In a previous blog post, we talked about how stress can negatively impact your hormones, leading to issues with irregular periods, PMS, and even infertility.
Today, let’s talk about proven stress relief strategies that can help you harmonize your hormones. These strategies are free and accessible to anyone, and you can use them anytime! If you apply them consistently, you’ll start to see true changes in your body and mind. So let’s dive in!
Stress Relief Strategy Number One: The Power of Breath
You’ve probably heard that breathing is good for you :), but did you know that how you breathe matters too?
Notice your breath right now: how quick is it? Are you breathing through your nose or mouth? Do you feel the breath moving down into the low lungs/belly or does it feel shallow?
To have the best benefits for your stress levels, you want to breathe in and out through the nose. You want to bring that breath deeper into the torso, using more of your lung capacity. And you want to slow down the breath, so that your energy also slows down.
Give this a try: inhale to the count of 4 and then exhale to the count of 4. Repeat this 4 times. When you’re done, notice any change in your body. It’s pretty amazing how just a few mindful breaths can actually shift the hormonal balance and stress levels in the body.
Stress Relief Strategy Number Two: Shake it off!
Now that we’ve gotten you nice and calm, it’s time to shake! Seriously. This stress relief strategy comes directly from the animal kingdom. After an animal experiences something stressful like a predator walking by, the animals shake their bodies to break down the adrenaline that’s coursing through their bloodstream (Learn more here!).
Adrenaline gets caught in our bodies too! When we shake the limbs, we release the muscular tension caused by the adrenaline and help to get our bodies working properly again. We’re able to actually release the stressful event, instead of staying caught in it’s grips.
It feels silly, but it works. You can put on music or not, and then start with your hands. Flap your hands back and forth, releasing tension. Then start to shake your arms, then your torso. You can shake your head and your legs and all the different parts of the body. Do this for 2-3 minutes.
When you stop, take a deep breath. Notice how there’s new freedom in the body.
Stress Relief Strategy Number Three: Write It Out
We use the shaking to physically process stress, but sometimes we need to emotionally process them, too. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of just wanting to tell someone about the trouble you’re experiencing. I’ve certainly felt that impulse. But I’ve also realized in the last few years that sometimes venting prolongs negative feelings or unnecessarily escalates the situation.
If you need to gain some clarity on a stressor and aren’t ready to have a rational conversation about it…it’s time to write.
In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests Morning Pages. These are 3 pages of text written by hand that you do first thing in the morning. It’s stream of consciousness writing – no editing or analyzing. You don’t have to ever read them again. They’re simply an opportunity to see what’s in your brain and begin to release that energy.
You might choose to make this a morning practice, or it can be a great in-the-moment way to process emotions.
Stress Relief Strategy Number Four: Body Care
Stress happens! But we want your everyday baseline stress levels to be low. That way, if difficulties arise, you’re not compounding multiple stressors on top of each other.
To have a lower baseline stress level, you want:
- Adequate sleep
- Adequate nutrition
- No stimulants
- Regular movement
Sleep deprivation is a state of stress. Not eating regular meals or using stimulants like caffeine actually simulates the stress response. And regular movement acts to clear inflammation and stress hormones from the body.
So if you feel like stress is a constant in your life, consider whether some of these daily routines listed above need to be dialed in. (And if you need some support in figuring out how to do that…consider an Ayurvedic consultation with me. It’s amazing how we can find simple ways to shift your routines and release your stress.)
Take a look at the list above and pick out one stress relief strategy that you could implement. Start small and watch how your mental and physical body begin to transform.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,