Fall has the energy of “action” for me. My kiddo is back in school, which generally means I have more time to devote to work, projects, etc. I like to vacation in the summer, so by the time fall rolls around, I can feel a certain pressure or “urgency” around my work, especially as I am gearing up for the final quarter.
It's an easy time to slip back into bad habits. For me, that looks like taking on too much or not planning my wellness and connection activities first. And, of course, that leads to me feeling stressed.
When I am working in a state of “fight or flight”, my decision-making is poor, I can’t communicate effectively, and I’m generally “re-acting” to the world around me, instead of “responding”. Not good…
However, if I stay intentional about my self-care and keep my practices super simple, I am able to handle the stress of the “busy” times. To show up as my “best self”, I focus on nourishing my nervous system throughout my day. The following five techniques encourage the body to return to a state of calm and rest; which makes all the difference in my ability to focus, connect and create.
Today, I am sharing five easy ways to quickly de-stress. These activities are great for work, or anytime you are feeling overwhelmed. They are my go-to’s when I need a quick burst of relaxation but don’t want to put much energy or thought into what I am doing (which is most of the time).
Each of these practices takes less than five minutes and doesn’t require any “extras” -- which makes them perfect for combating the inevitable stressors in our work and home lives.
One of the best ways to release tension and trauma is by “shaking” and moving the body. Shaking or vibrating helps to release muscular tension, burn excess adrenaline, which returns the nervous system to its neutral state by downregulating stress levels in the body.
Practice: Like the song, it’s time to “shake it off”. I am known for my spontaneous dance parties. I blast my favorite 80’s tunes and get down with myself. Yeah, it’s silly, but between the laughter and the movement, I feel better and more focused.
Jumping, wiggling, shaking out your legs and arms, rolling your shoulders, are perfect examples. It only takes a minute or two of movement to be effective, and the benefits are immediate.
TAKE A BREAK 🧘♀️
Working for long stretches “stresses” our nervous system which leads to both fatigue and exhaustion. Taking a break helps replenish your mental resources. This is especially true for the prefrontal cortex, the “thinking” part of the brain that focuses on goal-oriented work and concentration.
Stepping away from work will often lead me to those “aha” moments that wouldn’t come naturally if I continue to “grind” away. I was guilty of working like this before. I would sit down to work and would finally come up for air hours later, blurry-eyed and completely drained. The worst part is that the quality of my work would decrease the longer I was “at it”. When it comes to increasing efficiency, taking breaks has been one of my biggest game-changers.
Practice: To increase productivity & efficiency, I've used different methods (Pomodoro & 52/17) to help me work. Sometimes shorter bursts feel more effective, and other times I like to work in longer stretches. Experiment and see what feels best to you. On my breaks, I move (take short walks), do light housework, practice Yoga Nidra, etc. Have fun with it and develop a system that works for you and your working style.
Did you know that water = brain fuel? Dehydration is a sure-fire way to stress the body. Even a subtle amount of dehydration can cause fatigue, anxiety, and memory loss. Stopping to hydrate is one of the easiest ways to keep the body relaxed and healthy.
I’ll be 100% honest, and say that there are times when I still struggle to be consistent. And, I can definitely feel the effects when I am not getting enough. Water is always my first option when I am feeling “blah” or not well.
Practice: The easiest way for me to track my water intake is to keep my water bottle with me at all times. I also use a water reminder app. There are several great apps out there--find one that works for you.
A few other ways that I “sneak” in my water:
💧 Fill my water bottle before bed, so I can hydrate first thing in the a.m.
💧 Drink water before I drink my coffee
💧 When I take my breaks, I signal the start with a big glass of h2o. :)
Suspending the breath or shallow breathing is one of the first things that happens when the body is stressed. By connecting with our breath, we can help calm the nervous system and return to a relaxed state. (Think “zen moment”!) As a bonus, intentional breathwork can also help you increase your attention span and reduce pain levels.
Practice: Start by noticing your breathing throughout your day. Are you “holding your breath”? If you're tensing up or feeling irritable, start by breathing from your stomach, pushing out each time you inhale. Focus on longer breaths, counting to three for each inhale and exhale. Keep practicing and notice the changes that continue to take place over time. For me, 30 seconds to a minute of conscious breathwork makes a big difference!
YOGA NIDRA 🧘♀️
Yoga Nidra is one of my absolute favorite ways to find my center when I am feeling stressed. It is similar to meditation but allows for a deeper state of relaxation and awareness. Plus, it can be done anywhere and doesn’t require fancy equipment or $$$.
The BEST part is that a Yoga Nidra practice can produce the same benefits as sleep. Work up to 30 minutes, and you’ll have the equivalent of eight hours of sleep, with a 65 percent boost of dopamine. (Yes, please!!!!)
Practice: Turn off your phone, notify those around you to “do not disturb”, and choose a comfortable spot to lie down or sit peacefully. Yoga Nidra is a guided practice, and I love both of these free resources (varying in length).
So there you have it! Five easy ways to de-stress quickly and easily so you can get back to business.
🏃♀️ MOVEMENT 🧘♀️ TAKE A BREAK 💧 HYDRATE 😮💨BREATHWORK 🧘♀️ YOGA NIDRA
It's easy to fall into the trap of overworking when we feel the pressure or urgency to "get things done". By building in short breaks (think of them like recovery periods), we are allowing our nervous system to relax, which is so critical for our ability to show up as our "best selves doing our best work" consistently.
Want to learn more about the "science of self-care" and how to stop feeling guilty about taking time for yourself? Click here...
Hi there! I’m Jordan Eades, Holistic Business Coach and founder of Your Best Business LIfe. My passion is guiding women business owners who want to make a big impact in business—without sacrificing what matters most.
Your Best Business Life coaching provides the keys to overcoming overworking; allowing you to create a sustainable and profitable business, focus on the work that fuels your passion, unapologetically invest in self-care, prioritize experiences that light you up, and provide the support you need to thrive.