I get so frustrated when I feel like I'm always running behind. Sometimes, it seems like I can't keep up no matter how hard I try. Every time I get one thing accomplished, I turn around to find a mountain of things just waiting for me to conquer. You've been there too, haven't you?
I don't know about you, but for me this causes stress. When it goes on for long periods of time, it causes chronic stress. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. It can wreak havoc on your mind and body. With chronic stress you have an increased risk of anxiety, depression, digestive issues, heart disease, sleep problems, weakened immune system, weight gain, memory & concentration impairments and more.
Before we talk about some simple ways to reduce stress in your every day life, let's first understand our bodies' natural stress response as told from the MayoClinic:
Understanding the Natural Stress Response
My biggest hurtle when it comes to finding stress relief is realizing I'm not being selfish. YOU are not being selfish by taking care of yourself first. You can better care for others when you take care of yourself. Realize your health and well-being is not indulgence, it's respect for yourself.
"Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit- the realization that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of well-being." -Greg Anderson
So now the question: How can we lessen the amount of stress in our daily lives so we can be healthier and happier?
I've been a massage therapist for almost 9 years, I've seen what chronic stress can do to a person. I'm going to share some ideas with you that I have personally implemented into my life as well as a few things I have noticed have tremendously helped clients and friends of mine. Everyone reacts differently to stressors, in that same regard, some of these tips may be more useful to you than others. If you have any additional tips that have helped you, I would love for you to comment below.
To help me conquer the frustrations of always feeling like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I have started planning more diligently. These two things have made a tremendous difference in our stress levels due to daily activities. We first have a Weekly Planning Board:
My husbands schedule is ever changing. I hardly know what shift he's working, when he will be home or what days he will be off this week. My schedule isn't much more constant. We sit down on Sundays and fill out our board for the week ahead. We are able to see who will be where, what days we need additional child care, and hopefully, what day we can do something fun together. It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
In addition to our Weekly Planning Board, we do a Weekly Menu. Our menu board has been a life saver, not only for our sanity but our budget, as well. I don't know how many times I had come home from work at 5 or 6, the boys are starving, I'm scrambling around in the kitchen trying to create a meal with random ingredients in under 10 minutes. Stressful. While we are filling out our Weekly Planner we fill out the menu according to our schedules, then grocery shop according to the list. The menu has reduced stress in the evenings and allowed us to have a more balanced diet.
Diet & Exercise is something we could spend hours talking about, but let's just touch on it for a minute. Exercising is a fabulous stress reliever! I'm not saying you need to become a marathon runner, but scheduling small things, like a 30 minute walk in the evening, will help you lower your stress level. Diet can play a key role in stress as well. Eliminating processed foods and making healthy choices will give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to fight stress and boost your immune system. If you don't exercise on a regular basis or eat healthy then start by taking baby steps. If you keep up with it, you will soon have a new habit.
I have been focusing on Minimalist Living a lot lately. It's amazing how getting rid of clutter in your house and life can seem to free up space in your mind. Do you really need 32 bath towels in your linen closet for a family of 4? I sure didn't. The boys loved donating many of them to the local animal shelter and I loved a less cluttered closet. I even de-cluttered my email. I unsubscribed to about 90% of my daily email subscriptions. I was receiving over 200+ emails a day and only opening about 5. It was way out of hand. For some reason, when that little email notification number rises, so does my blood pressure.
Say "No" to negativity. You may not even notice how much negativity is around you every day. When I made a conscious effort to avoid it, when possible, I started to realize I had a lot more negativity in my life than I had originally thought. I stopped following negative people on social media. For me, this also included the news. I look for things to inspire me and make me laugh. I found that my mind doesn't wander into the most horrific situation possible as often any more.
I had a handful of friends who pretty much only talked about negative things or made negative comments all of the time. I want to be around people who support me and inspire me to be a better person. I want to be that person to my friends, too. Healthy friendships are vital to your health. Healthy friendships provide you with a trusted source for 'talk therapy'. Sometimes, just saying something out loud can get it of your chest.
Laughter is a great stress reliever! Sometimes, you just need to let go and laugh at little things. I'm easily entertained, so for me something as simple as autocorrect fails or videos like this. Like I said, I'm easily entertained. We also keep a 'Jolly Journal' and write anything funny our kids say or do. I love looking through it when I'm having a rough day.
Always remember to seek professional counseling if you feel you cannot deal with the stress. They are there to help.
Lastly, you need to find something you absolutely love and make sure you schedule time to do it every week. Yes, schedule it- make it a priority. It could be anything from painting, reading a book, going for a walk, meeting a friend for coffee, sitting on the deck with your spouse, meditation, baking, getting a massage- whatever you would consider "me time." Remember, you need to relax, renew & rejuvenate- you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Now take a step back and look at your daily life. We cannot eliminate all stressors, but find one thing that causes you stress on a regular basis. Work on that this week.
Regina Close, LMT Green Spa Market
Relax. Renew. Rejuvenate.
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Classic Comb Salon & Spa
1901 Heritage Hills, Suite 107
Washington, MO 63090