3 Actions you can take to destress at the end of difficult week

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The week actually lasted longer, you’re reaching solid 50 hours at work and the weekend is still far away and it’s not like you can drop to the bed and not get up till Monday morning!


At worst, you’re dealing with emergencies at work and at home. The problems seemed to creep up on you, as if they were especially targeting you! Before you know it, you’re gasping for a cigarette endlessly hoping it’s going to calm those nerves. Instead it makes you feel sick. And you’re down on yourself because you can’t believe you let yourself down again. 

You slipped into an argument with your best friend so easily, you did not notice until it was too late. Harm’s been done. You’re not talking. 


Unless you do something deliberate, you’ll carry all of the last week’s bad emotions with you into the new one. All the bad feelings, angst, frustrations, unfinished business and stress. Many of us do exactly that because we don’t know better. 


Here’s what I did on Saturday morning after long and extremely stressful work week and why it made difference. 


1.Spin

At 9:15 I got on the bike and took all of my frustrations on the bike instead of my loved ones. 45 minutes class which I normally attend on Thursdays and Fridays with my best friend. However, we were not talking and I had free Saturday morning. 


There are numbers of benefits to spinning. I personally started spin a year ago and I absolutely loved the fact, there’s an instructor shouting at you to go faster and add more gear on and go even faster. After my first class my legs turned into jelly and it took good half hour until I was able to move and get on with my day. 

This has obviously changed. Since summer last year I’ve spinned minimum once a week, when I’m on earlier it’s twice a week. 


My main reason is the fact I enjoy it, however it also keeps me fit, keeps my number on scale nice a low, it keeps my heart healthy. 


According to Harvard Health research, “a one-hour long ride at a moderate intensity burns approximately 420-622 calories.”


“Spinning classes include both endurance and cardiovascular training. Heart health is one of the most obvious benefits of Spinning, as is lung capacity”. 

Spin is 45 minutes of pure hard work and to make my time on bike easier, I had to make some changes to my habits and eating. I gave up smoking and started eating salads and bananas to give me more energy to last whole 45 minutes. 

Apart from physical benefits of spinning, it also can help you develop positive attitude, ‘can-do’ attitude which will reflect in your daily interactions and facing normal daily challenges.


I personally find spinning 45 minutes of pure hard work, as soon as second song is over, it’s down to me pushing through and sticking with it even though I feel like getting off the bike and making a run for it. I am no spinning expert, however what I know is, the instructors combine power, endurance, speed and combination into class. 


Spin classes are usually divided into four types of exercises: speed, endurance, power and combination. 


Sometimes during the class, even I wonder why I put myself through this on weekly basis however personally the answer is simple. It helps me develop mental self-discipline, self-control around eating and smoking habits and seeing my body shape and muscle strengthening adds me confidence. And one important benefits, I can go ahead and have big tab of ice cream and still fit into my favourite jeans. 


You’ve probably heard before that during an exercise, body releases feel good endorphins into your blood stream. 

“exercise produces endorphins which interact with receptors in your brain and trigger positive feelings in your body. You’ll leave the class feeling physically tired but mentally you’ll be on a high, and that is the feeling you’ll become addicted to. That is why staying active can help so many people combat depression and other negative mental and physical health conditions including stress”.

“It’s scientifically proven that exercise can help to reduce stress. Exercise focuses your mind allowing you to clear your head space and temporarily forget whatever stressful day you’ve had at work or at home. Exercising makes you feel good about yourself and increases your confidence, all of which help to reduce stress within our daily lives.”

“As a cardiovascular activity, spinning is very capable of helping build your endurance, giving you the physical tools you require to conquer significant physical challenges.” 

I always go with my best friend, so even when I don’t feel like it, I do go because I don’t want to let him down and disappoint. He reports the same motivation so It really works. If you want to make exercise your routine, definitely find exercise buddy and both make that commitment.



2.Steam

After you took out all of your aggression and frustration on your exercise bike, it’s time now to let go of it. Last thing you and I want to do is to hold onto bad feelings and stay stuck on the past. We’re not faithful to the past!

Steaming and sauning is my obsession. I am one of those people you can sit in the spa and I will sit and relax. 

If you’re struggle with relaxation, you’ll need to figure it out fast because my second suggestion is about stepping back and sweating out all of the toxins. 


Personally, I prefer saunas, however according to research I’ve conducted, the steam rooms are more beneficial especially after exercise. And the sauna is out of the picture, as my gym has steam room only. 


I am pretty sure, you know the difference between the two, however just in case let me repeat what I found out during research. 


“A sauna uses dry heat, usually from hot rocks or a closed stove. Steam rooms are heated by a generator filled with boiling water.

While a sauna may help relax and loosen your muscles, it won’t have the same health benefits of a steam room. The key to the steam room’s unique health benefits is the humidity.”

“Research shows that in a steam room, some people’s bodies release hormones that change their heart rate. One of these hormones, called aldosterone, regulates your blood pressure. When aldosterone is released from sitting in the steam room, it can help lower high blood pressure. This is part of the reason that the steam room makes you feel relaxed.”

“Being in the steam room can also decrease your body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that regulates the level of stress that you feel. When your cortisol levels drop, you feel more in control and relaxed. Spending a few minutes in a relaxed state not only improves your health, but also helps heal your mind and improve your focus.”

“Through environmental exposure, all sorts of toxins can become trapped underneath your skin. Steam rooms help solve that problem by using heat to open up your pores. The warm condensation rinses away the dirt and dead skin that can lead to breakouts. As a result, you may have clearer and more even-toned skin."

