Adulting is hard. Life can be stressful at times (or let’s be honest, all the time!), because there are seemingly always more things that are constantly demanding our attention beyond the task at hand. While our initial instinct may be to simply avoid all of the things in our lives that are causing us stress, this can start to be a problem when it becomes necessary to leave the house. (This is why in my next life I’m coming back as a house cat!)
So unless your new hobby is learning how to be a hermit (and you’re lucky enough to have someone shop your Fancy Feast for you), learning how to deal with stress is a must. As we mentioned in a previous post, while a single massage is great for reducing stress and increasing general well-being, whatever part of your lifestyle created the tension in your body to begin with may still be waiting for you after you leave your session. Incorporating regular massage sessions into your routine is a great addition to your zen toolbox. And your sessions will be even more beneficial if they are joined by several other stress management techniques.
FIRST OF ALL, BREATHE.
Yes, it seems like it should be second nature. And it is, at a bare minimum. But if you take a little bit of space in your mind to just notice your breathing, it’s amazing how often we’re not really doing it. Sometimes, you may notice that you’re actually holding your breath without even realizing it. Long, slow, deep breaths are a great way to calm the body and the mind. And it takes less time than refilling your cup of coffee.
A body in motion stays in motion, and a body at rest stays at rest. For some people, this means that they tend to flit like a hummingbird from task to task, while for others this means that once you sit down to work on that important project you just don’t get up until quitin’ time. Both have their occasional benefits, but the body works best when in balance. If your life requires you to spend a lot of time in stillness, a few minutes of movement every hour can help keep away brain fog and increase your breathing. If your lifestyle involves constant movement, even a few minutes to stop, stay still and take in your surroundings can do wonders for your blood pressure. Personally, I use my dog for this because well, she’s gorgeous. Every time we go for a walk, I make her sit for a few minutes at this one intersection before we cross the street. And I just look at her, sitting peacefully, ready to attend to the next task as it comes along.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY.
Humans are a tremendously creative species. We are not about sticking to the status quo, and are constantly exploring new ways of doing things. This is why I am using a keyboard to type out a message to send out to all of you on the interwebs. That creativity can take an abundance of forms, but research has shown that working with your hands makes you feel good. Check out this great read from the Guardian on how (not) to become a stonemason. From knitting to making music to building tacos, whatever hobby gives you the feels, working with your hands can help clear your mind and give you a boost of confidence and purpose. Hint: This is part of why I became a massage therapist in the first place...