Stress and anxiety are things that a good majority of people deal with on a daily basis. For many of us, our lives are busy and full of deadlines, obligations, and To-Do lists that are a mile long. By now, most of us have heard about how bad stress is for our bodies and overall health. So, clearly, dealing with our stress and anxiety should be a priority! Learning how to manage and work through those feelings is important and there are several simple tips that I've found to be very helpful with this.
- Sleep. We’ve probably all experienced the power of sleep (or lack thereof) over our emotions. Problems seem bigger at night, and less so in the morning after a good night’s rest. Sleep is crucial for our brains to decompress and repair themselves. Getting enough sleep helps you to be able to have a fresh and clear perspective on things. Try getting an extra hour or two of sleep at night and you are sure to wake up feeling much better and ready to take on whatever your day has in store.
- Meditate. I get pretty bad anxiety sometimes, to the point that I feel physically sick and short of breath. I’ve found that meditating daily has helped me to be able to better control my breathing and my thoughts throughout the day. Since starting to meditate, I’ve definitely noticed myself being able to calm myself down from cases of extreme stress and anxiety. Having some quiet, peaceful time every day to connect with yourself, quiet your mind, and focus on your breathing will help you to be able to re-center yourself throughout your day. Whether you have five minutes or twenty, take some time every day to be alone, quiet, and at peace.
- Organize. Having a lack of organization in your life can be very stress-inducing. Even if you don’t realize it, having a messy house or a cluttered desk is not great for your peace of mind. Set aside some time to organize! Having things in their proper place will feel so good! And having clean, beautiful surfaces is much more calming and conducive to healthy thoughts and productivity than a messy, cluttered, and un-aesthetically pleasing space.
- Plan. Going along with number three, try organizing your life and your To-Do list: plan. If you don’t have a day planner yet, I highly recommend that you get one! I use a Day Designer and I could go on and on raving about how much it has changed my life. Being able to plan ahead and schedule your days out is such a great way to stay organized and on track. Writing out your To-Do list helps you to keep track of everything that you need to do. Instead of trying to keep everything straight in your head, putting your tasks and goals and appointments on paper will take stress out of your life.
- Prioritize. We all have a million things to do each day. Figuring out where to start can be VERY stressful. If you’re anything like me, having a huge To-Do list and not knowing what task to begin with often times leads to me sitting in front of my computer or phone, procrastinating. Which makes me stressed, because I get nothing done. Prioritizing is the answer! Every day, try picking your top three NON-negotiable tasks that absolutely MUST be completed that day. Everything else comes second, but those top three tasks are of pressing importance and simply MUST be completed. Start with those three tasks. Then, you can start moving down the rest of your list. It can be easy to put off the most unpleasant or challenging tasks. Try this: do those tasks FIRST. Think how great and free you will feel once those dreaded tasks are done! Then you can move on to the easier, fun, or more pleasant tasks on your list.
- Exercise. Exercising gives you endorphins, which make you happy. It also helps to release stress and it gives you energy! I love to work out in the morning. It gets my heart pumping, gets oxygen to my brain, gets my body loosened up and moving, and helps me to feel good about myself, having accomplished something that is good for myself before my day has even fully begun! No need to trek to a gym. There are PLENTY of exercise programs and videos that you can do right at home. In your PJs even, if you’d like! Exercise is such an amazing stress reliever, and it is so good for your body and mind.
- Breathe. When you feel yourself overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, try this: close your eyes, breathe in through your nose for the count of ten, hold your breath for five, then exhale slowly through your mouth for ten. Repeat this several times, sitting quietly with your eyes closed. Focus on your breathing.
Remember, you are in control of your thoughts! Your thoughts and feelings do not control you unless you let them. Isn’t that a nice realization? Next time you find yourself stressed and anxious, try the above tips for dealing with those unpleasant feelings.
What are your go-to stress relief techniques?