Liz’s tried and trusted stress relief tips
Stress can have a number of adverse effects on our physical and mental health from muscle tension and headaches to low moods and insomnia. Sometimes we all need to take a moment to check in with ourselves to ensure that we don’t become overwhelmed by stress. Read on to find out Liz’s tried and trusted stressbusters to bear in mind next time life’s pressures start mounting.
When I’m at home on our farm, I head outside first thing in the morning for a brisk walk – even in the cold and grey, it’s amazing how energising and exhilarating this is. Most outdoor physical activities are effective stress busters: running, kicking a football, playing with a dog, cycling, horse riding, canoeing, sailing – all have that feeling of wind-in-the-hair release and freedom.
If you can’t get outside, at least get to a window and pause for a moment to take in the view. I try to see the horizon every day, even if I’m working in a city.
Aim for three hugs a day. I’m very lucky that I almost always have family around to clasp, but if you are on your own, do see if you can find friends or pets to cuddle. And when you do, just notice the effects: you stop holding your breath, your shoulders go down, and you start smiling!
Episodes of Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous and Frasier never fail to cheer me up on even the stressiest day. Even reading a funny book, or sharing a joke, does the trick. Smiling and laughing release feel-good hormones called endorphins in the brain, which scud round the body, literally enhancing our wellbeing.
Surround yourself with positivity
This includes such simple things as looking at pictures of people and pets you love. Because we subliminally absorb what we are surrounded by, even apparently small positives can have a significant impact.
Make a joyful, uplifting playlist
Have a good singalong or dance round the kitchen to a feelgood playlist. One of my favourite feelgood choices is Abba’s Dancing Queen.
Wash it off
Take a shower and visualise all the toxic rubbish in your mind and body running off you and down the drain. For a really thorough de-stress and detox, I always wash my hair, too. Give your head a firm scalp massage when you apply the shampoo and conditioner, rotating your fingertips from nape to forehead. Finish with a cold rinse – all over! Your reward will be shiny hair and a clear, tension-free head.
Don’t look down! Doctors agree that looking up and forward can help ward off low moods. Iyengar yoga teacher Hannah Lovegrove says you can’t be in a negative mood if you stretch your arms above your head – try it: I think she has something there…
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