Karyn Ellis, M.A., L.M.H.C.

Stress and Relaxation

Stress empties you. It depletes your energy levels and exhausts you. Learn how to find things that fill you up again.

As a counselor I understand the importance of stress relief and relaxation. Our society makes it hard because it's always pushing us to go go go. We even forget how to take a good deep breath. Stress takes a toll on our bodies: it's related to numerous health concerns. When we are stressed and don’t take a break we are unable to function at our full capacity.

Make time to relax and breathe

If you say “are you kidding? I don’t have time for that:”

Once you have the time:

Relaxation Exercises

If you find that you still lack the time or there are certain moments in the day when your stress spikes or you find you can’t sleep at night because you can’t shut your brain off, try these relaxation exercises:

Locked Trunk Exercise

Find a quiet space in your house and practice doing some deep breathing from you diaphragm. Imagine that you are in a room and in the corner of the room there is a locked chest and you are the only one with the key. Walk over to the imaginary chest, open it and pull out a huge blanket. Lay the blanket out and imagine that you are putting all of your stress and anxieties on the blanket. Now imagine folding it up, putting it in the trunk, closing the lid, locking it and walking away.

Visual Relaxation

Imagine your favorite peaceful space. Maybe it's the ocean, a favorite room in your house, or your backyard. Imagine all of your worries and cares floating away. You are in your favorite spot and nothing else matters. Take a few deep breaths and imagine what the surroundings are. Maybe you are by the ocean and the water is a glittering blue and green. Take about three more deep breaths and start thinking about what you would hear, like waves crashing onto the sand. Next think about what you might feel. Do you feel the sun on your face, sand under your feet? What else are you experiencing? Sit there in your favorite place as long as you need.

Press your palms together (muscle relaxation)

Press your palms together and imagine pushing the stress and the anxiety in-between your hands when you are arms get tried, imagine throwing away the stress and anxiety. Shake it out (do not try if you have shoulder or arm pain).

If you realize that stress may be an issue for you or you don't know how to relax, you might find counseling helpful. Through setting boundaries, working on time management and possible control issues, you can learn to relax and breathe again!