We asked our staff to put together their Go-To Techniques for Managing Stress and here's what they recommended:
Using Your Breath -
Lisa Cavaliere, Massage Therapist & Licensed Acupuncturist
When you feel stress, slowly inhale for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. Do that 3 times and see the results for yourself.
Adaptogenic Herbs, Vitamin D & C and Diaphragmatic Breathing -
Ryan Sauter, Massage Therapist
Adaptogenic Herbs - These can boost your adrenal glands and reduce cortisol (the hormone associated with stress). Some of the most common Adaptogenic Herbs are Ginseng, Holy Basil, Astragalus, Ashwaganda, Licorice Root, Rhodiola & Cordyceps. Many of these herbs can be found in our teas, and in your natural foods store.
Vitamin D - Most people as they age become Vitamin D deficient. This vitamin is especially tricky because to make sure you have enough Vitamin D, 3 things must happen:
1) You need to ensure that you get enough Vitamin D in your diet and from the sunlight
2) You need to get enough sleep to use the Vitamin D and
3) You need to avoid making glucocorticoids (like cortisol - the stress hormone) which decrease the expression of Vitamin D receptors, which can cause stress.
Vitamin C - Vitamin C reduces the results of physical and psychological stress. The RDA suggests 60 milligrams a day, however that's the recommended dose to ward off scurvy (prevalent at the time this was first recommended. To promote health, it may be better to take close to 1000mg. of Vitamin C per day.
Diaphragmatic Breathing - As you breathe, contract the diaphragm allowing the breath to pass into the lungs and the belly. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. The more oxygen in your bloodstream, the better you will feel.
Slow Down & Be Like Nature, Do Qigong Daily, and Minimize Sugar & Alcohol Intake -Ann Newland, Massage Therapist
Slow Down & Be Like Nature - Trees and flowers don't rush when they grow, they wisely take advantage of every inch of sunlight and ounce of water. Slowing down is natural. It is wise as we age. But it is also important to slow down in other phases of our lives when we get warning signals in the body and minds. Conscious people recognize the signs early and make adjustments to care for themselves better by practicing their own personal ways of re-energizing (this may be meditation, qigong, yoga, reducing sugar and alcohol, or just saying no when your plate is already full).
Qigong - "Qi" means energy or breath and "gong" means work or skill. Together, it means energy work or breath work. Qigong is a practice of combined breath and movement that helps us to slow down. It is based on balancing the body, mind and spirit. When we are out of balance, stress occurs. Qigong helps us learn how to work with our internal energy and vital life force to stay energized and have vitality. Mastering this system of recharging the self can be a key to learning how we navigate the turmoil that shows up throughout life.
Minimize Sugar & Alcohol Intake - Ann Newland, Massage Therapist
The average American consumes 22 added teaspoons of sugar per day which amounts to 350 additional calories. Most of this comes from processed or prepared foods and beverages. Sugar simply has no nutritional value. Recently a Harvard Study found that overall the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of added sugar in the diet regardless of age, sex, activity level and body mass index. Long term sugar intake can have physical effects on the brain (the hippocampus) and the heart which can lead to stress.
Take Time For Yourself -
Sarryh Hester, Licensed Acupuncturist
Do something special for yourself. Walk on the beach, go to a movie, eat your favorite meal, make yourself a cup of tea.
Imitate Your Pet -
Karesa Bullock, Massage Therapist
Animals know how to honor their bodies in every moment. Dogs, cats, fish. My dog Chacho shakes himself and does downward dog after every long sit or nap. Cats know how to chill in the sunlight. So if you begin feeling your shoulders tighten as you sit at your computer, take a moment to stretch or go for a 5 minute walk.
Start & End Your Days Well with Meditation & Improve Sleep with Essential Oils
Jill Stollmeyer, Massage Practitioner & Owner
Meditation - Start with 5 minutes each morning. Allow yourself to sit still for 5 minutes after you first awaken. Focus on your breath and and don't hold on to any one thought. If thoughts arise, just let them pass. Notice what thoughts arise and create tension and just focus on the breath to let them go. Move on to 10 minutes if you have successfully meditated for 5 minutes for 5 days in a row.
Use Essential Oils to Improve Sleep - More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia. Essential oils can improve your mood, your day and your night. There are many plants that have stress reduction and calming properties that can help you get the rest your need. In fact, lavender essential oil has been proven to improve sleep. Bergamot, chamomile and frankincense all well known for their calming effects and people all over the world use them to get a better night's rest.