How do you manage stress? Are you taking enough time for self-care? Self-care doesn’t always come easy for us because of so many commitments and obligations. If you struggle with working self-care into a busy schedule, here’s a quick reboot to get you started and manage your stress with five simple self-care tips.
Our lives are super busy. We feel overwhelmed and anxious. We multi-task, jam more errands in than we can manage and are forever adding to our to-do lists. It’s crazy.
Trying to do All The Things, all of the time, isn’t only impossible. It’s harmful. Sooner or later, it takes a toll on your mental and emotional well-being, and your physical body, too.
Health-wise, stress can initiate chemical reactions in your body. Continuous stress can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system.
I can always tell when I’m overcome with stress. I’m irritable, tired and incredibly unfocused. If stress becomes too bad, I get sick. It’s my body’s way of dealing with stress. I can look back on my career and pinpoint the most stressful periods. Those were the times I came down with strep infections.
But continual stress can lead to way worse problems than strep throat. Ongoing stress can ultimately lead to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Managing Stress with Self-Care
When we take the time and make the effort to take care of ourselves, it makes a difference. Sure, we talk about self-care, but how many of us actually practice it? We should strive to make more time for self-care, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there.
If we proactively manage stress with self-care, then we can help avoid major blow-ups from stress build-up. I’ve been there. So many times.
Once, I was so stressed that I slammed my laptop shut at work. Hard. When I went to reboot the laptop….nothing. It was dead. I told the IT Department that it just stopped working. I’m pretty sure they didn’t believe me, but they were cool guys, so they didn’t rat me out.
Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until you feel like slamming your computer to deal manage your stress. Implement self-care. Now.
5 Self-Care Tips to Help Manage Stress
1. Practice Gratitude
There are so many good things to be grateful for, but when life gets crazy, it becomes hard to see them. Just remember: there is always something to be grateful for.
Make gratitude a regular practice by creating a list of all the great things in your life. Even if you don’t write the items down, just simply run through a list in your head. It makes a difference and can certainly help calm you down when you’re stressed.
Try to start each day by focusing on just one simple thing that brings you peace, comfort, or joy. If you’re struggling, start with something like the sunrise or a blue sky. Take a look at nature. Think about something that’s made you smile or laugh recently.
2. Get Physical
Exercise can increase the production of endorphins which are your brain’s feel-good chemicals. I’m not always spot on with consistency, but I do try to hit the gym at least three times a week. I also get out and take the dog for a walk when it’s nice out.
Moving your body is a great way to de-stress. And when you don’t feel like it, just remind yourself that you are able to exercise, and to be grateful for that. That usually gets me going when I’m feeling unmotivated.
3. Breathe (and Reboot)
Slow and deep breathing is one a great way to lower stress. Deep breaths signal our brains to become calm and relax. If you find yourself getting really getting worked up, sit or lie down and take a few minutes to “breathe it out.” Often, about ten slow, deep breaths can usually do the trick.
4. Laugh – Because It’s the Best Medicine
Similar to exercise, laughter increases the release of endorphins and generates a sense of well-being. It also lowers stress hormones and strengthens your immunity. Try looking up some of the funnier online personalities online. Or look at cat videos. That works, too. 😊
Finally, a journal can be a good source of stress relief. Whether you write about gratitude, or your feelings, or just whatever comes to mind, getting your feelings and emotions out has many benefits. In fact, sometimes when I’m upset, I just sit down and write and write and write. It doesn’t even have to make sense.
Incorporating any of these 5 simple habits into your routine can help you relieve stress and improve your health and well-being. Pick one to try today.
If you’re interested in stress-alleviating foods, check out this post.
What’s your favorite stress reliever? Let me know in the comments.