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Lindsay is a creative with a passion for a mindful and purposeful life.  Her photography is inspired by nature and color.  She shares her thoughts, passions, and interests on her blog, From Summer Breeze Lane.

A Simple Stress Relieving Exercise

I couldn't sleep last night. I was in my bed, Bodie was fast asleep (for once!), and yet I was wide awake.  I couldn't relax my body. I felt so much tension and stress. Why? Well, I haven't done yoga in 4 days. I haven't meditated. I haven't made time to chill out. I've been working on my laptop until midnight for several nights in a row.  No wonder I was so stressed!

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A quick relaxation exercise, which I am about to share with you, combined with a little deep breathing and I was snoozing... like magic!

Stress is so common in our lives that we often don't recognize that we are chronically stressed.  We notice the extremes (like when we have a deadline), but not the everyday tension that wipes us out overtime. 

Truth: life is stressful. 

Truth: stress will kill you, and I'm not being dramatic.

Dont let that stress you out more though. The good news is that you don't need to do anything drastic to start chipping away at your stress. You just need to actively make time to relax your body. 

Here is a simple exercise that I recommend:

Get comfortable. Close your eyes. Hands on your belly. Feel your belly rise and fall with each breath. Relax your face. Unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders. Stay here for 10 slow deep breaths. Count backwards.

Next, bring all of your awareness to your hands. Make the tightest fist you can, hold for three seconds, then relax completely. While you do this notice how the tension feels versus the relaxation. Move up your arms, and then throughout all the major muscle groups of your body, tensing them for three seconds, and then relaxing. And my favorite, your face! I love to end with my face. Scrunch up your face as tightly as possible, and then relax it. 

When you've finished, return your awareness to the breath. 

I recommend incorporating this exercise into your wellness routine (exercise, yoga, eating write, you time, etc) to help you relax, reduce anxiety, and relieve chronic and acute stress.  

Give it a try, and let me know what you think! 

And one more thing, don't forget that you have to prioritize your wellbeing (and yes, I do, too. This is my reminder to myself as well). No one will ever do it for you. 

Happy destressing,

Lindsay

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