If you always seem to have an over-packed schedule, you’re not alone. Being constantly busy is kind of the norm in the United States. Any you don’t have a million things going on at once, those feelings creep in that tell you you’re not doing enough. (They’re wrong, of course.) Unfortunately, that bad habit of applauding busy lifestyles—and being stressed out 24/7—can wreak havoc on your body, both physically and mentally.
While the first step is to try your best to stop glorifying busyness, the second is to do whatever you can to combat the effects of being busy. Because let’s be honest: No matter how hard we try, it’s going to happen. “We put so much pressure on ourselves to go, go, go,” said Suzanne Gundersen, the natural stress mentor behind Transformed Connections, in a webinar for Ten Spot.
To relax your mind and body and prevent that stress from causing negative symptoms—which could be headaches, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, upset stomach, lack of energy, and more—she recommends utilizing a few simple exercises for stress. Once you start doing them once or twice a day, you’ll start getting some much-needed relief.
3 Simple Exercises for Stress Every Busy Person Needs
1. Exhale and Hold
This exercise is simple; It’s all about your breath. “Our nervous system resets through our breath. Take an extra long exhale, exhaling all the air out of your lungs. Then just when you don’t think you have any more left, exhale even more out of your lungs and hold it,” she says. “Wait for that spontaneous breath. That’s what’s going to reset the nervous system.”
Gundersen says doing this a few times a day will instantly calm your body. “You’ll be resetting your nervous system and calming your heart rate down,” she says. “It will send good messages to the rest of your nervous system that you’re safe.”
2. Hands Push Out
In this exercise, you’re giving yourself more space and getting rid of the tightness that can creep up around you (and weigh you down!) when you’re feeling stressed.
“When we’re stressed, space can close in on us. Take your hands and rub them together. Then, with some tension in your arms, push the space out in front of you, out around you, and out on top of you,” says Gundersen. “We need space to communicate. With ourselves, first and foremost, then socially with other people.”
3. Squeeze and Release
Another simple exercise for stress is the squeeze and release. “Squeeze your fist, then open it up and release and shake it out,” Gundersen says. “When we’re stressed, you can also squeeze your entire body, no matter where you’re at. Hold, then release. When you release it, wiggle everything free. Do it a couple times a day for 30 seconds to a minute to release the tension your body is holding onto.”