Three Minutes, Three Stress-Busters

Take the 3 minute challenge to make a dent in your to do list.
Take the 3 minute challenge to make a dent in your to do list.

 

 

Here it is – the final installment of the three minute series. Have you been implementing the strategies? I’ve been working to squeeze them into my day. I have to say, the trash gathering and cleaning tricks have really helped me. I was able to invite a friend over for dinner yesterday and my house was relatively picked up enough that it wasn’t difficult to get it company-ready. We didn’t have to hide anything!

 

Over the course of 24 hours, 9 minutes, really isn’t a lot of time to break through your to do list or practice self-care.

 

Today I’m focusing on stress-busters. We can all use a little bit of stress relief, particularly caregivers. Here are things you can do either at the beginning of your day before facing the world or at the end of the day before crawling into bed.

 

Three Minute Stress Relieving Stretches:

I can’t be the only person who holds all of my tension in my neck. I always know when I’ve let me stress levels get out of hand. I start getting terrible multi-day headaches and my neck is so stiff I can barely turn my head. I have been in and out of physical therapy for the last 15 years, so one would think that I would do my stretches religiously so that I don’t have to go back. Yet, I’m human. I get busy and forget to practice self-care.

 

Here are the three stretches that I’m always assigned when I am sent back to physical therapy, and they work every time. I’m making a commitment to do t hem every night before I crawl into bed.

 

Chest Opener: Stand in a doorway, one hand on each side at shoulder height and stretch into the doorway. This stretch feels amazing!

 

Chest Opener
Chest Opener

 

Neck Stretch to the Side: Take your opposite hand and place it on the side of your head and gently use it to pull your head towards your shoulder. Hold it for 30 seconds and do the other side.

 

Side Neck Stretch
Side Neck Stretch

 

 

Next Stretch Diagonal: This looks similar to the side stretch, but is stretching the back sides of your neck. Again, take the opposite hand but put it towards the back of the top of your head and guide your head down diagonally (towards your armpit). Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side. You’ll feel this stretch in the back of your neck and near your shoulder blades.

 

Diagonal Neck  Stretch
Diagonal Neck Stretch

 

 

Stress Busting Breathing Technique:

I was at my rheumatologist appointment today and my doctor shared this relaxing breathing technique with me. It is supposed to calm your body and help reduce inflammation.

 

Close your mouth and inhale for 4 seconds, then hold the inhalation in for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. You should exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. That counts as one breath. You should do this 4 times.

 

Close your mouth and inhale for 4 seconds, then hold the inhalation in for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. You should exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. That counts as one breath. You should do this 4 times.

 

 

Practice an Inversion:

Inversion poses are known to increase blood circulation, boost energy and can help alleviate headaches or lower back pain. You don’t need to be a yogi to do this simple inversion. Simply lie on your back with a pillow or folded towel under your rear. Put your legs up on a wall and just relax and breathe. If your pelvis feels tucked under, you are too close to the wall.

 

Inversion
Inversion

 

 

Bonus! Here’s one more three minutes stress-buster I found, but it isn’t user-friendly. I recommend recording yourself reading the guide on your cell phone so that you can do this in bed before you fall asleep.

 

3 Minute Muscle Relaxation exercise

  • Sit down clench both hands into fists
  • Notice the tension, feel it, look at your hands, see and feel the tension travel up your arm
  • Squeeze even harder, put everything you have into it
  • Now close your eyes and feel the tension fully
  • Now take a deep breath in squeezing your hands as tightly as you possibly can
  • And with full awareness of what happens, release your breath and relax your hands
  • Let your out through your mouth as you uncurl your fingers. Feel the difference between tension and relaxation in your hands
  • And sit a moment with your eyes closed taking deep steady breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • And feel the sense of relaxation spreading through your loose and relaxed hands, up your arms, invite it into your shoulders as you let them drop and soften
  • Sit for a moment or two just noticing your body unwind
  • Let your face relax, your chest, your stomach, your legs
  • Imagine that you are releasing tension from your entire body
  • Knowing that as your body relaxes, so does your mind
  • When you are ready, take a deep breath and stretch, shrug your shoulders, and carry on with your day

 

I hope the three minute series has been helpful to you. As a caregiver, you have so little time to get things done that breaking it into chunks can really help make a dent in your to dos.

 

 

 

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1 thought on “Three Minutes, Three Stress-Busters”

  • 1
    Sue Anne Reyes on May 18, 2016 Reply

    Communication is the key when dealing with your aging loved ones. Conversing with your parents regularly will give you an insight to their problems and feelings – this will allow you to help and support them better. In order to communicate with your elderly parents effectively, you have to be mindful of your words. Here are some statements that you should never utter to your aging loved ones.

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