Stress Management Strategies: what are your 5?
Ever feel guilty because you think you should meditate—but you don’t?
Does dancing relax you more than a yoga session?
Humans are so diverse! It makes sense that each of our go-to stress management strategies are equally diverse. There are endless methods to choose from to relax you when you are tense. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to stress management.
- Your temperament can affect what strategies work best for you.
- The particular situation you are dealing with can impact your choice of relaxation interventions.
- Your home/work environment can impact your ability to incorporate stress management into your day.
- And—sometimes—just your mood that particular day can cause you to favor one strategy over another.
If you come up with at least 5 different relaxation strategies—strategies that you love doing—chances are better that you will actually choose to do something healthy when you are stressed.
If you only have 1 strategy, and perhaps it’s one that you feel you should do rather than want to do you are more likely to turn to a quick fix strategy. These quick fix strategies tend to work in the moment to numb you to your stress, but in the long run they can make stress worse and negatively impact your health.
Examples of quick-fix-strategies:
- Eating comfort foods
- Long sessions on social media
- Extensive time watching television
- Drinking too much
What are your 5? What about your child’s 5?
Instead of trying to brainstorm with your child when they are upset, you can notice and reflect back to them when they are successful at calming down. For example,
“You were really frustrated when your block tower fell over. You took a break and now you feel better. I think taking a break is a great idea!”
You can also be a role model by talking aloud when you use a stress management strategy. For example,
“I am really angry right now. That phone call upset me. I’m going to put on some dance music and dance around until I feel better.”
Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about your top 5 and your child’s top 5:
Examples of physical calming strategies:
- Weighted blanket to cuddle
- Physical activity, like running up and down the stairs
- Swinging on the swing-set or rocking in a rocking chair
- Digging in the sandbox or garden
- Having a dance party
Examples of tactile calming strategies:
- Running hands under water
- Standing in front of a fan
- Holding a vibrating toy
- Going to a “safe/sanctuary” for alone time (could be bedroom, could be a large cardboard box, could be a tent or blanket fort)
- Listening to music
- Blowing soap bubbles
- Playing with a pet
- Taking a bath or shower