Stress is unavoidable. You’re stressed in the morning when you check the clock and realize you’re running late to work. You’re stressed about meeting Friday’s deadline and you’re getting worked up about the fact that the holidays are right around the corner. Your kids both have sports practice at the same time and you have to figure out a plan. Your phone keeps buzzing with an influx of e-mails and you haven’t done laundry in two weeks. It’s okay. This happens to everyone. You just need to take the time out of your day to relax. Here are a few things you should be doing daily:
Get enough sleep
I know, I know. Easier said than done. But, sleep is essential for your overall well-being. Think of your body like a cell phone. When it starts to flash ‘low battery,’ you panic. You rush to find a charger, send as many texts and e-mails as you can, and wonder how it went from green to red so fast. That’s just like your body. When you’re sleep-deprived, it affects your mood, memory, and judgement. Your stress is elevated. You become irrationally worried and try to work in double-time. The more you do that, the faster your energy level will drop. Sleep is when you recharge. Try to get yourself to 100% battery every night. It will make tomorrow easier.
Do a mind-body exercise
Mind-body exercises not only help you de-stress, but they also help your overall health. You’re exercising and toning your body, while giving your mind a break. While practicing meditation or yoga, you’ll learn to become more aware of your body and how your physical wellness affects your mental wellness.
We all have a go-to comfort food. Generally it’s pizza, macaroni and cheese, or something else with high fat content. While it might increase your mood while you’re eating, it has negative effects on your body. Eating those types of comfort foods can make you feel lethargic and raise your blood pressure—which doesn’t help stress levels. Eating better will help you feel better. Eating fibrous foods will make you more productive during the day.
Take a walk
Fresh air can do wonders. Take a break. Go outside. Even if it’s a short loop around your building. A change in atmosphere will give your brain the break it deserves.
Schedule time to do nothing
There is always time in your day to take a break. This doesn’t mean eat your sandwich in front of your computer at work. I mean do nothing at all—even if it’s just ten minutes. Don’t think about work. Don’t think about your messy house, or all the things on your to-do list. Just sit. Breathe. Drink some soothing tea.
Wear whatever makes you feel good. Don’t wear the pants in your closet that are one size too small, that you’re always trying to squeeze into. Wear something that fits. Something loose. Something breathable. Dressing comfortably is one less distraction in your day.
Take a break from technology
Seriously. I know it’s hard, but put down the cell phone. Social media is filled with negativity and your e-mail is full of people who want something from you. The world won’t stop if you shut off your phone. It will give you time to clear your head and take your mind off of work for once. It’s a great opportunity to wipe your mind clean and start fresh.
Do a puzzle
Puzzles challenge your mind. I know what you’re thinking. I thought you want my mind to rest, not to work. But, think of a puzzle as a brain exercise. It shouldn’t be stressful. It’s a distraction from all the other stressors of your life, without losing productivity. When your mind is working on a puzzle, chances are it’s not working on anything else.
It’s an automatic bodily function, so why should you practice? Because it’s calming. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, close your eyes and take deep breaths for twenty seconds. Remove yourself from the situation before it gets out of control.
Use your pen
Getting stressed? Write it down. Write down what’s causing your stress and how you feel. Write down what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Once you know your triggers, it will be easier to know how to deal with them in the future.