Mental and emotional stress – we all feel it in one way or another. There is such a thing as a healthy amount of stress but adverse or very demanding circumstances can shoot our stress levels through the roof. Deploying, moving, living away from a support system, integrating into a new group, and dealing with the unexpected is part of our life as a military family member. Letting stress get out of control can easily lead to poor performance, fatigue, exhaustion, ill health, or a complete breakdown. We all have different ways of feeling and relieving stress. The next time you are feeling your stress levels creeping up or skyrocketing, consider this list of ways to knockout stress through physical movement:
(Check out the bonus tips to make it extra fantastic!)
1. Laugh – grab popcorn and watch your favorite funny show and get those full out snorting, belly laughs going.
2. Breathe – raise your arms and wipe your mind clear when you inhale and release your negativity when you exhale.
3. Run – doing it again the next day, and the next day, and the next day…
4. Hug a friend – tell them thank you for being there for you or apologize if you didn’t ask their permission first.
5. Exercise class – high five your instructor and go back again even if it kicked your butt.
6. Stretch – really stretch, go through all of the major muscles in your body.
7. Meditate – really clear your mind and get lost in it.
8. Yoga – then eat FroYo.
9. Ride your bike – peddle like a 3-year-old on a tricycle, fast and furious. If it is your style, put Toto in your basket and embrace the witch face as you peddle with fierce determination.
10. Bench press – your baby.
11. Leg press – your elementary school kid.
12. Lunge – down your hallway or down your street, don’t forget to throw up your “rock on” sign at every curious observer.
13. Dance – find an outfit as awesome as the outfits on the Just Dance game.
14. Sing – your heart out in your car, using your air mic.
15. Wall-sit – while holding your baby.
16. Cry it out – in the mirror, the ugly cry.
17. Punch away your frustrations in the mirror – just don’t hit the mirror or you will be punching your frustrations away in the urgent care room.
18. Push-ups – clap between those push-ups.
19. Short sprints – make it legit, set up Gatorade stations for yourself.
20. Punch a pillow – kiss and make up with it when you are done.
21. Scream – avoid screaming in someone else’s face if at all possible.
22. Swim – like Michael Phelps.
23. Football run – in place while yelling “I am a maniac, maniac…”
24. Throw baseballs at a tree – knock down that terrifying beehive while you are at it.
25. Hit the batting cages – bring back your heavy-hitting style.
26. Whack a few golf balls at the driving range – heckle a few other golfers on your way out.
27. Cut your shrubs – usually last less than a minute with manual shears? Your stress will definitely get you at least five minutes!
28. Rev up your weed eater – break out the earplugs and carve it up.
29. Forget the automatic lever and push your lawnmower – jam out to some serious music and throw in a dance sequence for your nosy neighbors.
30. Cartwheel around your house – your neighbors kindly ask that you don’t forget to wear underwear if you are cartwheeling around the outside of your house.
31. Headstand or handstand – again, underwear.
32. Planks – bring it down to your forearms and hold it twice as long as you planned. No points for holding your breath. Breathe and keep that body straight! No hip sagging or putting your booty up in the air.
33. Bicycle crunches – again, fast and furious peddling.
34. Skip – come on, when was the last time you skipped? You know you want to! Bonus points for whistling while you do it.
35. Mad clean your house – I am talking hands and knees scrubbing and vacuuming like Magda from “Something about Mary.”
36. Shake it – shake it like a turbo ‘Vette.
37. Trampoline like a kid – come on, you have more than a sit-drop in you.
38. Skateboard – yes, you need kneepads and a helmet.
39. Shoot some hoops – dribble it up and work on those 3-pointers.
40. Throw a tantrum – our kids do it all the time. Lock the door to your room, flop yourself down on the floor, and let that tantrum go! Don’t forget, a tantrum is not complete without the arm thrashing, floor kicking, and crying with intermittent yelling that is totally and completely indecipherable by anyone else. This one is not recommended for the office.
Find what works for you. Be safe but make a point to use your body. You will be amazed how much physical activity will make you feel better when you are stressed. Don’t forget to take a hot bath, sit in the sauna, or get a massage to relax once you have released the stress. You deserve it.
Have a great way to knockout stress? Share it in the comments section!