle groups in your body, one at a time. Then, relax that muscle group and completely relax for at least 15 seconds before moving onto the next muscle. Many people will add deep breathing and calming imagery while relaxing the muscle group. Move through your face, neck, shoulders and back, arms, hands, chest and stomach, legs, and feet one at a time. Be careful not to cause pain when tensing muscles.
Do things you enjoy, laugh.
Special thanks to Dan Braun for creating this list of skills to help relax and decrease stress.