The reality for most of us is that life, on some levels, contains quite a few reasons to be stressed.
Stress is the greatest thief of joy for so many of us.
It strips us of our right to enjoy the present because it always situates us somewhere between the past and the future. If we are not feeling stressed
about what has happened we are anticipating a stressful event in the future.
The reality for most of us is that life, on some levels, contains quite a few reasons to be stressed. Financial concerns, work deadlines and our children’s behaviour or well-being are just some of the daily stresses
that we can grow accustomed to experiencing.
So how can we de-stress when there are so many reasons to feel extremely overwhelmed
? Here are ten super easy and free ways to de-stress in the midst of a hectic life that gives us so many reasons to feel stress.
1. Pay attention to the media you are consuming. How many hours per week do you spend reading, watching and absorbing “bad news”. You can change that in an instant by choosing to read, watch and listen to something uplifting. Swap your morning paper or 9pm news for an interesting article or podcast.
2. Do you get enough time outdoors? It always takes some convincing but you will never regret a twenty minute stroll around the block or some time in the garden. Being amongst nature is powerful in reducing stress.
3. Are you eating your five a day? Research shows that a healthy diet is really beneficial for stress and a healthy mind. Choosing more fruit and vegetables will pay dividends for your mental health.
4. Sleep more. We would all love a middle of the day nap but for most of us that just isn’t possible. Getting to bed at an earlier time really is though. If you are not getting enough sleep you are more prone to a low mood and experiencing stress. Focus on getting good quality sleep, and more of it.
5. While your five a day is super important, so is a treat. Allowing yourself a little bit of what you fancy can be transformative. Some coffee and cake at your favourite cafe once a week can really give you a lift. OK so this one isn’t free but you can buy the cheaper brand of bread and milk this week and it’ll all balance out, right?
6. Spend less time with the people who drain you and negatively impact your mood. It could be the work colleague you sit beside at lunch or a family member you interact with a lot during the week. Limit that time, notice the way these interactions affect your stress levels and protect yourself from that as much as you can.
7. Having something to look forward to is really powerful when it comes to de-stressing. In the middle of a stressful situation or experience you can think ahead and look forward to something that is getting closer every day. A date night, spa treatment or holiday for example. Work hard and play harder.
8. Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned. Learning to stay in the present protects you from the stress of the future. There will always be uncertainties and things to feel worried about but worrying about them now tends to rob you of today’s joy. Just focus on the next twenty four hours.
9. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. These things can give a false “lift” and “high” that often leads to a crash or low afterwards. Everything in moderation – but make sure water is a priority. Dehydration can make us feel lethargic and even more prone to stress.
10. Get a notebook, diary and actually use them. I have had so many beautiful diaries over the years that I never used effectively. Having a good sense of organization takes away a huge amount of stress as you will always feel somewhat on top of things rather than wondering what you’ve forgotten about.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.