Stress is a normal part of life. However, excessive amounts of stress (coupled with poor or limited resources for coping or eliminating the stressor) can lead to negative behavioral and physical health outcomes such as elevated blood pressure, over- or under- eating, and poor decision making.
The ideal course of action when dealing with stress is to identify the cause and eliminate it. However, sometimes it’s not that easy. I am my sister’s keeper. As such, I want to share a few strategies for creating balance and peace in our busy day-to-day lives.
Please note: these strategies are being offered as suggestions not cures – These are activities that work for me that I recommend you try for stress reduction (if you’re looking for new tools for your tool box)
1. Get some fresh air
We often take walking for granted, but walks can be very peaceful and meditative if we are present in the moment. When you begin to feel overwhelmed or stressed try heading outside for some fresh air. Take a short walk (5-10 minutes), take in the sounds, scenery, and relax in the beauty of the life. Allow this time to clear your mind and refresh your perspective. This strategy works wonders after a disagreement or if you’re looking for a time to reflect. It’s also a good way to get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity that we need per week (according to US Physical Activity guidelines)
2. Enjoy a hobby (or pick up a new one)
Spend time doing things that you love or that you have always wanted to try. Even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes, this will quench the thirst of your soul and bring you so much joy – not to mention the release that comes with joy melts away stress. One year, I decided that I wanted to pick up loom knitting – YouTube will teach you everything and FOR FREE; use it!
They didn’t introduce us to diaries as youngsters for nothing! Having a space to channel our thoughts and reflect is MAJOR. Not to mention, it can diffuse a number of emotional outbursts. Whether it’s in an actual journal or the notes application in our smart phones – WRITE! Express your feelings, jot down your dreams, create a memoir.
4. Read a book
5. Create something
We all are creatives. Just do. and be. and vibe. Develop something and relish in the finished product.
Disengage from society and focus on self. Turn off your phone, cancel out unwanted noise and be present in the now. Use the time of disconnection to connect to your goals, dreams, thoughts, and feelings. Solitude can be scary for those uncomfortable with themselves. However, I encourage you to learn to enjoy the stillness of being alone so that you can really enjoy time spent with others or even better yet understand how you affect a space upon entry…
7. Create a calming environment
Don’t underestimate the importance of shaping your space for peace. Creating a tranquil environment can boost your mood and relieve stress something serious. From the use of an oil diffuser (which I LOVE) to incense to waterfall machines to paintings on the wall, create a space that encourages peace. Another way to do this without decorating a physical space is to use stress-relieving lotions. Keep some on your desk, in your backpack, wherever and apply when needed.
8. Spend time with people you like
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your social support networks are very important. Surround yourself with good people and watch your worries slip away.
9. Netflix and chill
Take it how you may…but I’m simply talking about watching a movie (or 10). I always feel so much better after I’ve taken time to watch a new movie or series. Netflix is life!