By Tvisha Patel, Pretzel Kids contributing writer
Stress. This word may be all too familiar in your life.
Stress is inevitable and it is a part of everyone’s life whether you’re a kid, teen or adults. When you feel emotionally or physically drained, you often don’t feel happy in your everyday life. And, constant stress and burnout can lead to anxiety and depression.
Mental health is an extremely important topic, and it’s crucial that you take care of yourself.
Managing stress can take several forms. The most important thing is that you figure out the best way to reduce your anxiety and tackle your mental health challenges.
But how exactly can you start managing stress? Taking small steps everyday can make a huge difference in the long-run. You can start by shifting your mindset to believe that you can overcome challenges. Once you’ve developed this positive attitude, there are many other tips that can help you manage anxiety. This includes yoga, mindfulness and building consistent routines! Read on to learn how to manage stress during stressful times!
How Can Stress Impact Your Life
What exactly is stress? Stress is the way our bodies respond to certain situations or challenges. When you get stressed out, this can make your heart beat faster, increase anxiety and more. There is also good stress. Good stress can be work related or present itself in a manner that will help you become more motivated and positive. The bad stressors are what we want to eliminate and manage.
Bad stress can increase sadness, anxiety, depression and make you feel physically tired. This can be triggered by stress from work, relationships, deadlines, school, finances and much more. When you overthink about a certain problem, spend hours at work without self-care, and fall into bad habits, this can exacerbate stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, 73% of the people surveyed mentioned that stress affects their mental health. So, it is critical to learn how to manage stress effectively.
How to Manage Stress with Yoga
To manage stress, you need to try to shift towards a positive mindset and change your perspective, which is easier said than done. Therefore, we have a few techniques that can help you.
For starters, try yoga and breathwork to help manage stress. Several studies have proven the positive impact yoga and meditation has on anxiety. Yoga encourages breathing and deep relaxation, and it helps you prioritize your health. Grab a yoga mat and let’s get going!
Yoga Helps Manage Anxiety
Oftentimes, high stress levels can lead to anxiety. One way to help ease your anxiety is via slow breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises encourage you to clear your mind and focus your attention on the present moment.
A good way to start is to sit in a quiet area, close your eyes, and put one palm on your abdomen. Take deep breaths in and out. Be present, and notice the change in your breathing patterns. Notice what thoughts pop up in your mind. When negative thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and shift your mindset to become more positive. Once you start this practice, you will have more compassion for yourself and you’ll build a routine where yogic breathing promotes deep relaxation.
Yoga Improves Physical Health
Mental health and physical health are related to one another in different ways. When you feel happy, your body is often more energetic. You may have heard that exercise can give you a serotonin boost, making you feel happier, right? Similarly, yoga can have great benefits when it comes to reducing stress.
Yoga asanas also help you feel physically stronger. And, when you feel stronger, you can also feel better mentally. Poses like downward dog, cobra, and child’s pose not only help you relieve stress, but strengthen different areas of your body. When you set a yoga routine everyday and practice different asanas, you will notice a strengthening of your core, legs, back and more! For example, as you do pigeon pose, you may relieve stress from your hips – especially if you sit at a desk job – and simultaneously, because your body feels good, your mind will also relax.
Yoga Improves Sleep
One of the biggest culprits to a stressed out mind is lack of sleep! You may get so busy that you don’t get a full night’s sleep, which is critical to your everyday health. To encourage sleep, yoga can be a great technique to use.
Yoga helps you focus on the present moment, relieving your mind of constant racing thoughts. This gives your nervous system a chance to calm down and also aids in sleep. Once you have a relaxed mind and body, sleep may also improve.
To help you ease into bedtime mode, try to incorporate a few yoga poses and breathing exercises in a calm and quiet area. Postures can include pigeon pose, cobra, child’s pose, tree pose and legs-up-the-wall. Another pro tip: Avoid looking at screens before bed as this can disturb sleep patterns.
Yoga Encourages a Healthier Lifestyle
An unhealthy lifestyle further increases stress. This includes uneven sleep patterns, eating too much junk food, overthinking, overworking and the list goes on!
When you have a regular yoga routine, however, it encourages a calm state of mind and helps you manage stress. Plus, when you are rejuvenated, you’ll feel more encouraged to cook healthy meals. With the mindful techniques you learn from yoga, you can now apply them to your everyday life!
Building a Routine to Help Manage Stress
It’s essential to build a routine that can help you manage your stress instead of making it worse.
So, in the morning, take five to 10 minutes to practice mindful meditation. Plus, starting your day with breathing, movement and meditation can set the tone for the rest of your day.
During lunchtime, you may also want to take a break to stretch, revisit breathing exercises if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and even talk to your peers. And, when you’re home in the evening, you might want to practice yoga on your own OR with your children.
Are You Ready to Manage Your Stress and Hit the Reset Button?
Although stress is inevitable, you CAN control it – and yoga, breathwork, mindfulness, meditation, and healthy living can all help! Use the techniques in this article to encourage yourself to manage your stress and start feeling better. You can do this!
Tvisha Patel is a blog writer at Pretzel Kids. She loves doing yoga in her downtime and is currently a business student at Schulich School of Business – York University, in Ontario, Canada. Tvisha also enjoys exploring nature, music and photography!