According to the research, heat therapy can help muscles to recover after workout. Workout comes with the pain you feel afterwards which is called Delayed onset muscles soreness and steam can actually recover your muscles faster.


“Heat can penetrate deep into muscle tissue and help relieve DOMS.” A recent study showed that moist heat works as effectively and also more quickly than dry heat in muscle recovery.

What I did not know until I did my research is that using steam room before running, pilates or yoga as part of the warm-up could help you reach maximum mobility. 

According to one study investigating effects of steam:

 "Heat was applied to the knee joint before activity, and as a result, the joint was far more flexible and relaxed. The results showed that heat can help reduce injury before a workout. It was also found that women especially benefitted from heat therapy on the knee joint to prevent injury.”

What you need to remember is replace water you steam or sauna out to avoid dehydration. Some research suggests, you should not exceed 15 minutes in the steam room. However, I am not sure about this time restriction as you can spend whole day in a spa repeatedly steaming and sauning and be just fine as long as you take regular breaks and drink plenty of water throughout. 


According to another research, by “using steam rooms regularly will give your bloodstream an immunity boost that could lead to you getting sick less often.”

3.Yoga

Last but not least, I attempted to find some inner peace, through expressing some gratitude and stretching for an hour. 

Recently, I’ve read this 

“Just 15 minutes of yoga a day can change your brain chemistry and improve your mood.”

and I’d be stuuuu—pid not to give it a try. I am not the moodiest person I know, but I rank pretty high. 


You remember the week when everything went wrong and you almost lost will to live. To make yourself feel better, you pressed order button on amazon on repeat. Or you finally bought these expensive boots you still can’t afford or you went through whole tab of ice cream and party pack of crisps to share all by yourself (or maybe it’s just me). 

We all have tough weeks, some tougher than others however according to the research 

“putting 15 minutes aside to practice yoga every day could transform your mood (and your health) in more ways than you could imagine”

It almost seems that by practicing yoga, you’d be able to make yourself feel better and pick yourself up without spending or eating too much. It’s too promising to pass on. 


If you’re still not convinced let me list out some more benefits of yoga may have on your body, healthy and life. 

The first one is no brainer, yes practicing yoga will help stretch and tone your muscles. Like me, you don’t have to be super flexible to start practicing. 


“It combines aspects of cardio, functional and strength training all in one. What more could you ask for? The best part about this workout is that it can be done at your own pace, in your own home.”


“An everyday gentle yoga practice will fuel the metabolic system and will help burn fat, leading to weight loss. Daily yoga can also help restore the hormonal balance in your body, which can normalise your body weight.”


“Levels of cortisol, the hormone that is released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration, will be lowered, leading to less overeating. Daily yoga also strengthens the overall mind-body connection and helps you deal more effectively with unpleasant emotions rather than reaching for food to suppress those feelings.”

“yoga is an amazing stress buster. Any yoga practice, even a short daily one, should be made up of three elements; poses, breathing and meditation. Studies have shown that those people who regularly practice all three elements are better able to regulate their heart-rate variability (HRV). This generally means that their heart rate is lower, giving body the ability to respond to stress in a more flexible way.”


“Are you coping with so much stress that it's keeping you awake at night?


Studies have shown that practicing daily yoga can reduce or even fully prevent insomnia.”


“will make you feel more relaxed and balanced and will help you face the day with confidence and calm”.

“Adding a few yoga poses to your daily routine can make you an emotionally stronger and happier person. A recent study has shown that practicing regular yoga and meditation results in higher serotonin levels (the happiness hormone).”

 “just 15 minutes of yoga a day can start changing your brain chemistry and improving your mood.”


Yoga and mindfulness go hand-in-hand. “When practicing yoga, you will shift your awareness to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that accompany a given pose. That awareness will bring the mind back to the present moment – the main aim of mindfulness - where it can stay happy and focused.” 


“Practicing mindfulness has lasting physical and psychological benefits that are very much in line with the benefits of yoga. You will feel more calm and relaxed, and less stress and anxiety. You will experience higher levels of energy and enthusiasm and more self-confidence and self-acceptance.”

Yoga requires you to concentrate on your breathing which as result calms your mind. If you ever tried and struggled to meditate like me, the yoga could be perfect way towards it. Our minds can be our worst enemies sometimes. 

This could be your little trick hidden up your sleeve. 


My research backs this up:

“By reducing mental stress and physical tension, we are able to recall easier and have more organised thoughts. Improved cognitive function happens when we are able to clear our minds and refresh. Overall, by reducing mental stress and physical tension through daily yoga, you'll be able to think sharper and have more organised thoughts.”


According to research: “everyday yoga will help you increase your level of fitness, regulate your heart rate, reduce your stress levels and make you a happier person. All those elements may add valuable years to your life.”

Even if you got one benefit out of yoga, let it be focusing on the present.  “Studies have found that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. People who practice Transcendental Meditation demonstrate the ability to solve problems and acquire and recall information better—probably because they're less distracted by their thoughts, which can play over and over like an endless tape loop.”

“Regularly practicing yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance.”

What I found is that following these 3 actions I started making changes in other areas of my life without realising or without putting extra effort in. I started to eat better (significantly more greens and berries), drink more water or healthy smoothies and I finally kicked my bad smoking habit in its ass. 


All of three activities above are good for you, it’s backed up by countless research, I’ve added the links below in the case you want to check them out. 


I know what you’re going to say now! I’m not exercise enthusiast! And that’s fine, I’m not either. I give you my word I will try and find 3 best actions for you to destress which won’t involve exercise. Until I do, you’ve got to give a chance to my ones and test them out. 

Report back to me as always in the comments below.