Driven doers have busy schedules which facilitate achievement but do not lend much time for rest. For those always in motion, there may not always time to build in for targeted relaxation. From military experience to professional sports, high pressure performance requires calm execution. These high-pressure moments are also the ones that trigger the biggest stress response. For those who perform at an elite level, you know the importance of protecting your well-being: physically, mentally, and emotionally, in order to accomplish the task ahead. For those who don't have time for the spa - try these 5 minute, no-fuss relaxation techniques instead as a way to manage stress and keep the mind and body calm when it matters most.
It’s no secret nutrition is top priority for a healthy mind and body, but did you know that stress is a top factor in what causes people to overeat? According to Harvard Medical School, the immediate reaction when stressed is to actually shut down appetite due to adrenaline. However, in situations where the body experiences stress over prolonged periods of time, the body’s cortisol levels increase, causing that urge to find a salty or sweet snack. Ultimately, this can lead to overeating, which makes the body lethargic and does not support mental health. Instead of grabbing the nearest chip bag, snacks that follow disciplined eating can be your five-minute source of managing stress.
Some feel good snacks for stress, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
Deep breathing has incredible benefits to your body’s stress response. Proper deep breathing only takes a few minutes, can be performed nearly anywhere, and immediately increases the supply of oxygen to your brain. This impacts the parasympathetic nervous system, which signals to your body that it is alright to slow down.
There are many breathing techniques you can utilize, what matters is what works best for you. When it comes to deep breathing, it is important to feel it in the belly, as opposed to the chest where shallow breathing can contribute to anxiety.
Example of Deep Breathing:
- Lie on your back on the floor, using a pillow for your head. Alternatively, you can use a chair where your shoulders, head, and neck are supported.
- Breathe through your nose, it should feel like you are inflating a balloon in your stomach.
- Breathe out through your nose.
- Place one hand on your stomach, and one on your chest, as you breathe in, feel the stomach rise. As you breathe out, notice how it is lowered.
- Repeat three times, or as desired.
One of the best ways to support mental health, exercise is a great way to help both mind and body. When feeling stressed, the best thing is to introduce slow, calming movements that will help regulate the nervous system. If you only have five minutes during the work day, taking a moment to step outside if possible and walk for a brief time can get the blood flowing and actually increase energy. For those who struggle with stress in their daily lives, incorporating movement such as targeting stretches or low-grade cardio can be a great tool when feeling overwhelmed.
Along with deep breathing, practicing mindfulness can be a powerful tool for relaxation that can be utilized any time, any place. Stress is a distractor and inhibits focus from what matters most. Taking even five minutes from your day, whether in the morning or at a time when anxiety is creeping in, can make you more present, and therefore more focused for the rest of the day’s tasks. Mindfulness requires paying attention to what you sense and feel in the moment and letting all other thoughts go away. This self-regulates the nervous system and helps both your body and mind relax. You can practice mindfulness yourself by describing what you are sensing wherever you may be, or you can use a guide as a resource. Utilizing mindfulness apps or podcasts are helpful tools that can also help recenter you for the rest of your day.
Stress relief comes in many different forms. Finding natural, targeted products that aid in focus and relaxation can be the proper tool you need to relax and recenter. VRB Lab’s Work Blend, a blend of CBD and adaptogens for daytime use, can help to recenter and re-energize you for the day’s tasks. Work’s proprietary blend was purpose-built to help us relax, prioritize, and execute the day’s tasks.