Stress is ever-present in our day-to-day lives. Stress is our body and mind’s response to a demand or threat, a change in equilibrium. Stress happens to everyone. It is important to realize what areas are causing stress in life so that actions can be taken to remove the stressor. Too much stress can cause physical and mental health problems, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. While everyone handles stress differently, there are ways to help minimize the stress in your life. Here are some ways to de-stress:
The workplace is often a place of increased stress. Work stressors can come from supervisors, co-workers, people who report to you, deadlines, meetings or presentations. Since so much time is spent at work, sometimes it is also one of the best places to practice de-stressing activities:
1. Meditative Breathing – By noticing when your stress is building you can use meditative breathing to help decrease stress levels. Meditative breathing is the act of clearing things from your mind and focusing on your breathing. Doing this relaxes the body and mind, helping to realize just how busy the mind is, and taking a step back to focus on one task, breathing. By focusing on breathing stress levels will lower and the mind can be more focused on specific tasks once the meditation is complete. For more information on meditative breathing visit: http://www.how-to-meditate.org/breathing-meditations
2. Walking Around – At work, especially if you have a desk job, you can tend to get stuck sitting all day at the desk. While sitting at a desk all day bodies become sedentary, vision becomes strained, and muscles get tense. By getting up and taking a walk around it forces your muscles to release and shift, it lets your vision re-focus on objects further away, and it circulates blood more quickly through the body. When you notice a feeling of stress, muscle tension or eye strain, it is a great time to take a quick break to just walk around and come back to your workspace refreshed.
Another place of stress can be in your home. Finding ways to take stress out of home life has positive effects, both physically and mentally. Pay attention to the situations and time frames that cause the stress and work on those. Here are some examples of ways to decrease stress at home:
3. Scheduling – Often times mornings and dinner times are hectic. If you notice that you are always feeling crunched for time, there are ways to change your schedule and give yourself more time and less stress. These are ideas for helping reduce the stress around morning and dinnertime: pack your lunch at night so it is ready in the morning, pick out your clothing at night so that it is ready for the morning, make a weekly meal plan so that your groceries are purchased ahead of time and you are assured you have the ingredients you need for dinners, and wake up a few minutes earlier if you are consistently late by a specific amount of time. Anything you can do to create a routine and plan ahead of time will take stress away from your day-to-day home life.
Taking time out of your busy schedule and away from responsibilities to take care of yourself is one of the best ways to decrease stress. When you take time to focus on yourself you increase your self-confidence, improve your mood, and recharge your physical and emotional resources. Here are some ways to de-stress and practice self-care:
4. Do something you love – If you know there is something you love to do and have not made time for it, take time out of your schedule and do that thing! Oftentimes work and home life responsibilities become so hectic that people do not make time to do the things they love. When people make that time for them to do something they love their stress levels decrease. Whether it is painting, singing, writing, surfing, skiing, or watching movies, make time to do what you love.
5. Exercise – It is not fun for everyone to exercise. But exercise can reduce health risks and help decrease stress. Part of the challenge is to find an exercise you love and then it will not be a chore to do it. If you haven’t tried Yoga or Pilates, both are very mindful practices that engage muscles and focus on breathing, causing a decrease in stress. If you don’t love the gym, find something you do love. Find a local sports league you can join, try Yoga or Pilates, join a community pool, try something new and find something that works well and is de-stressing in your life.
6. Pamper yourself – Go get a massage, soak in a spa, or treat yourself to a pedicure. Whatever form of pampering that lowers your stress level will elevate your mood and decrease the health risks that come from stress. Treat yourself to something fun and relaxing.
Managing stress is very important for your physical and emotional well-being. Making stress-reduction a part of your life will benefit you greatly. Whether at home or at work, do what you can to create this essential time for you to de-stress.