January 4, 2018

Modern life is busy and full of distractions. You may have a stressful job or maybe more than one job. Perhaps you have a business that requires your attention most of the time. Maybe you have health problems. Or you’re struggling to get through school or care for young children.


Not uncommonly, the busier we are, the less time we make for ourselves. We feel as if we need to get everything done now, and taking time out will mean something slips through the cracks. But the truth is rest and rejuvenation are essential to well-being.


If we let the stresses of life get to us and don’t take time for ourselves, our health will suffer. When we’re ill or mentally burned out because we never take time for ourselves, we become even less productive. It can be a downward spiral.


How Stress Affects Your Health and Productivity


When you’re under stress, your body releases too much cortisol. Cortisol is the “fight or flight hormone,” and when it rises, other body processes shut down.


Over time, this means your immune system weakens and your health may decline. You may have digestive problems, headaches, back and neck pain, or difficulty concentrating. Insomnia is another problem related to being too stressed or too busy.


Tools for Managing Stress


When is the last time you did something fun or relaxing? If you can’t remember, now may be the time to do something for you. What you choose is not important, but enjoying it is. Another important way to manage stress is by doing something that has a direct, positive effect on your body. Specifically, work on lowering stress levels in your body and mind.


So, what tools can you use to manage the stresses of modern life? Here are a few ideas:


  • Take a yoga class. Yoga is a lifestyle practice that offers many tools for reducing stress. These tools include physical exercise, breathing practices, and meditation, among others.

  • Spend time with family and friends. When life is busy, we often think that means we don’t have time for family and friends. However, spending time with people we care about who also care about us is a great antidote to stress. Having people to talk to or have fun with gives us a break from the stresses of modern living.

  • Try aromatherapy with essential oils. Emotions and scents are processed in the same part of the brain, which is why aromatherapy works. You can add essential oils to bath water, diffuse them into the air, or in some cases, applying them directly to your skin. (If you use essentials oils on skin, check the label to be sure the oil you’ve chosen is safe for topical use.) Scents that are good for stress relief include sandalwood, lavender, and patchouli.

  • Get a shiatsu massage.

    Shiatsu encourages the flow of chi, the life force of the body. This flow of this energy is often stopped or trapped when you’re stressed. Remember that stress hormones tend to shut down other processes in the body. In contrast, shiatsu massage can get your body’s vital energy flowing again. This effect on physical and mental health makes shiatsu massage truly unique.


Remember, no matter how busy your life is, you need to take time for yourself. Just as you still need to eat and sleep to survive, you also still need relaxation, recreation, and other forms of self-care to thrive.

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© 2017 by Ramona Ciuches