Osteopathy and Reducing Stress

Here's how to calm your stress for Winter
Here's how to calm your stress for Winter

Here’s how to calm your stress for Winter

It’s now approaching midway through the year. It’s cold, there’s less sunlight in the day, your well meaning exercise routine you had during the summer months may be on thin ice and the kids have a busy activity schedule that leaves little time.

Man, I need a holiday just thinking about it. But with no holidays on the horizon, what can we do to help our body get through these stressful times?

1. Exercise

I know, I know, when are you supposed to find time to fit exercise into your busy schedule? Plus I have already mentioned this when discussing how to beat the winter blues. But, exercising doesn’t mean going to the gym or joining your local yoga class, it just means moving. This can be incorporated by walking to the supermarket or to work (if it’s close enough with decent public transport!), going for a walk or doing activities with the kids on the weekends. It could be a 10 minute floor workout first thing in the morning or when you get home from work.

Why is this important? Exercise increases your blood flow for one, and most importantly, it boosts your serotonin levels, which is a natural anti-depressant.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Again, it’s one you keep on hearing and you did try that diet over summer, but….. Once again, this isn’t about a big diet change, it’s the little snacks that go a long way to increasing that belt width. Eating well is about moderation.

In winter, it’s about eating the right foods to boost your vitamin and mineral levels to boost your immune system and eating more protein and less carbs to boost your energy levels. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of eating lots of bread and pastas during winter. Try a soup packed with veggies and barley or a good old fashioned roast with lots of colourful vegetables on the side.

It’s also important to keep up your water intake – and no, more coffee does not substitute this!

3. Pause breaks

During your work day, improve your posture by taking pause breaks. What are they? They are little breaks that you take when there is a natural pause in your work eg. when writing a document, when you get to the end of a section, use this natural pause in your work to get up and get a glass of water or stretch your body out. This will not only improve your posture, but also your concentration and therefore productivity.

4. Towel exercise

When you get home at night what do you do? Make dinner? Sit in front of the news? If you find yourself sitting in front of the TV, use this time to unwind. All you need is an ordinary bath towel. Roll it up and pop it under your spine going lengthways from that nobly bit at the bottom of your neck down. Have your head on a pillow and your knees bent with feet on the floor. This will allow you to stretch out the front of your chest and neck, while also mobilizing your thoracic spine that has been hunched over a computer all day. Want to improve your posture during the day? A towel can help with that too.

With these easy tips, you should be feeling more relaxed in no time. Now, time to book that holiday…