Are you feeling stressed? I am. Between trying to keep my 10 month old out of the emergency room (she gets into eeeeeverything!), living in an empty house for over a month while our worldly belongings travel across the world, trying to buy a house 8,000 miles away, and preparing to move to said house with a three week stop-off to visit my in-laws, I think “stressed” is an understatement.
The new year, with it’s lofty resolutions, can also add to anyone’s stress factor. How are you going to find more time (or money, or energy, or motivation) every day to accomplish what you set out to do? The key is to identify causes of stress and identify ways to alleviate those cortisol inducers.
Causes of stress:
– major life changes
-trouble at work/finding work
-overcommitting to activities or obligations
-negative attitude (yours or that of someone you interact with regularly)
-health concerns (unfortunately, stress can lead to more medical concerns, including hypertension, weight-gain, heart disease, depression, skin problems, stomach and digestion issues, and on and on and on)
Ways to alleviate stress:
– Avoid unnecessary stress. Do you really have to be on that committee, take on that extra project at work, go to that 8th holiday party, have coffee with that Debbie Downer?
– Stop procrastinating. If you keep putting off a daunting task, it will continue to stress you out. The relief you feel when you can check that looming item off your to-do list will be glorious.
– Find your inner focus daily. Whether you meditate in the afternoon sunlight, complete a bible devotion before the kids wake up, write in your journal before bed, or commune with nature after work, do something that encourages you to look inward and find a peace within you that can shield you from external stressors.
– Eat better. Processed foods will drag you down. Fatty, greasy meals from the drive through may seem like a stress free solution, but when your body isn’t being fueled properly, you can’t function at your peak. I’m not telling you to completely overhaul your diet, but if you make one significant change each month this year, and keep it moving forward, you will be a clean eating, well fueled machine by Christmas.
– Exercise. Research has proven time and time again that exercise will help you relieve stress. It may be a solitary run before work, or a high-tempo spin class after lunch, but getting your blood pumping and your endorphins flowing WILL lower your stress levels and help you feel better prepared to conquer the stressors you still have to deal with.
– Get more sleep. We all know how useless we are when we’re sleep deprived. Sleeping until noon on the weekend won’t help, either. Find out how much sleep your body needs every night and get it. DVR will keep Downtown Abbey for you until tomorrow. Go to bed!
I hope this list helps you on your path to becoming more relaxed and able to enjoy life.
How do you de-stress? Post your stress relievers in the comments.