Four ways to keep stress at bay

AMP_2014_tax_day (1)As much as we enjoy the emerging flowers and warmer weather of April, there can be a bit of a dark cloud hanging in the spring sky. Often the first few weeks of the month are a rush of receipts and 1040’s as the April 15 Tax deadline looms (that’s me), and a rush of new schedules as the kids’ sports seasons fire up (not me). Maybe that’s why April is Stress Awareness Month; to remind us to take care of ourselves, and not let stress go unchecked.

I always say, “Self care is the best care.” And I mean it. So here are four ways to keep your mind and body mellow and happy.

Meditation

Meditation does not have to be about pretzeled legs, chanting, and reaching enlightenment. If that was mandatory, I sure as heck couldn’t do it. Meditation can simply be about creating a moment of stillness in your mind as a way to become more relaxed. Just one minute, 60 seconds of meditation, can dramatically improve your mood, your productivity and the quality of your day.

Exercise

It can be tough to make time for exercise when the schedule gets tight and tensions get high. But that’s when it becomes even more important. Exercise can relieve the physical symptoms of stress like fatigue, pain, and moodiness. If you can’t make time for daily workout, try to fit a 5-10 minute walk outside into some part of your day. A little goes a long way when you need it. And yes, I consider a stroll to the Pastry Box sufficient exercise.

Giggle and hum

Both laughter and music can lower the blood pressure. In fact, this study in 2011 showed that 3 months of laughter or music therapy resulted in the same drop in blood pressure that could be achieved with a low-salt diet, losing 10 pounds, or taking a blood-pressure-lowering medication.

So cue up the “Who’s on first?” or the new Lake Street Dive album and work some giggling and humming into your day.

Massage

Regular massage can improve sleep, relieve headaches, reduce muscle pain, and improve moods. Plus, massage feels good. When you feel good, you play more, work more efficiently, and take better care of the people you love. Schedule a massage now to prepare for a busy (and fun) spring!

Commit to taking care of yourself this spring! You may be surprised with the results.

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