As the stress of work, family, relationships and personal obligations pile up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that goes on in your daily life. Before you know it, you can get caught up in a vicious cycle of negative feelings, habits and attitudes.
To keep your emotional and physical health grounded, it can be helpful to maintain a healthy perspective by focusing on daily therapeutic approaches that can lead to better overall health and well-being. Whether you’re a busy mom or a stressed-out executive, everyone can benefit from pushing out the unhealthy aspects of your life one day at a time with the following five therapeutic tips.
Sweat It Out
Sweating can be one of the most therapeutic remedies for relieving stress and tension while increasing energy levels and positive attitudes. But many people believe they need to set aside an hour every day for cardio or strength training workouts to get the best results.
When it comes to exercising for the purpose of relieving stress, just five to 10 minutes of any level of activity can do the trick says Shannon Lemire, massage therapist at Elements Needham. Going for a 10-minute walk either outside or on the treadmill can be enough time to download your brain from a busy day and revitalize your spirits.
“I think you should approach any new activity little by little so you can set yourself up for success,” explains Lemire. “Anything you do, whether it’s exercising or eating healthy, should be about feeling good about what you’re doing and doing it in small pieces, rather than trying to go about it in really big ways and getting discouraged along the way.”
Leave Out the Junk
Most people would agree that soda, chips, sugary treats and desserts can be classified as traditional junk food. But eating refined and processed foods is fueling your body with junk food as well.
As the old saying goes, “you get out what you put in.” So if you’re fueling your body with junk food, then you will more than likely experience unfavorable results both physically and mentally.
Food not only can affect how your body looks and feels, but it also can contribute to people’s stress and whether they can handle what comes their way during the day. Lemire suggests removing junk food from your diet one day at a time by swapping out one processed food with one fruit or vegetable each day.
“If you’re not eating enough fruits, vegetables and ingredients from nature, then you’re going to wake up most days not feeling great,” explains Lemire. “You also aren’t preparing yourself to function 100 percent throughout the day.”
Breathe In and Out
Breathing is simple enough. You do it all day, every day without even thinking about it. But when you’re stressed or busy, your breathing patterns can become short and shallow, which can lead to tension from holding in your full breaths.
A good daily tension and stress release tactic is to take a minute or two out of your day to focus on deep breathing. If you work at a desk, it can be as easy as backing your chair up, putting your screensaver on, turning your phone off and just sitting quietly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
“I’m a big fan of getting in touch with your breath,” shares Lemire. “The simple act of deep breathing will get your stress levels down from a 10 to a three or less in no time. It’s a great quick stress reliever that anybody can do at any time.”
Throw Out a Smile
A smile can speak volumes when it comes to influencing your attitude and the feelings of others around you. When Lemire feels down or is having an off day, she tries to think of one thing that makes her smile to bring her back to a more happy and positive place emotionally. And, when she sees clients come in for a massage not feeling well, the simple act of smiling at them can help lighten up their day.
“I’m a big believer in positive thoughts,” explains Lemire. “The simple act of smiling not only makes me feel better, but 100 percent of the time it helps my clients feel better. And it’s nice to see them smile back, too.”
Take Time Out for Yourself
The biggest excuse that most people lean on for not being able to live a therapeutic lifestyle is not having enough time during their busy days to focus on their personal health and well-being. In the grand scheme of life, though, if you want to start living a better one then you have to start taking five minutes for yourself each and every day.
Just like you spend a few minutes daily brushing your teeth, schedule a few minutes of downtime every night before you go to bed to wind down, drink a cup of tea and just let yourself go. Or before you get out of bed in the morning, snooze your alarm for an extra few minutes to stretch out your body from head to toe, take a few deep breaths and set your intentions for the day.
Taking these few minutes at the beginning and end of your day can lead to making a big difference in your overall approach and attitude toward all areas of your life.
“You can always do something for as long as you brush your teeth,” says Lemire. “If I put an exercise like stretching or deep breathing into my phone and time it, it motivates me more and keeps me going. Just make it a priority to take a break and stop for a few minutes to check in with yourself.”
Daily therapeutics are not only good for promoting a healthy heart and soul internally. Taking time for yourself can also carry over to being able to better handle external situations in your life like work, relationships and family.
Start out today taking five minutes to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. It’ll only be a matter of time before you start feeling healthier and happier.