Stress - we all experience it to varying levels and it is something that can affect our health when left unmanaged. While simple stress management tools such as meditation or taking a nice bath might help in the short term, developing long-term stress management techniques is also needed.
Here is a list of little things you can implement into your day-to-day life along with some bigger picture stress reductions that can take more time to set up.
Day-to-day Ways to Reduce Stress:
Spend less time on your phone
There are a number of features on your phone or even apps you can get that can help you reduce your screen time. Not looking at social media first thing after you wake up or right before bed has also been shown to reduce stress.
Get more physical activity
More physical activity does not have to mean “exercise” in the standard sense. Thinking “I need to exercise more” or “I really need to start working out” can just cause more stress. So if that’s an issue for you - just think about adding in more movement. Going for a 10-15 minute walk, dancing to your favorite song or even just tidying up around your home can all count.
Find a mindfulness activity
Coloring, journaling, meditation and even reading a book can all be great mindful activities. Doing anything that involves you focusing on that single activity can be a mindful activity. Some people find cooking or doing a hobby as a mindful activity.
Again - this doesn’t need to be a full 30 minutes of yoga or anything that feels intimidating. Just doing some basic stretches during the workday or getting in some mobility work in the morning or before bed is great.
Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Getting out of the house when you’re feeling overwhelmed can really help you clear your mind.
Practice deep breathing
When we’re stressed, we can feel kind of detached from our bodies or feel uncentered. Taking some deep breaths can help with that. Think about breathing in through your nose and filling your stomach with air. Then breathe out through your nose slowly. There are also more structured breathing techniques here.
Look for good / beautiful things everywhere
It sounds cheesy - but there really is beauty everywhere. When you start looking for good things throughout the day or beautiful things - you’ll start to notice them more because you're training your brain to look for them. Once you find something good or beautiful, take a picture, write it down or even share it with a friend. It will help reinforce the practice.
Spend more time with people who care about you
Having healthy relationships with loved ones is one the best things for your overall health. So text your friends, connect with your loved ones and focus on building your community.
Longer Term Ways to Reduce Stress:
Set up boundaries in both work and life
This one is harder than it seems and everyone's situation is different. One thing that is true though is that your energy is sacred and something you deserve to preserve. Boundaries from work can be sharing that you have enough on your plate and cannot take on a new project right now.
Find a hobby you love
Your hobby can be anything you want it to be. It can be trying recipes, hiking, painting, knitting or even learning a new language. It is just something nice and calming for you.
Create an organizational system that works for you
This is a big one - organizing how you manage all the things that need to get done in a day can be empowering. Personally, I keep a planner and everyday write out my to-do list. I also have a separate calendar where I track my habits. Finding what works for you and staying consistent can help with the day-to-day stress of life.
Eat food that gives you energy
Eating foods that make you feel good and give you energy throughout the day should be prioritized. Foods that are satisfying and nourishing will help your overall mood as well. Foods that are yummy but make you feel tired or unwell are okay to have every once in a while.