5 Tips to Reduce Stress
You are not alone if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed right now. Learn the top 5 tips to help reduce stress right now. Stress has set in for most people. It may be that we didn’t think COVID would have lasted this long, the school year has started and managing distant learning has taken a toll on you and your kids. You miss that human connection and what normal life was like. Maybe it’s the upcoming holiday’s and thinking how they will be different.
Honestly, everyone experiences stress and worry from time to time. For some it might be more intense. If you feel this way, you aren’t alone. Below are 5 tips to help reduce stress right away.
Feeling Overwhelmed…Try these out to Reduce Stress!
WRITE IT DOWN
Right now you feel bogged down by your thoughts and it can be difficult to pinpoint what it is that has you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Sit down and write them down. You can journal these worries, jot them down in your phone or write them down in a good old fashioned notebook. Take a look at them and reflect on what you see. This will help you have clear understanding of what is actually bothering you. When you feel stressed the smallest thing can become too much and things can begin to spiral out of control.
Ask yourself, “What do I have control over? What don’t I have control over?” Now, practice letting go of those things you don’t have control over. Then you can focus your effort and energy on those things you do have control over and begin to prioritize. Break those down into small goals/tasks that feel much more manageable.
CREATE A MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE
Create a morning and evening routine. Start and end your day focusing on you. Be mindful of filling yourself up. You are so busy it is easy to forgo these but Don’t do it! A routine will allow you to create some healthy habits. Think how often you wake up and are thrown into your day without any thought on yourself? The day is full of work, taking care of the kids, tasks, errands, meals, etc. Next thin you know the day is over. Meanwhile, you are exhausted and barely have time to think about how your day went or what you plan to do the next day. Unfortunately, you do it all over again without any reflection or planning.
Trust me, this doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, all you need is 10-15 minutes. After doing this for a while you will see the benefit and may be tempted to create a longer routine for yourself! Unfortunately, we can’t add more hours to our day but this tip can help you prioritize yourself and your schedule. So much so, that you feel like you have more time.
Most importantly, keep these routines simple. It’s best to wake up 30-60 minutes prior to anyone else. I realize that isn’t possible for everyone. For those people that are morning people this is easy. For those that aren’t, 30 minutes is a lot of time, I get it!
Here is a simple routine. Wake up, drink a glass of water and bring in some light (natural if possible). Next, stretch or do a few yoga poses. Then meditate (there are some great beginner 5 minute meditations that focus on breathing), Last, write in your gratitude journal (list 3 things you are grateful for). If you have extra time, begin to plan your day (some people like to do this the night before, do what works for you). Create a schedule or to do list.
In addition, your evening routine can be simple as well. First, Start with your skin care and hygiene routine and turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. Then, stretch or just lay comfortably while listening to a 5 minute meditation, muscle relaxation or guided imagery. Finally, drink a glass of water or hot tea, plan your day for tomorrow (some people like to do this the morning of, do what works for you) and journal 3 positive thoughts or affirmations from the day.
FIND AN OUTLET THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Untreated stress can not only lead to mental health issues like anxiety but also physical health problems like high blood pressure. It’s important to find an outlet that works for you. More often than not it is recommended that you find some sort of physical outlet. Some exercise whether it is running, cycling, hiking, yoga or pilates. Find whatever works for you. If you force yourself to do something you don’t even half enjoy it will be that much harder to stick with it.
Physical exercise has a ton of benefits and reducing stress is one of them. Find something you enjoy and start to implement it 3-5 times a week.
CREATE A LIST OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
When was the last time you sat down and thought about what makes you happy? Sit down and write a list of things that bring you joy. Keep a running list of these things. Write down anything and everything. Take note of the smallest things to some of the bigger things. For example, taking a hot shower or bath with your favorite bath bomb, sipping on your favorite beverage, indulging in a favorite treat, listening to your favorite playlist or album, spending time with friends, taking a walk, hiking, drawing, baking, planning parties, traveling.
Next, Choose 1 small thing from your list each day. Be mindful of when you are actively enjoying it. Remind yourself you are doing this for the purpose of bringing you joy and filling you up.
In addition, it helps to plan something for the near or even distant future. It gives you something to look forward to. Stress can cause you to feel stuck. Constantly sitting in your stressful thoughts can prevent you from looking into the future. COVID has also made this worse. We don’t feel like we have anything to look forward to these days. That is why planning something can be so helpful.
Get creative and think outside the box. If you like to plan parties and haven’t due to COVID, plan a small, social distancing, front yard or back yard gathering with a few friends. If you can’t do any type of social distancing gathering. Plan a fun zoom happy hour with friends. If you love to travel plan a trip. Planning can be the fun part. Begin to research hotels, restaurants, different places you want to visit and site see. You don’t need to book the trip to plan it out. Plan a social distance hike with friends one time a month. Some salons are back open, plan a trip with a girlfriend to get your nails done or get a hair cut by yourself (following COVID protocols). The possibilities are endless it more about changing your mindset.
WHAT ISN’T WORKING FOR YOU NOW?
Eliminate or reduce things that add to your stress. This doesn’t mean quit your job if you have a stressful job (although, that might not be a bad idea, down the road!). Instead, this might include social media, being connected 24/7 to your digital devices, unhealthy eating habits, consuming too much alcohol or caffeine, or eliminating the negative self talk. The point is to identify what contributes to your stress and start to eliminate or at the very least reduce it. It can be hard to do this but the results are immediate. Make it a fun challenge, invite friends to join you. I promise, you are not the only one feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Sometimes it can help to have others join you on this journey.
How to Stop Stress from Turning into Anxiety!
We all deal with stress at different times of our lives. It is common to feel the pressures of day to day life. Especially right now with COVID and all the other stressors happening around us.
However, keep in mind, you are not alone. Stress and anxiety are on the rise since the pandemic. It’s also helpful to know that feeling some stress can be helpful. In fact, it can help notify us when we may be in danger (activates that fight or flight response), it can also motivate us (making a deadline for work, studying for an exam).
Unfortunately, in todays world and all of the added pressure, it is difficult to decipher what is a real threat and what isn’t. Not knowing keeps your body in a heightened state of stress. This type of stress and added worry can impact not only your mental health but also your physical health.
Take some time to focus on yourself. Make you a priority again. I challenge you to implement these 5 strategies to reduce stress today. Practice these skills and you will see an improvement now and be prepared for what comes your way.