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Epic Relaxation and Resilience

Relaxation and Resilience Resources

Today's fast-paced and ever-changing work environment challenges all of us.  While change can be exciting and may ultimately improve the work we do, sometimes the change feels stressful and overwhelming.  To avoid continually rising stress levels and burnout, you must learn how to deal more effectively with this stress.  There are many ways to reduce stress and build resilience (which means increasing the skills that will help you to bounce back quickly).  The resources below are just some of the ways you can start to build resilience and reduce stress.  Try them out.  Read an article, follow a link, practice a technique - make it your own!  These tools are here for you to try whenever you want to try them.  The It's Your Life health coaches are also available to come to departments and demonstrate some of these activities or present a hands-on demonstration.  Call 517-205-7495 to be connected to your coach.

Journaling and Gratitude

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ~Cicero

Being grateful is both a state of mind and perspective. One person’s idea of expressing gratitude may completely contradict another.  Most of us are not born eternal optimists, but being positive and grateful is something that can be imbibed even if a tad forcibly; such as by trying to tweak our sense of humor, the way we react to a given situation, by being more pleasant and believing others too have a mind, by smiling each time somebody says ‘thank you’, and by understanding that every person in on their own journey and accepting that it’s not your position to judge them (excerpted from 15 Steps to Become Grateful and More Positive by Traci Hawkins.)  To read the full article, click here.

Journaling and Gratitude Quick Links

The Five Minute Journal

Tactile Relaxation

Some people are very tactile and find that touching or feeling different textures provide stress relief. This can include playing with stress relief balls or other toys, petting an animal, getting a massage, taking a hot bath, or holding an object that you find comfort in.  Here are some suggestions for objects that can be used for tactile relaxation.  Click here for pictures.

  • Stones
  • Glass gems (found at most stores for crafts-caution around small children or those cognitively challenged)
  • Small zen tray (sand, rocks, stick for raking)
  • Balloon filled with tactile preference (rice, sand, cornstarch, beans)
  • Silky material

Distraction - Printable Resources

Looking for some good, old fashioned relaxation?  Print any of the following fun activities for a quick break.  



Word search:


Crossword puzzles/more:

Need some ideas for break time?  Print 50 Ways to Take a Break or this mini Take a Break calendar for a visual reminder.

The Relaxation Response and Mindfulness

Read Mindfulness and Mastery in the Workplace: 21 ways to reduce stress during the workday by Saki F. Santorelli, EdD, MA to learn more.

Simply put the opposite of the stress response is the relaxation response.  Practicing the relaxation response leads to resiliency.  Resiliency is the body’s ability to adapt to challenging life situations over time, the more often we effectively handle stress, the more likely we are able to handle it well in the future and to build long-term resiliency.*  Being aware of your body; being aware of your breath; and meditation are ways to practice the relaxation response.  *Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital  Below are 3 audio clips, each an exercise in the relaxation response.  Try them all!

Relaxation Audio Clips

1.  Body awareness guided relaxation plus 1 minute silence: total time 7:09 min 

2.  Breath awareness – the breath of relaxation – 6:07 min

3.  A few minutes of absolutely nothing – guided meditation – 10:50 min 

Positive perspective also leads to resiliency.  Try this app: and take your relaxation on the go.


Don't forget to exercise!  A workout doesn't have to be 60 minutes of grueling cardio.  In fact, short bursts of exercise can be fun and beneficial to your health and fitness.  Check out the many resources below for quick exercise opportunities.

Exercise Quick Links

5 Great Exercise Apps
Free Online Exercise Videos/Resources
Stretch and Strength Band Exercises
Weekly Exercise Log

A Little Humor

Sometimes all you need is a little laughter.  And studies show that humor at work is actually a good thing!  From the article "10 Reasons You Should Use Humor at Work" from  Everyone knows it is fun to laugh or smile or Photoshop pictures of their managers on the faces of the cast of the Brady Bunch. But maybe not everyone knows the additional benefits besides just fun.  So here are 10 reasons YOU (yes, you, the one reading this right now) should use humor at work.  Click here to read the full article.

Take a humor break - check out the quick videos below!

Nutrition and Health Eating

When life gets busy or when stress rises, proper nutrition and meal planning are quick to slide. We often look for traditional “comfort” foods like sweets, pizza, and rich pasta dishes. These high fat and high sugar foods are not ideal as they zap energy and make us less able to deal with stress.

A better option? Real, whole foods including fruits, vegetables, lean protein foods such as lean meat, beans and nut butters, dairy and healthy fats. These simple recipes will keep you focused and give your immune system a boost.


  • Whole grain English muffin topped with nut butter and sliced fruit
  • Yogurt mixed with dried or fresh fruit and topped with cereal, chopped nuts and ground flax seed
  • Toasted pita with scrambled egg, cheese and salsa
  • Frozen whole grain waffle, toasted and topped with low-fat cottage cheese and sliced fresh strawberries
  • Oatmeal topped with diced fresh fruit, sliced almonds and milk
  • High fiber cereal with diced bananas and milk
  • Banana Quesadilla and milk
  • Spinach Mushroom and Feta Quiche


  • Salad with fresh berries, toasted nuts, Feta cheese, diced chicken and vinaigrette
  • Chicken salad made with plain Greek yogurt, celery, chopped grapes, slivered almonds and dill
  • Tuna salad served with whole grain crackers and a bowl of fresh fruit
  • Turkey, avocado and veggie wrap served with yogurt, chopped nuts and fruit
  • Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
  • Southwestern Chopped Salad



  • Low-fat granola bars
  • Whole grain fruit bars
  • Whole fruit such as tangerines, bananas, or apples
  • Dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, apples, cranberries
  • Trail mix- plain (excluding candy or yogurt-covered nuts and fruit)
  • Nuts and seeds- plain or lightly salted
  • Vegetables and hummus
  • String cheese
  • Plain yogurt with fruit

More Resources

Need a few more ideas?  Check out Henry Ford LiveWell as well as the links and documents below.

Healthy Eating on the Run

Quick Stop Lunch Options