It might feel like stress is the price you have to pay for becoming an adult. Bills begin to come, jobs begin to take over, and your list of responsibilities will not stop growing. But you how more control over stress than you many think. There are a few things you can do each day to keep the stress level down. Not only will the benefit your state of mind, but it will also help you sleep better, lower blood pressure, and overall be healthier and happier.
An article from Girls Gone Strong gives us the perfect example that our bodies are like an assembly line. When one thing is out of whack, it messes up everything else. Although it takes time, stress can truly make everything in our bodies run less efficiently. Your body reacts to all stress in your life, big or small, the same. When this stress is continued for a prolonged period of time, your body begins to get fatigued and starts to run inefficiently. Most of the time this stress can be avoided if we simply stop sitting around stressing about what will happen tomorrow or even next week.
1.) What is stressing you out? This may sound cliché, but grab a sheet of paper and physically write down everything that is stressing you out. Then, next to each item on the list, whether it is money, kids, work, or school, figure out what you can control and what is beyond your control. For the things that you can control, write out a few solutions. For example, if money is something that is stressing you out write down “figure out a budget on Saturday before grocery shopping” or “get all bills organized on a spread sheet on Sunday”. Notice that all of these solutions have specific tasks and deadlines. If your stressor is something you cannot physically control, write down a way that you can efficiently deal with it (take into account a few of the below steps to help!). You may not be able to control what your boss does, something that happened in the past, or the state of the economy, but you can control how you react to it and not let it take you over.
2.) Learn to relax. When you feel yourself getting worked up, especially over something you cannot control take 10 deep breaths through your belly. They should last between 8-12 seconds. Try to do this before any stressful task to help clear your mind and calm your body.
Tip: Try waking up a little earlier to get a workout in before work. Studies have shown that morning workouts not only help boost your metabolism, but they help boost mental clarity and focus. Whether it is taking the dog for a 30-minute walk before breakfast, or a trip to the gym or workout class, any type of physical activity helps to release endorphins and reduce stress.
3.) Get rid of unnecessary stress. If you have children, you do not have to be the parent involved in every meeting and who runs the car-pool as well as each and every snack time. Step down, take a break, and let others step in and help coordinate car-pools, snacks, or even take over your spot in a school meeting. If you have a person in our life that only brings negativity, step back for a while to rethink the friendship. Prioritize every schedule and responsibility you have. The ones at the top are things you need to focus on and the ones at the bottom are things you need to drop!
4.) Be grateful. It’s stressful having to run from place to place every day to make a living while still managing to get at least 5 hours of sleep, kids off to school, and dinner on the table at night, but try changing the perspective of the situation. This takes time, and you cannot wake up one day looking at everything from a “glass half-full” perspective. Each day, look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day that went well or for which you’re grateful. Start from there and you will notice that your first list- list of stressors- will begin to dwindle down.