Last week Infusion Health had the pleasure of working with BHP Biliton, providing helpful stress reduction tips and tricks. Here is a recap of some important points from our interactive workshop.
1. Cell phones can impact stress levels!
A study by the Families and Work Institute found that 1 in 3 US employees’ feels chronically overworked? Cell phones and email are partly to blame: “Better technology hasn’t meant that we can work from anywhere, anytime,” says Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the institute. “It’s meant that we can work everywhere, every time.” (Families and Work Institute, 2014)
Turing off your phone for even 1 hour can help one to relax and improve mood.
2. Work is stressing Canadians out!
Work appears to be the #1 source of stress for Canadians
The majority of highly stressed workers (62%) identified work as their main source of stress. Clustered far behind were financial concerns and not having enough time (both at 12%), family matters, and personal and other issues such as relationships, health and generalized worries These proportions are very similar to those reported in 2005(Stats Canada 2011)
3. Try herbal teas, such as holy basil, instead of coffee.
Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) can help the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. Multiple scientific studies have found that supplementation with Holy Basil tea have helped lower cortisol levels in the body (the hormone that is associated with stress). This tea is easily found at most grocery stores in the natural foods section
3. Integrate relaxation techniques into your daily life.
It can be deep breathing, meditation, exercise, yoga or another technique to help you relax. Whatever it is, these techniques that help us calm down are so important for our health! Read on for steps on Progressive Muscle Relaxation- this technique has been proven to help relax and improve focus in treatment groups.
PMR is a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body. PMR brings awareness to tension and relaxation in different parts of your body. Combined with deep breathing, this awareness can help you counterbalance the feelings of stress in your body.
***Warning: Consult with your doctor if you have a history of muscle spasms, back problems, or other serious injuries that may be aggravated by tensing muscles before trying PMR.
Most progressive muscle relaxation practitioners start at the feet and work their way up to the face. Follow the steps listed below for a complete PMR body sequence (adapted from http://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/ndarc/resources/AppendicesCC.pdf)
- Loosen your clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
- Take a few minutes to relax, breathing in and out in slow, deep breaths.
- When you’re relaxed and ready to start, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
- Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
- Relax your right foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and the way your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
- Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
- When you’re ready, shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
- Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.
- It may take some practice at first, but try not to tense muscles other than those intended.
- Lower Legs (Left foot/ Left Calf) – point feet towards face, and then curl them downward all toes at the same
- Thighs – Clench them hard
- Hips and Buttocks – Press your buttocks together lightly
- Stomach – Suck it into a tight knot ( looking at the chest and stomach for tension)
- Back – Arch your back up and away from the chair (or floor)
- Shoulders – Shrug them ( raise toward your ears)
- Biceps and Upper Arms – Clench your hands into fists, bend our arms at the elbows, and flex your bicep
- Wrists and Forearms – Extend them, and bend your hands back at the wrist.
- Hands – make fist and clench them
- Chest – Take a deep breath, and hold it
- Front of the Neck –touch your chin to your chest
- Back of the Neck – Press Neck against floor, or imagine pressing against a car seat
- Mouth – Press your lips together tightly ( use only your lips – check your face for tension)
- Cheeks and Jaws – Smile as widely as you can
- Eyes and Bridge of the Nose – Close your eyes as tightly as you can ( remove contacts first)
- Forehead – Wrinkle it into a deep frown
We would love to hear from you! How to you relax?