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Distressed to De-Stressed – Stress Management Techniques

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Super quick vectorA few months ago, while having dinner with friends,I was venting about how stressful it was to be an expectant parent (don’t judge me – I had spent the first hour talking about how awesome it was). And then one of my friends said that one word that all Type-A people hate to hear – “relax”.

Needless to say, I spoke my mind about how that was easier said than done. How could I relax? There was so much going on with this new baby on the way. My life had already changed so much that I just couldn’t silence all those worrisome thoughts in my head.

However on my way back home, I thought about what my friend said and wondered if maybe she had a point.

Therefore, I sought the advice of a few people, did a little research and tried some stress management techniques. If you are an expectant or new parent or even the parent of a older child and want to try to “relax” here are a few things you can try:

  • Massage This is the most obvious one, but also the most effective relaxation technique, for both your mind and your body. If you are an expectant mother, in your first trimester, make sure you speak with your doctor prior to going for a massage. Also make sure that you go to a pregnancy certified massage therapist, as massaging certain parts of your body can bring on premature labor. Additionally, if you can help it, try to schedule your massage at a time in the day after which you can take a couple of hours to savor that wonderful post-massage feeling.
  • ExerciseThis one is not so obvious. However, exercise leads to the release of endorphins that can give you a natural boost of energy and make you feel good, in turn helping you relax. Nothing like getting your heart rate going and your blood pumping to help you get that natural high. However, if you are pregnant, definitely checking with your doctor to ascertain what exercise is safe for you to do. Also, try not to start something new like running or spinning, if you weren’t a runner or spinner pre-pregnancy. But most exercises are pretty safe (check with a professional first), and since you don’t have to work that hard to get your heart rate up, you basically don’t have to overdo it in the gym. 
  • YogaEven though this is part of the exercise category, I think it deserves a whole paragraph of its own. Yoga really opens up the body and helps your body as well as your mind relax. Also, if you’re doing it right, the breathing you do in a yoga class can be very cleansing and can help your detox and relax. Most good gyms will offer  prenatal yoga classes too.
  • SwimmingAnother technique that falls into the exercise category, but has so many other benefits, is swimming. You can do hardcore laps and get that heart rate high, without putting any strain on your joints or you can just take it easy and let the water give you a natural feeling of weightlessness, which can really help calm you. Swimming is an excellent exercise for expectant mom as it not only helps keep your body in great shape, but the water also helps take pressure off all those achy joints.
  • Meditation and Breathing ExercisesThis is not just for hippies and people with heaps of time on their hands. With enough practice, it is an amazing and natural way for your mind, body and spirit to slow down and relax. In fact, a lot of companies now have certified meditation teachers on staff for employees with high stress jobs. In my experience, even the most cynical people walk out relaxed, calm and with a smile on their faces. Try it and see if it’s for you. It might take a couple of practice sessions first. If you get the hang of it, this is also something you can just do at home by yourself. Light some candles and put on some calming music in the background – it will likely work like a charm.
  • HypnotherapyYou might think that hypnotherapy is a bit controversial. But it is not the same thing you see on TV, where the hypnotherapist goes abracadabra and you fall asleep and do weird things. Under a trained hypnotherapist, you can try a lot of things like relaxation, preparation and pain management for labor and childbirth, stress management. In my opinion hypnotherapy really helps but, like meditation, one needs some practice before it becomes effective. After some time, you can also self-hypnotize yourself and help yourself relax. Your mind/subconscious is fully aware of what is going on during the session, even if you drift off. Over time, it helps get rid of the negativity associated with stress/anxiety etc. and takes you to a more positive place, which can help you cope with whatever parenthood throws your way. According to my hypnotherapist: Hypnotherapy is an effective way to change unwanted behavior or to achieve goals using the power of the subconscious mind to reinforce the conscious mind’s resolve to overcome negative habits and reactions. You can learn more on: http://www.enablepotential.com/
  • Music and Aromatherapy Ambiance makes a huge difference, no matter what you’re doing. Just like candlelight adds that extra something to a romantic meal, music and relaxing aromas enhance relaxation. Go to any good spa and you’ll automatically start to feel relaxed when you step into their lobby, with their soft lighting, relaxation music, soft speaking staff and those wonderful aromas. You can recreate that ambiance at home too. Buy yourselves some nice candles or aromatic oils, download or stream some relaxation/meditation music from the internet, dim the lights and create your own little piece of heaven in the comfort of your own home. It’ll hopefully help you get to a more peaceful state of mind and give you a chance to relax. Music and aromatherapy can also prove to be powerful tools to help relax during labor.

 

Now stop reading and go try some of these techniques and relax. Good luck!

 

 

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Contributed by Abish

Abish is an Economist with a graduate degree in Economics and International Development from Harvard University. Along with watching the oil markets and managing her busy career, she, along with her husband, have just welcomed their beautiful baby daughter into the world. Her writing has appeared in professional oil and commodity related journals and at www.BrightBabyhood.com.

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