Have Fun while Reducing Stress
We do this automatically – and it helps!
When we’re first conceived, we listen to our mother’s heart beating. It’s a rhythm that is soothing as we develop in her womb.
After birth, we were rocked when we were upset or needed extra care.
It’s the rocking motion that brought comfort. It’s the repetitive motion that can redirect our focus physically and emotionally away from what was causing the problems and anxiety. And it produces peace.
We often see children, and sometimes even adults react to trauma and extreme levels of stress by reverting to rocking. Many times people will find themselves rocking during a stressful time.
We often unknowingly search for the rhythm.
There are many activities that create the motion that we need to reduce stress in the days we live.
Some ideas for children, using age discretion.
- Crinkle paper
- Slowly roll a ball back and forth
- Rock in a rocking chair
- Jump up and down in one spot - trampoline, ball room or sponge jumping.
- Kick legs while sitting in a chair (how long can they continue?)
- Wash dishes (small plastic with lots of bubbles)
- Roll playdoh, or cookie dough (depending on age)
- Pour some sugar, flour or salt onto a plate and draw shapes.
- Watch a fish tank (even a virtual fish tank on tv)
- Stand and sway body back and forth while “dancing” to slow music
- Blow pinwheels.
- Push against a wall like a push up.
- Skip rope
- Throw stones into lake; slowly drop stones into pond or puddle and watch the waves
- Brush their hair
- Slowly kick a ball around the yard.
- Playground swing or tire swing
Other ideas for reducing stress in children:
- Yell as loud as they can (release the emotion)
- Enjoy a “quiet spot” instead of a “time out”
- Finger paint in the bathtub with ketchup & mustard
- Hang a clear shower curtain on a clothes line outside. Finger paint or even throw paint.
- Hug a stuffy or pillow really hard. How long can they hug?
- Bubble bath – with water toys that pour water
- Using rope draw a maze in the grass. Kids can walk around the maze.
- Hop scotch
Ideas for adults:
- Hammer - Knit
- Saw - Chop wood
- Vacuum - Walk / treadmill
- Swim - Paint a wall
- Color / doodle - Bake bread / knead dough
- Swim lengths - Climb stairs
- Curl -- Playground swing or basket chair
- Row a canoe / kayak - Skate / roller blade
- Wash dishes - Breath deeply
- Stretch - Rake
- Sweep - Wash windows
- Mow lawn - Ski, snow or water
- Lie in a pool or lake - Golf
You can see that a lot of our daily housework includes activities that are repetitive motions and will reduce our stress. Instead of looking at these as chores, we can be thankful for the opportunity to reduce our stress level as we get our work done. Intentionally realizing what we are doing, being present in every activity, can help us to learn to focus. We’ve become so accustomed to multi-tasking that in many cases, we’ve forgotten how to be present in the moment. Often, multi-tasking leads to nothing getting done well as we aren’t completely focused on anything. Adding these stress reducing activities into our day will help us emotionally, physically, and also provide a healthy environment for our family.
Planning a daily routine makes a huge difference in reducing stress for adults and children both as we know what to expect for our day. When we plan our extra activities before bedtime, we’re also able to sleep better, knowing what to expect and then are able to accomplish more the next day.
Writing in a journal every day will also reduce stress levels. With little ones, they can draw a
picture. An adult can write their dialogue to go with it as their evening story. Using this as a time
of reflection, we can focus on things we’re grateful for, what we learned, dreams we’ve had, or any specific focus that you’d like to journal. This helps redirect our thoughts to a positive focus allowing for a better sleep.
Have fun as you learn to intentionally reduce the stress in your life.