Stress management always comes up for me in the fall. I think it’s a topic that comes up for many of us because stress is such a part of our daily lives. It wasn’t always like this.
When our ancestors felt stress when there was real danger. Maybe there was a tiger after you! Or maybe there was a tornado coming. The stress our ancestors felt was life and death.
Our bodies are designed to handle this kind of life or death situation with stress. The adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones) that run through your system when you are feeling stressed is designed to help our bodies fight or flight. Many of us feel stress every day in our current society but it isn’t the life threatening kind of stress. This type of stress is hard on a body. Eventually chronically elevated levels of stress hormones take a toll on a body. This can lead to burn out, adrenal fatigue, or depression. Stress management in our current society is essential.
5 easy ways to manage stress
Here are five very simple ways that you can reduce the stress that you feeling and your body’s response to it.
- Take yourself outside. There’s a body of evidence that show that simply looking at something green outside can reduce stress. Go to a park. Look out your window. If you work from home, make sure there is something beautiful to look at. Go for a walk. Go sit on your patio. Get some sunlight. I guarantee you, you will feel better in a matter of minutes.
- Set an appointment with yourself to relax. For most of us, our schedules are so busy that if we don’t actually schedule time to relax, it won’t happen. Many people find that even taking a break for five minutes over lunch can help. Many days I put my legs up the wall over my lunch hour for about five minutes. Another time that I work to protect is late evening. At 9 o’clock every night I shut everything down. I take an hour to do whatever I want: read, take a bath, watch a show on Netflix, write in my journal. I typically don’t answer text or email but occasionally I will enjoy catching up with a friend or family member at that time. By 9:30, my phone goes on airplane mode. That hour of rest and relaxation has literally changed my life. Try it! You deserve at least an hour a day to yourself. If you can’t find an hour to start with, start with what you have and don’t stress.
- Reframe how you see stress. Many times stress cause my overwhelm. We feel a huge sense of burden when we have a long to-do list. Break your list into sections. One section is for brainstorming and listing everything you have to do. The other section is things that must happen today. And on that list, limit the number of things that can go on it to 5 or 6. I started doing this because of my training with Mary Kay and it’s something I have stuck with – because it works! You will be amazed at how efficient and relaxed you’ll be. The first day you check after five or 6 most important things you might think it’s too easy and that there are not enough things on your to-do list. But it will be, because the next day, you take the 5 or 6 most important things from your brainstorm list and those become your new to-do list for tomorrow. You will go through your list surprisingly quickly.
- Spend time with people you love AND only do the social engagements you really want to do. Your cup will be filled by spending time with your people. You will have more to get back to the people that you left. You will feel more creative and fulfilled. It is time well spent! By the same token, be wiling to say “no” if you don’t feel like doing something, or are too tired to get together. Your friends will love and appreciate your honesty – because they know that when you DO get together with them it’s because you really want to!
- Give yourself a break. I don’t mean a little 5 minute break, although those are nice too. I mean be gentle with yourself and give yourself room to rest. Give yourself room to make mistakes. Give yourself room to not get it all done today. Be gentle with yourself. You’ll be glad you did!