Stress plays a pretty big role in the lives of many; and though some choose to suffer through it; there are ways that you can reduce the presence of it in your life. Exercise is one of those things that can help you get rid of some of the stress in your life.
Life is full of surprises - both good and bad. The season change from Fall to Winter is often a rough transition for many people; and bad weather can make you feel tired and cranky.
The holidays are often a rollercoaster of emotions, bringing out our best and, sometimes, our worst. Then there are the unexpected surprises like losing a job, moving to a new city, contracting an illness, car accidents, and other events, big and small that test our mental strength.
Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future, but we can find ways to relieve stress in healthy ways. One of the best ways to work out the stress and pull yourself out of the dumps is to move your body.
It is important to take care of yourself when you are feeling down. This may even mean indulging yourself in a guilty pleasure as long as it is not something that is detrimental to your health, and it actually does make you feel better.
Rather than reach for the chocolate when you get stressed, think of something you enjoy doing. It might be working in the garden, taking a slow bike ride or taking a walk with a friend.
Rhythmic activities like walking, raking leaves or even cleaning can be healing exercises. As your body gets into its own rhythms, you can let your mind go and work out problems.
When jumping into exercise, take baby steps before you jump head first. Sometimes 30 minutes of an activity may feel overwhelming when your energy is low, and you may decide to only take a 10 minute walk.
Cutting your time short is okay, and chances are, you will start to feel more energetic and will keep going. Choose activities that require very little preparation like walking, gardening, cleaning the house or some gentle stretching.
Remember that it is okay to ask for support. Try to get a friend or family member to meet you once a week for a walk in the park or a local fitness class.
Knowing someone is waiting for you gives you more motivation to get going. If you tend to stay more sedentary when you feel blue, going from sitting to something active can seem like a big jump.
Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to get your body moving a bit before exercise. Take some time to stretch or simply walk around the house a bit.
Give yourself extra time to warm up if you are doing a high intensity activity like running or aerobics. Allow your body all the time it needs to get warm and allow your heart rate to climb gently.
It is always a good idea to end your workout feeling good, so give yourself some time to cool down as well. Getting some strength training and cardio into your day can help perk you up, but you may also need some time to do more soothing activities like Yoga.
Yoga is a great way to quiet your mind and relax your body. There are different ways to practice yoga; some vigorous and others relaxing.
Pilates is another option that forces you to concentrate on what your body is doing while helping you work on core strength, stability and flexibility. Meditation can force you to find the time and patience to relax you mind and body.
Meditation does not have to be complicated or some kind of spiritual experience; you can simply stop to breathe for a few minutes to relax. There are also health benefits to laughing; which you can try by just being happy or scheduling time to practice your chuckle.
You may want to schedule a massage to reduce stress. If this is not an option, try soaking in a hot bath and reading a book when you get a quiet minute to yourself.
When you get stressed out, you may be tempted to reach for things that offer instant gratification but long-term guilt. Learning healthy ways to increase your energy and lift your mood can open your eyes to new ideas for taking care of yourself.