Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Stress" is my middle name!

You take care of EVERYbody, but are you taking care of YOURSELF?

You know what stress is-- it's practically part of your job description as a teacher!
Do you have a goodie bag of relaxation techniques to go to when you're feeling particularly stressed out?

My challenge for you this week is to pick at least ONE relaxation technique and do it at least ONCE a day for the rest of the week! That doesn't sound too hard, does it? :)
I'm not assigning you "busy work!" I tell my students that I do not believe in busy work, and it's true. I believe in lessons that force you to practice and maybe even grow a little.

The Mayo Clinic offers a slew of good reasons to practice relaxation techniques:
Slowing your heart rate
Lowering blood pressure
Slowing your breathing rate
Increasing blood flow to major muscles
Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
Improving concentration
Reducing anger and frustration
Boosting confidence to handle problems

If this list isn't enough to prove to you that you need to practice relaxation skills, how about a few more reasons?
When you take care of yourself, you're setting a good example for others to follow.
When you take care of yourself, you can better take care of others.

A friend asked me once when I was particularly stressed out, "Sarah, don't you know why you have to put your oxygen mask on first??"
And honestly, I did not know why. I had always thought it was more important to try to get the oxygen mask around a child's face first, or a loved one seated next to me on the plane.
The Aha! Moment was when she said, "Sarah, you can't take care of anyone else if you can't breathe..."
Oh my goodness.

Yes, it's time for you to take care of yourself.
Not every relaxation tecnique works for everybody. We all have different interests and are drawn to some activities more than others. Let me provide you with a list of relaxation techniques to choose from. And like I said above, I challenge you to pick at least ONE relaxation activity and practice it at least ONCE a day for the rest of the week!

  • Yoga

  • Meditation

  • Exercise

  • Go for a walk (alone, with a friend, with a pet, with a partner)

  • Listen to music (relaxing music, not death metal)

  • Get a massage

  • Tai Chi

  • Take a break from working for a few minutes

  • Aroma therapy (lavendar and jasmine are scientifically the two most "relaxing" essential oils. Oils that give you energy are things like citrus (orange oil) and minty oils (peppermint, spearmint). Choose an oil that you find relaxing.)

  • Take a hot shower or soak in the tub

  • Read a book

  • Watch an inspiring movie

  • Subsribe to an "affirmation a day" type list and have a positive quote sent to your email every morning (One of my favorites is Inspire the Planet.)

  • Play with a pet

  • Count to 10. Count to 20 if you have to! Or count backwards.

  • Reiki

  • Take a nap

  • Think positively (Play the "Polyanna" role and change everything into a positive!)

  • Go to the theater or go out to a movie

  • Practice Deep Breathing

  • Find some relaxation apps for your iPod or iPhone

  • Journal

  • Laugh ("Laughter is the best medicine" is an English idiom, but whoever started saying it knew what they were talking about! Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and helps boost your immune system. It also raises levels of endorphins in our bodies.)

  • ..... Can you give me another one? Or two?

I want to hear how you did! :)

I hope that you take a few moments for yourself today, this week, and for the rest of your life! Take care!


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