1. Relieve the source of stress…easier said than done in most cases. If the source of your stress is difficult to remove or not feasible, then focus on minimizing the effect of stress on your body with #s 2- 5!
2. Enroll in a Yoga or Tai Chi class to help your body relax the stressed out and tense muscles. If time is a factor, then simple stretching at home is a quick, easy, and cheap way to accomplish muscle relaxation. Whatever you choose to do, go at your own pace and listen to your body when a stretch feels like too much.
3. Take a relaxing bath after a stressful day, to help you unwind (or shower, if preferred). Use a soothing scented soap or add a few drops of essential oils to the water. Scents such as lavender, sandalwood, or a soothing blend are beneficial. Soaking in Epsom salts will also help to ease tense or sore muscles.
4. Drink water! A much overlooked yet effective way to promote the body’s ability to recover from stress. Staying well hydrated with water allows your body to flush out toxic by-products, and helps to prevent fatigue.
5. Get a massage! While a 60 minute massage is ideal, benefits from massage can be achieved in frequent 30 minute massage sessions. Massage is a useful way to not only de-stress the mind, but also de-stress the body. There are many forms of massage, from purely relaxing Swedish massage, to therapeutic neuromuscular and trigger point massage. The latter forms are most beneficial when long term stress is creating muscle aches, pains, tension or headaches. Instead of relying on medications to mask the symptoms, try using neuromuscular or trigger point massage to help get to the source of the problem, muscle knots. When knots form within the muscles, normal blood circulation to that muscle tissue is disrupted. Pain results and is usually felt in neighboring areas from where the knots are. Ridding the body of these muscle knots, also known as trigger points, helps to restore normal blood flow to muscle. The result is less muscle pain, tension or headaches.
If stress is getting the better of you, take a little time to focus on yourself. Drink water, stretch and make massage therapy part of your lifestyle to help you de-stress and stay on the path to good health.