Emotional, Physical, and Mental Well Being Resources
Stress is a fact of life, but too much stress can take a toll on both mind and body. Finding ways to stay calm in the moment, having a stress management plan, and preparing for stressful situations in the future can help you get ahead of the stress and take care of your body!
“Performing a daily de-stress routine can effectively counteract stress and anxiety, so that the results of stress don’t build up and cause problems,” says Gerald W. Vest, professor emeritus of sociology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He offers the following easy to do exercises that can be done at home or in the office!
- Belly Breathing – For immediate stress relief, Mr. Vest recommends placing your left hand over your heart, your right hand on your belly and breathing deeply. “Just notice your breathing,” he advises. “By observing the rise and fall of your breath, you’ll naturally begin to relax.” At home, or at work if you have privacy, you can also do this technique lying down. Do it for several minutes any time you feel anxious or stressed.
- Arm Yourself – Pull up your right shirt sleeve and massage your right shoulder with your left hand. Then feather down your arm with gentle soothing motions. Repeat on the other arm. “The nervous system is connected to all the cells of the body. By soothing the skin of your shoulders and arm, you’ll immediately start to relax,” says Mr. Vest. And whenever you’re using touch, continue to focus on your breathing.
- Hand Care – To discharge tension that can accumulate in the hands, knead your left palm with your right hand. Repeat on the other hand. Also, spread your fingers and use the thumb and forefinger of your opposite hand to lightly press each joint and work out the tension between your fingers. Switch hands. Then make circles in your palm with your opposite hand. Switch hands. View the Image on the right for more info on Japanese Shiatsu Hand Massage techniques. https://www.top10homeremedies.com/news-facts/japanese-shiatsu-self-massage-techniques.html
- Saving Face – Massaging the face also reduces cumulative tension. For quick stress relief before a meeting or important presentation, Mr. Vest recommends lightly massaging your temples, smoothing your eyebrows and massaging your cheekbones and jaw. Also, spend a few seconds pinching and stretching your ear lobes, a typically tense area.
- Progressive Breath Relaxation – Use your breath to relax your muscles. “Starting with your feet, visualize each muscle and imagine that your breath is going to the muscle and relaxing it,” says Mr. Vest. “Working your way up, spend a few seconds on each part of the body, going through it consciously.”
Your mind and body are connected — it’s important to take good care of both. Activities like deep breathing exercises and body scan meditations can help you reconnect with your body and support your emotional health. Kaiser provides some great free audio recordings of guided practices to help you reconnect with your body and support your emotional health, and you don’t need to be a Kaiser member to participate. You can view them on their website here: https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/oregon-washington/health-wellness/mental-health/tools-resources/mind-body-wellness
Advice from Professionals
Some types of stress and anxiety are hard to deal with on our own. ESD 112’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers you several ways to connect with a mental health professional for free, and everything is 100% confidential. Your family members/household may also use this resource. You can access these benefits anytime, anywhere, 24/7/365 three easy ways:
- Give them a call – 1-800-433-2320
- Send them a text – 503-850-7721
- Chat with CASI . Cascade Assist and Serve Intelligence app, or CASI uses technology to provide immediate support to help you feel better. CASI can also guide you to EAP services that best meet your needs. Visit www.cascadecenters.org and login or create a member account to get started!