About a year ago I had my second child. Parenting and a new baby can sure increase stress and put you in a self neglect rut. I am the proof! I’m just now coming up for air and taking stock of things, 11 months later.
Stress and overexertion has been the name of the game for me since my first child was born. I’ve hardly left my children to do solo things and I’m finally beginning to feel the wear and tear on my wellbeing. I’m stressed way too often and one thing that is missing for me (big time!) is endorphins. I know anyone experiencing lots of stress is in the same boat where endorphins are concerned.
Endorphins combat stress
It is common knowledge that excercise and physical activity helps manage stress, this is because of endorphins. Going to the gym, jogging around the block or doing a yoga class can have a major positive impact on lowering stress levels which in turn impact overall health.
However, if you are like me the effort and planning it takes to secure time and energy for exercise time just doen’t seem all that appealing and isn’t a high priority. Sometimes it even adds to the stress factor, which is counter intuitive.
Sometimes committing to fitness time with a buddy can help motivate you to follow though. Also, making financial commitments to fitness time may also help you follow through if that is the direction you’d like to go.
The point is, exercise isn’t the sticking point here, it is endorphins!
Making “personal time” a priority is important for overall mental & physical health but increasing endorphins doesn’t necessarily have to translate as hard core exercise.
If you can’t carve out some outside the home, endorphin increasing time that doesn’t mean you have to suffer the burdens of stress. Plenty of other things generate endorphins that you can do right at home.
Belt a tune and shake that rump!
Singing is a perfect, stationary way to release endorphins. My many years of music education classes and years of professional performance really showed me how good singing a tune can make you feel. Think you are a terrible singer and that you shouldn’t sing?
Singing isn’t just reserved for those that can do it well! You can sing even if you’re a poor singer. If you are shy, do it privately in the shower or in the car. If you aren’t that shy, you can own your less-than-stellar singing skills and make a funny situation out of singing time. Better yet combine some “just for fun” singing with some silly body shaking for a seriously fun physical activity (give this silly song a try complete with the “Ugh!” part, you’ll be laughing in no time).
Laughter is another wonderful stress combatant that can be done anytime, anywhere. You can sing, laugh and shake your booty while cleaning house, cooking dinner or taking a shower. You can even do it to commercials while watching TV… or while waiting at a stoplight in your car (not while driving!).
Once, while cruising along with a few buddies in the car, we cranked up the stereo at a stoplight and set out to make the people around us laugh.
We rolled the windows down, started swinging our hands, dancing around in our seats, making silly faces and singing VERY badly (and loudly) to the song on the radio. We looked like lunatics but it worked, others were looking at us and giggling and that made us crack up and sing even louder. We felt great, it was a great time and a fun memory.
When stress runs our lives we seldom have time to laugh-until-we-cry or to act silly and let loose. This lack of an outlet for stress relief just snowballs the stress levels. Stress breeds stress.
However, with a bit of intent you can stop the stress snowball cycle and get to feeling better.
Some endorphin releasing activities include:
- Letting loose (laughter, silliness, charades, etc)
- Deep relaxation (yoga, massage, meditation, etc)
- Self expression (journaling, singing, heart-to-heart conversations, art, painting, etc)
- Physical activity (exercise, sex, gardening, sports, etc)
They types of endorphin increasing activity you do will of course depend on your nature and interests but don’t limit yourself too much.
For me, my plan of action included some intervention of fate. My husband has been hounding me for a few months about getting out for some “me time” which I’ve not been particulary motivated to do. Frankly, I’d just rather lounge around in my bed for my “me time” but being home hardly removes me from my stress.
Anyway, I saw some yoga classes online one day and I knew they were a sign for me… so I consulted my husband, then I made the commitment to 20 yoga classes between now and the new year. Can you believe I am just now breaking away from 24/7 mommyhood with a solo yoga class? I just completed my first class and it was so nice and relaxing. So relaxing I leaked breastmilk all over myself at the end!
If you aren’t already making some “me time” for endorphins & happiness you simply MUST! Seriously, your mental health and your body’s wellness depends on it.
Chime in & discuss:
What new ways will you to combat stress? How will you work happiness building endorphin activities in your day? Tell us in the comments below or use the social media share icons below to share your favorite ways with your own followers!