Three Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

Today was one of those days.  You know what I’m talking about…one of those days that starts out by spilling your coffee down the front of your white shirt and goes downhill from there.  One of those days where every single copier you use jams in twenty different places, everybody seems grumpy with you, and that great tool called technology just keeps crashing when you need it most.

It also doesn’t help that the holiday season is now upon us, and that alone can cause pounds of its own weight on our already stressed out shoulders.  This is a time of year when both professional life and personal life seem to be closing in, and we are trying to beat the clock to finish our to-do lists.  How can we possibly avoid burnout, especially at times like these?

Here are three easy things you can do to relive some of this stress, now or any time you are feeling overwhelmed.

1. Stretch

You don’t have to do an all-out yoga routine (although, if you are interested, there are a lot of great websites that have free resources and videos I can share…), but taking a few minutes to stretch out your muscles, especially in your shoulders, neck, and back, will get rid of some of the physical tension you may not realize you are carrying around.  You can even do some stretches right from the comfort of your chair!  Bonus: It will also help you correct your posture.  If you are anything like me, you start slouching when you feel overloaded.

2. Breathe

Sounds silly, but deep breathing exercises help center us, bring us back to the present moment, and calm our minds.  Start by taking a deep, down-to-your-belly breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly, slowly release it.  I use an app on my phone that sets your breath intake, hold, and release to music.  I have a hard time meditating because my brain usually wanders, but deep breathing helps me get into a more meditative focus.  Try doing this for five minutes a day, everyday, no matter how jam-packed your schedule seems to be.

3. Smile

No matter how bad it gets, no matter how frazzled you feel, slap a smile on your face.  Do something goofy.  Do a nice deed for someone else.  That saying “fake it ’til you make it” holds true…eventually you’ll find that your outlook has a much more positive spin, and that smile doesn’t feel fake anymore.

What are some of your stress-busting tactics?  What do you do with your students to help them relieve stress?


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