7 Ways to Stress Less
Are you still feeling stressed even though the holidays are over? Feeling relaxed can be challenging year-round, especially when topics regarding money, work, relationships, kids and politics constantly arise and get in our way. The list of stressors is endless, but what if you could tune it out? What if you could recognize bad patterns and change them? What if you changed your whole approach by changing your habits and lowered stress for good? Here are some ways to start decreasing your stress today:
1. Live Mindfully: Practice being present in the moment to help quiet your wandering mind. Wandering minds often jump from one topic to the next: to-do lists, upcoming deadlines and concerns, etc., which can wear at our happiness. Practice mindfulness to decrease stress, prevent impulse decisions, and bring more joy to the here and now.
2. Get Adequate Nutrition and Sleep: These are the juggernauts of stress busting! These two fundamentals help us function more smoothly and efficiently. With inadequate nutrition and sleep, we can feel drained and find ourselves craving sweets or stress eating. While sweets are delicious, they don’t fuel us in a way where we can focus and have lasting energy to get through our day. Start aiming for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night and three balanced meals and snacks per day.
3. Move More: We may associate rest with relaxation, but exercise is actually a key player in stress reduction. Aerobic exercise helps to reduce stress hormones, such as cortisol, and release the "happy hormones," endorphins, which leave us feeling calmer and happier. Forms of exercise that incorporate meditation and breathing exercises, such as yoga, are another great way to feel less stressed and more zen.
4. De-clutter Your Space: A cluttered space creates a cluttered mind. Owning too much stuff is a cause of stress. Consider paring down nonessential items to those you love. This will save time, money and breathe life into your living space. Try the KonMari Method or get inspired with The Minimalists.
5. Take Time for Yourself: Re-evaluate priorities and learn to say no to anything in your schedule that does not serve you. We often put other people’s needs before our own, but how can we expect to be our best without a little TLC? Take time to check in with yourself about what you are feeling and what you need. This will help you feel re-energized and learn to prevent patterns that lead to burn out.
6. Take Real Breaks: Speaking of burn out, try to give yourself time between tasks to let your mind rest throughout the day. Get up and stretch, take a walk, make a cup of tea, tune into your favorite playlist, or truly do nothing. This can help reduce stress and make you more focused and productive when you get back to work.
7. Try Relaxation Techniques: When you feel anxiety levels rising, press pause, practice deep breathing and focus to avert the stress. Incorporating a daily meditation practice can provide a whole host of benefits, including lowered stress. Need a little help? Get guidance with relaxation apps: InsightTracker, Simply Being, Relax with Andrew Johnson.
Written by: Michelle Pearson, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern