Chronic stress causes problems in every area of life, not the least of which is physical sickness and mental exhaustion. Many people’s depression and/ or anxiety can be traced to chronic high levels of stress. We live in a face-paced and complex world with more stressors than ever. The problem is that people who are stressed out don’t feel they have the time to do anything about it- and so the stress gets worse and worse.
When you honestly have very little time to take a step back from life and take care of yourself, you need to get creative about carving out peaceful moments throughout each day. Prioritize and simplify wherever you can, because as the old adage says, if you don’t take time to be well now, you will certainly take time to be sick later. While you’re figuring out how to cut some things out (!), here are some simple strategies you can implement today to de-stress:
- Turn off the noise when you drive. It can be hard to find time to set aside to meditate. So don’t set aside time, use time you already have. Turn off the radio and don’t answer the phone in the car. That is time that you can use to deep breathe, meditate, and calm your mind throughout the day. Will just ten minutes here and there make a difference? YES! Studies show that even five minutes of mindfulness meditation can allow you to access tranquility, lower stressful feelings, and create more focus.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier. Ok so you’re tired. But the difference 15 minutes more of sleep will make is really not noticeable in your day after you’ve gotten up. However, 15 minutes of leisure time in the morning to enjoy breakfast, engage in spiritual behaviors, or do some jumping jacks (whatever floats your boat!) can make all the difference in your mood. You will feel like you got a little me time and will roll with stress a little bit better.
- Aromatherapy. Make your workspace, your home space, your car, etc. smell comforting. Some people are calmed by the smell of lavender. Citrus makes me feel alive. Peppermint can be invigorating. Aromatherapy research has shown that the right smell can lift mood, soothe nerves, and relieve stress. After the initial candle or oil purchase, this stress reducer takes no time out of your day.
- Make a de-stress playlist. Music is a powerful mood-changer. Keep a playlist of songs that remind you of happy memories, carefree times, that have soothing melodies and positive associations. When you are doing busy work or cleaning the house, let the music “take you away” mentally. So much of our stress is increased or decreased based on attitude and thoughts. Music can be a great ally to keep your thoughts positive.
- Brighten someone’s day. Give compliments, validate others, notice their good work. What you give out will come back to you! Nothing feels as good as lifting others. Positivity can make all the difference!
These five ideas can help anyone, but were made with people who feel like they don’t have an extra minute in the day. However, that in and of itself is a problem!! Chronic stress can be debilitating in every way. If you find yourself unable to simplify or say no to commitments, meeting with a therapist to discuss your stress can be a literal life-saver. Give us a call!
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