With the hustle and bustle of getting kids back in school, there are many frazzled moms and dads wondering how they are going to endure another nine months of “eat your breakfast…put on your coat…don’t forget your backpack…you’re going to miss the bus!” Doing something to ease the tension is a must before oneself implodes into a mess who is not useful to herself or her family. So, refresh with a massage, reflect in your journal, and recharge with yoga.
One of the programs offered at Globe –La Crosse is licensure in Massage Therapy. Students can attend for a diploma or associates degree. When I first started working for GEN, I was a volunteer for a massage class. In this position I received my very first massage. Since that day, I have been a believer in the healing power of massage, and with each type of massage I have experienced, I have become more and more of a believer. The program chair at Globe’s La Crosse Campus, Meredith Mc Coy, explained, “Massage Therapy has a wonderful ability to reduce stress and anxiety. If you are experiencing stress-related symptoms, take some time to get a massage! Massage can help reduce muscle tension, increase circulation and reduce levels of stress-related hormones. Don’t have time to get a massage from an LMT, massage yourself! Simply apply light pressure over your scalp, shoulders and arms and this can help revive your energy levels. Staring at the computer a lot? Look away from the computer, close your eyes, take some deep breathes and massage lightly around your eyes. Incorporate a light scalp massage to get your circulation moving and allow for a small rest and you should gain some energy to keep you going.” Doing those simple self-massage techniques can aid in revitalizing one’s energy even while in a stressful situation or with only a few minutes at one’s disposal.
Reflection is activity that gets overlooked. It can be done pretty much anywhere, and it can take several forms. One would be in the form of mediation, but by meditating there is no record of it. One way to reflect and retain what has been reflected on is journaling. This can also take several forms. It can be as easy as writing thoughts or experiences—briefly or extensively—in a book. Some people prefer typing and it can be done in that way too. For journaling to be effective, it needs to have two components: It needs to include the scenario that is causing the stress, and it needs to include the feeling and reason for situation. According to Dr. Pamela Peeke a in September 4, 2012 article for healthywomen.org, if a person does not like or is not good at writing, for whatever reason, recording the voice speaking about the issue and feelings can be just as effective although not nearly as convenient. She goes on to add that if a person intends to keep this private he will be more honest, and the journaling is more therapeutic for the individual. “Journaling is form of preventative maintenance. It is another tool in your stress resilience toolbox” (Peeke, 2012, n.p.).
One of the most in vogue ways to de-stress is to participate in yoga. I am going to my first yoga class this evening. After “practicing” on my Wii for three years, I am going to take the big step, put on my yoga pants and head to the studio, where I am sure I will make a fool out of myself, but (I hope) I will leave less stressed and refreshingly tired. According to Mayo Health Clinic, “Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010, n.p.). There are several reasons that yoga is good for recharging: it’s precise movement helps to keep one focusing on one’s body rather than the bustle of daily life; it aids in balance, flexibility, and range of motion and strength which leads to better fitness overall; it has been, linked to helping with a variety of chronic health conditions like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and high blood pressure; and it also has aided many in life changing health decisions like cessation of binge-eating or smoking (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010). After completing a yoga session, an individual should feel motivated to try it again and relaxed in mind (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010). Jennifer Monsos, the accounting program chair at the La Crosse campus is a yoga instructor in her spare time. In a personal interview on September 2012, she told me that in her opinion being active of body, be it yoga, running, or aerobics, creates an outlet for stress to escape.
Take a stand and make a change for to better yourself for you and your family. Stress and anxiety can cause many other health problems. By reducing the amount of stress one feels by using these three techniques, a person can live a longer, happier, and healthier life. Refresh, reflect, recharge!
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Yoga: Tap into the many health benefits. mayoclinic.com.
Peeke, P.M. (2012). Reduce stress by journaling. Healthywomen.org