9 Tips for stress relief

Living with dogs (or kids, or both for that matter) can be stressful. No matter how much you love your dog, we all have days where we just need a break. While we go deep into your own specific triggers in my one-on-one intensive, Speak Doglish, this post will help you get started in kicking that stress to the curb!

  • Slowing down your breathing activates the prefrontal cortex and can help you feel calmer. Take a few minutes to yourself in your room, your car, or in a closet if you have to, and shoot for 4-6 deep breaths per minute.
  • Get some sleep! When you are sleep deprived, not only are you grumpy, but your prefrontal cortex gets grumpy, too, and you get stuck with high levels of stress hormones. Your cells have trouble absorbing glucose, too, and then you start craving sweets and caffeine, which isn’t good either.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Try it for half a day, a whole day, whatever works for you – do whatever it takes to not get yourself down about something that happens. Don’t let the little things derail your day. If you can do this all day at work, imagine how much of a better state of mind you’ll be in when you get home!
  • End the day on a great note by keeping a journal and writing down one thing that you are grateful for or happy about, from the day. If it works better, you could start your day the same way.
  • If something goes wrong, give yourself the same advice you would give a friend in the same situation. We are usually easier on our friends than on ourselves, so take a step back and cut yourself some slack.
  • Exercise! This works for everyone and every animal. Whether this is running, walking, yoga, tennis, rock climbing, or something else – just get moving. Start with 15-20 minutes and build yourself up to more, or take two exercise breaks in a day if that works better.
  • Listen to music. This is something easy that you can often do during the day at work, or on the drive/ride home from work. Let your mind wander, let it go, and just listen to the music.
  • Get outside. There is something about being in nature that melts your stress away. If you don’t have easy access to anywhere green, get a tree or some plants to put around your desk/office/home.
  • Develop a hobby. Some people find knitting or sewing relaxing, others like reading or writing. If you want something more active, try dancing, playing an instrument, or playing video/board games.