April 25-30 is National Stress Awareness Week (although most moms don’t exactly need a designated “week” to recognize the many stresses in their life!). Whether your blood pressure spikes due to the joys of navigating tweenhood, that oh-so-fun annual tax time, preparation and application duties for the coming school year, toilet training your toddler, weaning your baby or the myriad other possible pressures a woman can face, it is vital to control stress.
There are two types of stress, acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is that sensation you feel when you have to suddenly hit the brakes to avoid an accident, you see your child knocked flat on a ball field, or you have a fight with your partner. While not a fun feeling, it helps you navigate emergency situations and usually passes as quick as it develops. Chronic stress is the unsettled feeling that lasts for weeks or months, sometimes occurring when you have ongoing money issues, take on caretaking responsibility for a relative, or live with an unhealthy work situation or marriage.
Less striking than acute stress, chronic stress can actually be more damaging as you become accustomed to the feeling, which unmanaged can lead to health issues. According to the government website on stress management; high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression or anxiety, skin problems like acne or eczema and menstrual problems can result from untreated chronic stress. Kendra Senn, founder of The Fit Life, offers some tips to help manage day-to-day stress.
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The first and most important way to prevent stress is to be well rested. It will enable you to handle stressful tasks and situations the next day.
- Take 10 minutes in the morning. It’s easy to spring out of bed and immediately start the day, but it’s very important to take time for yourself to get centered. One way to do this is to start your day by writing a gratitude list of 10 things that you are grateful for—such as your home, your family, or simply that you are happy and healthy. Next, take three to five minutes and sit quietly and reflect on your gratitude list. These five minutes will do wonders for you as the day gets more hectic.
- Eat right and exercise. Eating healthy foods like lean proteins, green vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will keep you in a good mood throughout your day. Exercise is a HUGE stress reliever and will release feel good chemicals in your brain like serotonin and dopamine.
- Avoid HALTing. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. If these crop up, deal with them as quickly as possible. Keep a snack close to you, write down your angry thoughts in a journal, call a friend if you’re feeling down, and take a power nap if necessary to avoid build ups of stress.
Carving out an hour or two for a trip to the spa not only helps you relax, but can help your health, mood and productivity. Win-win with these local OC spa treatments.
Descend into the grotto, where you’ll be painted with a moisturizer of aloe vera and shea butter with hints of eucalyptus, coconut and lavender oils before lounging in the heated Hydrating Chamber. Rinse off under the multi-head granite shower before indulging in a Honeycomb Massage and Back Treatment. This harmonizing experience uses PINO natural Honey Ginger Oil, immune boosting Massage Honey and a propolis-enriched Beeswax Pad which revitalizes stressed skin and creates a relaxing feeling. Tip —Enjoy an al fresco massage under a canopy of oaks at no extra charge.
Orange and Mission Viejo
Emilee’s Intrigue is half body treatment, half massage. Your body is kneaded into therapeutic bliss before being enveloped in fresh eucalyptus leaves and steaming towels. As the warmth settles in, a gentle facial and scalp massage completes the experience.
25 locations throughout Orange County
Sometimes we need a little nudge to de-stress. Massage Envy’s membership program offers a monthly rub down reminder. The hour-per-month sessions not only roll over if unused, but can be split for an quickie 30-minute massage before report cards come home one month, with the extra half hour adding up to an indulgent 90 minute massage the following month.
Newport Beach and Rancho Santa Margarita
Spa Gregorie’s offers a Mothers-to-Be Program with these important tips to consider before booking a maternity massage — spagregories.com
- Make sure your therapist is certified in maternity massage.
- Avoid certain essential oils that are contraindicated for pregnant women such as clary sage.
- Avoid massaging certain areas associated with the womb and uterus such as parts of the feet and ankles.
- Maternity massage should only be performed while lying on the side.
- Do not go in a steam room, Jacuzzi, or hot bath.