Stress relief for moms
Moms today are too stressed out. They need to take a break, relax, and de-stress. But tell this to a mom and you will get a roll of the eyes and a “get real.” With one baby on the hip, one in the stroller, and another in the car waiting to be brought to basketball practice, most moms feel as if a yoga class or even a bubble bath is out of the question. But rest assured moms, you don’t need a lot of time to de-stress and reconnect with yourself.
There are a lot of things a busy mom can do to bring relaxation and balance into her life, all in five minutes or less, according to Anita Schiavi, a licensed massage therapist and owner of The Center in Joliet, Illinois, a place where you can get a massage as well as relaxation and a variety of healing therapies.
“They say that 60-70 percent of people go to doctors for stress-related problems,” says Schiavi. “Stress that can be eliminated with simple relaxation techniques.” Keep these tips in your back packet for those times you are stressed out, tense or just need to find balance. Schiavi says that if you practice these five simple techniques everyday you will see improved patience, balance and inner peace. “You can even do these with the kids or while you are doing something else. They really work,” she adds.
Smile: Even if you don’t mean it, just smile. “Smiling actually changes chemistry in the body,” says Schiavi. “Research has found that a smile can reduce pain, improve immune response and help you feel better overall. Put smiley notes all over the house to remind yourself. If you do it over and over and get into the habit, you’ll start to do it automatically.”
Breathe: Just take a deep breath. “Breathing can be so powerful,” says Schiavi. Pay attention to yourself and see how often you hold your breath without even realizing it, especially if you are stressed out or deeply focused on something. “Holding your breath builds up acid in the tissue. That puts stress on the kidneys. And, when you have a drop in oxygen it can put stress on the heart,” Schiavi says. That’s why it is important to inhale and exhale slowly – the longer, slower breathing is better for relaxation than faster deep-breathing. “Time yourself; start with what is comfortable for you. If you start one day with a four-second inhale and a four-second exhale, over the next few days build it up to five, then six … eventually you’ll build up to 20 to 24 seconds.”
Tennis ball foot relaxer: Put a tennis ball into a sock and place it under the ball of your foot. Slowly push down and remember that you are supposed to be slowly digging the ball into your foot, not rolling it. Schiavi says that this exercise stimulates the reflexes in the foot and can actually have positive effects toward helping relieve tension and stress from your shoulder, neck and upper chest area. “This one is great for someone who feels like they have the weight on their shoulders.” Do this for up to an hour.
Tennis balls for neck tension: Take two tennis balls in a sock to bed and you just may lose that headache. Schiavi says to place the balls in a sock and put it just under the base of the skull for a few minutes when you lay down for bed. The pressure helps to open the two shiatsu points at the base of the skull. “You will get flow from the corner of your eyes, down your spine, all the way to your toes,” says Schiavi. “This helps with eye tension and headaches. It can also help with tight, contracted muscles in the neck.”
Cook’s tour: Sounds weird, but give this one a try (it is designed to balance your meridian energy and to integrate whole brain function):
• Sit on a chair with your left foot on the floor.
• Place your right ankle on the left knee.
• Place your left hand onto the right ankle.
• Place you right hand onto the ball of your right foot.
• Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
• Look off to the horizon (or though the wall in front of you) and keep your eyes open but somewhat unfocussed. Do this for about two minutes.
• After two minutes, put both feet on the floor.
• Extend your hands out in front off to the side a little (about three feet apart) with palms up.
• Close your eyes and picture that half your brain is in one hand and the other half is in the other (picturing a ball cut in half with one half in each hand works just as well).
• Start to move the hands toward each other, and as you do, imagine that they are coming into balance with each other – they are becoming one. As your hands come together your body will begin to feel balance. As they come together and touch, let your fingers clasp together forming a whole.
• Stay like that until you feel calm and balanced, at which point you can let go. You should feel completely relaxed and balanced.
For more information about The Center, and more tips on relaxation and de-stressing, go to http://www.centerjoliet.com"
By Jean Dunning