- Exercise – Move your body. Get outside and run or walk. Dance around or take a dance class. Feeling frustrated or angry? Try lifting weights. Seriously, I found that high intensity and heavy lifting to be a great way to work through tough and stressful situations without letting it get the better of me or directing it out onto others. Not only does moving your body helps clear your mind and allows you to focus on something other than your stressor, but it also gets the blood flowing and promotes the feel good endorphins to help you feel more energized and capable of taking on whatever lays ahead of you.
- Deep Breathing – Take several slow, big, deep breathes in and slowly exhale. Try closing your eyes to help bring you into the present moment. Focus on your belly and chest filling up with the oxygen, and then reversing as you exhale. This technique not only slows your breathing, but your heart rate down as well. It reduces the fight or flight reflex and allows you to become more grounded and focused.
- Yoga and/or Meditation – Like deep breathing techniques, both yoga and meditations will help you refocus and become more grounded. It slows the mind down and focuses on the here and now, the present moment. When you take the big picture out, you give your mind and body a break and allow it to be at peace. Focusing on yourself and not what is going on around you is a great way to break up the chaos in your life, and make things feel more manageable and less stressful.
- Massage Therapy - Receiving a massage is one of the least physically demanding ways, and probably the most enjoyable way, you can help reduce your stress levels. Once you find a massage therapist that you like, you book an appointment, you get on the table, and let go for 60-90-or even 120 minutes, while the massage therapist soothes away all the stress, tension, and sore muscles. You get to let go both your mind and body during the massage session, giving you that much needed break from everyday life. Massage also reduces your heart rate, increases blood flow, boosts your immune system, as well as relieves the sore and tense muscles with the aches and pains that stressful times will aggravate.
- Eat Healthy – Maintain a healthy, well balanced meal plan. We all tend to either over-eat or under-eat when we are stressed out, and it often tends to be not the healthiest of food options when we do eat. When you are stressed, it is even more important to make sure you eat complete and healthy meals throughout the day. When we eat well-balanced meals, we get the proper nutrients to fuel our mind and body to combat the everyday stressors. We need to keep our immune system up, our minds clear and focused, and our energy levels up. When we eat like crap, we feel like crap, and then we feel more out of control and unable to tackle what lies ahead. So do yourself a solid and try your best to keep eating healthy during times that you feel the most stressed. Give your body the fuel and defense to take on the stress. (Do I need to add drink plenty of water, too? Because staying hydrated is one of the most important aspects of eating healthy and properly fueling your body).
- Make time to do things you enjoy – One of the best things you can do, are things that make you happy. Make sure when you are dealing with stress, that you find time to step away to do what you love. Whether that is some form of art, reading, watching a movie, playing games or playing with your pet, or even getting outside and enjoying nature with a walk or gardening. Whatever you enjoy doing, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes your smile or laugh, do it. Staying positive and remembering what makes you happy will help you tremendously in dealing with your stress levels and bring you back down to a grounded state again.
- Talking it out – Sometimes you just need to talk about it. Whether you seek a professional to talk to, a friend or family member, or even yourself - yes talking out loud is okay to do. Talking about what is stressing you is a great first step in handling your stress. Acknowledging the stress; seeing it, hearing it, will allow you to address it and find ways to work around it, or how to handle it, or even prevent the same situation from possibly happening again in the future. If you don’t like speaking out loud about it, maybe try writing it down and reading it. Acknowledging and accepting are the first steps of conquering through the tough times.
Stress, it is an everyday presence in our lives. There really is not a way to completely avoid stress. The bills will always be coming, the job and family responsibilities will always be demanding your attention, and you’ll often feel like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done in time. Stress will perk up its ugly little head when we feel overwhelmed, not in control of a situation, or when we are anticipating something. It is ever present in our lives. So how do we cope with stress so that it does not take over our lives and lead to unhappiness, illness, and pour health? Below are some tips that have helped me cope with everyday stress. Give them a try.
Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) happen more often than we like to think, especially when the road conditions are slippery and slick due to the weather. Whether it was a small bump or a hard hit, the impact on your body can have serious effects that may not be noticeable right away. Your body can show signs of the trauma immediately, a day or two after the accident, or even weeks later. If you start to feel any of the follow symptoms, please go to your doctor or chiropractor and have them check you out:
Most prescriptions will be to get a massage 1-2 times a week for a length of time. Often 4-8 weeks. Then a re-evaluation if need further treatments. Sounds expensive? If you have Auto Insurance, your coverage most likely will cover the cost of treatments due to the MVA and allow you to see a chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapist. Check with your auto insurance provider to see what is covered and how much. Calling them is usually the easiest way to find out. If they do cover your massage therapy treatment, all you need to do is find a Massage Therapist who accepts MVA clients, bring in your doctor’s prescription for massage treatments, and all your auto insurance information:
The Massage Therapist will take care of the rest. They will call and verify that your claim is still open and will submit the billing to your Auto Insurance Company, so that all you have to do is relax and allow your body to heal. No need to stress about money and paying! It is that simple! Please note, though, that if your insurance denies any or part of the billed treatment sessions, you, as the client will be responsible for paying the remaining balance to the therapist directly.
Don’t delay in receiving treatments if you have been in a Motor Vehicle Accident. No matter how major or minor the accident may have seemed, your body will most likely have side effects from the impact. Get checked out by your physician as soon as you can and ask if massage will be helpful in your recovery and get a prescription. There is no need to be in pain, or have any aches or stiff muscles due to the accident. Let’s get you feeling better, faster, so you can keep living your life.
Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland,
Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and
a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.