Stress affects everyone, nearly all of the time. Some of the stress is good stress, like forcing yourself to work harder to study for a test you need to pass. Some stress, however, can control our lives. Do you worry consistently, perhaps about things that you have no control over? Do you find yourself snapping at friends and family? Here are some reminders of what you can do to make yourself feel better, giving yourself time to recover from the stress that can take over our lives.
It’s important to take time for yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up trying to take care of other people, we lose part of ourselves, forgetting that it’s ourselves that we need to take care of more than anything. Realizing that taking care of yourself is a good idea is the very first step towards a stress-reduced life!
Tell yourself that you are going to do something nice for yourself at least once a day. Here is a list of stress reduction techniques that you can do:
- Tell yourself something nice. Such as: “I’m doing a good job taking care of my family,” or “I handled that situation well,” etc. It’s good to let yourself know that you are a great person and that you are handling your life very well.
- Put something inspirational on your mirror. Whenever you look into your mirror you can read it and feel inspired. Perhaps this thing could be just a quote, or maybe a poem, or a list of things that remind you what makes you truly happy.
- When you wake up in the morning, shower, put on your make up, get dressed, make your bed, and be sure to put your shoes on! This may sound silly, but often just lounging around the house in pyjamas can make a person feel tired and not inspired to do much. Just taking the time to get dressed and take care of yourself in the morning helps you feel more confident and ready to begin your day with flair!
- If you want to relax at night, try taking a nice warm bubble bath. Burning candles and your favourite relaxing music add a nice touch!
- Every once in a while, treat yourself to your favourite meal. Cook it yourself, or take yourself out to dinner and enjoy!
- Relax and watch a movie that you want to watch. Often, I find myself only watching things that everyone else in my family watches, neglecting my own desires. For a change, it’s good to just kick back and enjoy a good movie that I want to see, whether or not anyone else watches it with me!
- Read a book. Taking time to read something that you enjoy is a fantastic way to relax. Find a comfortable quiet place in your home, or even go to the park or library, curl up, and read!
- Keep a journal. This can either be a paper journal or an online one. Write down your feelings, and go back and read it a little bit later. Sometimes it isn’t until we put our worries into written words that we understand that we are overreacting or that we are too upset about things that really don’t need worrying over!
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthily, with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Feeling healthy is a great start to feeling less stressed!
- Drink a lot of water! It’s suggested that we drink around eight glasses of water a day. Carry a water bottle with you, or go out and choose a stylish water bottle for yourself, and make sure to actually drink the water! It’ll be an adjustment at first, but once you get started, you’ll remember to always drink your water, and you will notice how much better you feel!
- Exercise! Even if it’s just for a small walk a day. You don’t need to go to the gym and work out to feel better, walking is free, and it’s fun! Take a friend, walk around your neighbourhood, and enjoy. Just two walks a day for twenty minutes each will stop you gaining twenty pounds in a year! It also reduces stress. Going for a short walk after work is a great way to get work stress out of your system, and calm you down for your evening at home with your family.
- Just say no to caffeine! Drinking caffeine can cause your nerves to feel just a bit more frayed. If you must drink caffeine, then drink it only until noon, and for the rest of the day, drink decaffeinated drinks only. You’ll notice that you’ll sleep better, and feel a little bit less angst during the day. Drinking water and exercising will give you more energy to replace the lack of caffeine!
- Limit your sugar. When we are stressed, it’s tempting to go for the chocolates or the ice cream in the freezer, but it’s only going to make you feel worse in the long run. Sugar causes you to feel “high” for a short period of time, but after the sugar high passes, you are going to crash and feel even worse than before. If you feel that you absolutely must have sugar, have one scoop of ice cream, not three, or just one cookie instead of half the pack. Gorging yourself is going to make you feel sick, and make you feel worse about yourself as well. Showing yourself that you have the willpower to only stick to one treat (or even better, none at all) will give you more confidence, and you’ll feel better physically, as well!
- Get rid of your clutter. Clutter around the house can make everyone feel more stressed out. When it’s difficult to find things you are looking for, or the kitchen is such a mess that you don’t even want to cook, it’s time to take action! Even if you only clean up clutter for fifteen minutes a day, that’s fifteen minutes towards your ultimate goal, a clutter free home! Search the internet for Flylady and Freecycle, two wonderful things that can help you get your home in order!
- Do you like to shop? Go shopping, then! If you can’t afford to buy much, just walk around the mall and look at things. Not only are you getting your exercise in, but you are having fun doing it! There’s no harm in a little bit of window shopping.
- Put together a garden! Grow whatever interests you! Flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc. Gardening isn’t just something that produces flowers or food for you to eat, it’s a great activity that keeps you interested and keeps you moving! Taking time out of your day to garden is very calming and enjoyable, and you get rewards for doing it! If you live in an apartment, do some research on things that will grow well in containers, and put together a container garden for yourself! Plenty of herbs and flowers especially do well in containers.
- Find yourself a hobby! Maybe you like collecting things but never got around to doing it, or maybe you enjoy painting, or building furniture. Whatever it is that you always wish you could have the time to do, take the time and do it! You will feel more fulfilled as you work on your new hobby, and certainly more relaxed, as well.
- Take a class. Perhaps you can take a class on dancing, if that’s something that interests you. You can get your exercise in and learn something new all at once! There are classes available on nearly anything you’d ever want to know about, including free classes online at various websites. All you have to do is look for them! Your local community college and parks and recreation center should also provide different options for you.
These are just a few ideas of things to try when you are feeling stressed out and overworked. You can take time for yourself, because you deserve it! Its okay to say no to extra work if you are feeling like you can’t handle things. Its okay to put yourself first every once in a while, because you are important!
Making time for yourself and spoiling yourself, even if it is only a little bit, will make you feel so much better! Getting rid of the bad stress will help make room for you to do things more productively and more positively, which not only helps you, but everyone around you, as well! Remembering that you aren’t the only one who benefits from stress relief may be the reminder you need to keep on trying!