In a time of war, stress is inescapable for military families.
There are also less visible stresses such as frequent PCSing and all that it entails — saying good-bye to friends, making new friends, new schools, new communities and sometimes even whole new cultures when we go overseas.
Stress is here to stay in military life. But you don’t have to succumb to the fallout of living in a stressful lifestyle. Here are some quick tips on how to let some stress go before it gets the best of you:
Take a slow deep breath and exhale slowly. Repeat five times. The practice of breathing deep is used in a lot of relaxation techniques because it works. The focus is removed from the stress source to the act of breathing. Also taking a deep breath gets more oxygen to the brain and induces a relaxing effect.
Stand tall and straight. Our posture and the way we carry ourselves does impact our well-being and our ability to cope with stress. This actually relates back to the first suggestion. When we are under stress it’s normal to want to slump our shoulders. Bad posture also makes it difficult to breath in deeply.
On your mark, get set, go! Stress can cause our bodies to release extra adrenaline. This can cause us to feel anxious or have nervous energy to expel. Exercise is good for your body and your mind. Regular exercise is also known for increasing your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consult with your physician before starting an exercise regiment.
Laughter really is the best medicine when it comes to combating stress. Laughter releases hormones, it is good for your facial muscles and it lifts your mood. Crying and laughing are closely related in the release they give us. In some situations it’s easier to find a reason to laugh than it is to sit and cry. Crying has its place, and I think having a good cry is cleansing, but having a really good laugh is also cathartic. Find a friend and enjoy a laugh!
Drinking too much caffeine and sugary drinks can lead us to dehydration. Caffeine can also lead us to a state of hyperactivity, cloudy thinking and sleeplessness — all of which are enemies to stress management. Dehydration can make you feel worn down. Put down the espresso and drink plenty of water. If you struggle with insomnia, you should limit your caffeine intake and stop drinking all caffeine after 11 a.m.
What other stress release techniques do you use? Share your tips below.