Being a type A, I’ve always had a tendency toward being a bit stressed out. I can sometimes be wound pretty tight and my stress levels rise when I’m running late, Little A isn’t cooperating, or things aren’t going how I planned. So I’m always looking for ways to lead a less stressful life.
Stress can be more detrimental to the mind and body than a lot of people realize. Chronic stress can lead to everything from headaches, depression and insomnia, to loss of menstrual cycle in women and weight gain. It can also make you more susceptible to viral illnesses like colds and the flu.
If you’re unsure of how to lead a less stressful life, here are some simple tips that have worked for me for the past 15 years.
Exercise is my #1 tip for stress relief. Remember when Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Well it’s the truth. Exercise has been proven to boost your mood and relieve stress in the body. When I’ve had a particularly stressful day with the kids, the minute the hubs gets home I hand the baby to him and immediately go for a run, or to the garage to do some intense working out. And I come back into the house feeling 1000 times better.
A lot of times stress can occur while we’re at work. Try to take 10 minutes away from your desk and just go for a little walk. You will be amazed at how much better you feel when you’re done.
Be in the moment
A lot of stress comes from thinking about the future or the past. When we’re in the moment and we can focus on our bodies and the people we are with, and not think about how we are really low on groceries and aren’t sure if we’ll have time to grocery shop and make dinner tonight, the stress tends to escape us. Being in the moment always makes me realize how lucky I am, it re-centers me and brings clarity to the fact that I want to remember moments, not always be thinking about the past or future.
I once read a quote that said laughter is when a smile has an orgasm. Tell me that didn’t make you smile (or maybe chuckle) a bit? 🙂 But really, laughing is good for the soul. The happiest people are those that are laughing with friends and family. If you need a quick stress relief, turn on a good comedy or look up some good jokes. My husband is in love with Jerry of the Day on Instagram. Seriously funny.
Have you ever felt so stressed out that you stopped and took a few deep breaths to center yourself and regain your composure? If you did then I’m betting it worked and you instantly felt a bit calmer. Deep breathing sends more oxygen to your lungs, slowing your heart rate and stabilizing your blood pressure.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, then breathe out for a count of 8. I’ve started doing this with my daughter when she starts to get upset and stressed out and it really helps calm her down.
I remember when I was applying for jobs when I first started working in corporate America. Multi-tasking was a positive thing that many employers looked for during the interview process. But multi-tasking can be seriously detrimental to your mental health. You truly can’t focus 100% on any one task if you’re trying to do 2 or 3 or even 4 things at a time. So you end up doing everything half-assed and can miss important details. Focus on doing one task at a time and you will be less stressed while working.9 secrets for leading a less stressful life. These really work! Click To Tweet
Talk to a friend
Whenever something is really bothering me and stressing me out, I call my best friend to chat. She is always reassuring and makes me feel more settled. If you don’t have someone you can trust, try making an appointment with a counselor. Talking about what you’re feeling is a great stress reliever.
Take a break
Life doesn’t always have to be about working. Making time for fun is important for our mental and emotional health. I had been feeling really stressed out this summer with my lack of time for work. So I took a blogging break. It was nice to be away and de-stress; and now I’m ready to kick fall off with a bang.
Sometimes the best thing you can do in a stressful situation is walk away. Plain and simple. I’m not talking about walking away permanently (it’s not healthy to walk away from your problems). I’m talking about when you think you can’t pull another carpet staple out of the floor because you’ve just pulled 1000 out and your hands are killing you but you know you need to get it done. Just take a break and walk away from the task. Do some deep breathing (like I mentioned above), watch a few funny video clips or drink a glass of wine. Just get away from the situation for a few minutes, then return when you’re feeling more relaxed. I promise you’ll be less stressed than if you had continued to work through your frustration.
This one isn’t for everyone, but there have been times in my life when the stress was so unbearable that I didn’t know what else to do. So I prayed. Prayer can be powerful. I’ve never prayed as hard as I did when EJ was born unconscious and they had to rush him off to the NICU. Sometimes folding your hands and bowing your head to pray is all you need to feel the relief wash over you. Whenever we go to church I always walk away feeling a little lighter than I did when I walked in.
I know first hand how detrimental stress can be on your life. The women in my family tend to carry around a lot of stress and I’ve seen how it has affected their health. I also tend to stress easily, but using these tips I’ve been able to quell my stress levels and lead a happier and less stressful life.
What’s something you do to relieve stress in your life?