The First Steps:
- Recognize and name the emotion or feeling you are experiencing
- Do not block out the emotion or feeling
- Try to figure out the source of your emotion or feeling
- Think of ways to solve the problem, and/or reach out to others who can help you manage the source of your stress
- Identify positive coping skills that can help you manage the source
- Find a ‘safe space’ for you to decompress or manage your feelings
- Close your eyes and breathe
- Sit up straight so your lungs can fully expand while you breathe
- Inhale and exhale while focusing on only your breathing
- Identify areas of your body that are affected by the stress you are feeling (Ex: a headache, cramps, nausea, rapid breathing, panic feeling, the desire to flight or fight)
Walking, stretching, and other fitness activities are proven to promote wellness as well help manage stress.
You can find many different stretching and exercise routines on YouTube.
No gym? No problem! There is a multitude of exercises you can do that don’t require any equipment.
- Close your eyes
- Focus on your breathing
- Fully inhale and exhale
- Imagine a place where you are most comfortable (beach, forest, mountain peak, etc.)
Draw or Write
Many people turn to drawing, doodling, or writing in a journal to relieve stress.
- Draw words, shapes, or emotions
- Write exactly how you are feeling.
- Identify the stressor, any physical signs, what you have tried before to manage the feeling, what you need to change, how you need to manage the situation, who you can ask for support, etc.
The “Breathing Square” is a commonly used method to relieve stress. It brings your attention away from the stress by turning it towards your breathing, and to the present.
- Choose a square in the room. Your square can be an imaginary, or an actual square in the room.
- Once you have chosen your square, place both feet flat on the ground, and relax your shoulders.
- Next, move your arm and hand to “trace” the outline of the square slowly. Inhale while moving your arm up, and hold it as you trace across the top of the square.
- Then, exhale while moving your arm down the side and across the bottom of the square until you reach your starting point.
- Continue exercise 5-10 times.
Calming White Noise
White Noise can be found in on any music streaming service provider, the app store, and on YouTube.
Relaxing Using White Noise:
1. Go to a place where there is rhythmic white noise (ex: river, woods, beach, waterfall, etc.), or put on a headset and listen to a white noise recording. Then, focus on the noise and encourage your thoughts to settle down.
2. Breathe, clear your mind, stay grounded as described above, and allow yourself to experience the calming effects of the white noise for 5-10 minutes.
3. When you feel you are ready and able to effectively problem solve, allow small portions of the stress into your thoughts.