Got it…De-stress to be your best. Sounds good. You know you should.
Now, how exactly does that happen?
Honestly, how do you “de-stress” when your very busy, very demanding real life provides very little time or encouragement to follow the advice of those seemingly unrealistic headlines?
Moreover, how do you get past the feeling that all this advice to “stop stressing” feels like just another box to check on your to-do list?
First, take a deep breath.
Sometimes we forget the basics when we have so much on our plates.
Learning to control your breath rate and oxygen intake helps you stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, the system engaged when you rest. This assures you will feel calmer.
Then, take just a few moments to ask yourself how you’re doing. Before you immediately say “okay”, decide to really consider your answer and tell yourself the truth.
Are your shoulders by your ears? Does your mind rest or ever really quiet down? Are your emotions easily triggered?
If you’re nodding your head, you may not be “okay.” You’re probably stressed.
Stress pumps stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, through your brain and body. And if it that pumps operates all the time, you’re going to have some real problems with focus, motivation, your health, relating to others, and eventual burnout.
Turn off the constant flow of stressful thinking and interaction. Bring back streams of comfort and balance.
How? Here are a few tips to help you soothe yourself and be your best:
1. Take better breaks
In this technological age, it seems as though have lost the sense of what it means to “get away from it all.” Many of us find it difficult to completely unplug. We’re anxious when we can’t be available to the notifications, alerts, and vibrating signals that seem to run our world now.
It’s hard to break free and really sink into a long bubble bath, delve into a good book, or enjoy a wandering bike ride without succumbing to the pull of our glowing screens.
It’s hard. But it’s not impossible. Keep trying. Use the power off button. Soothe your mind and spirit by not giving up on unplugged relaxation. Practice makes perfect.
2. Moving is soothing
When you’re stressed, you may long for a lounge chair on the beach or a hammock in the backyard. Stress wears you out, it’s no wonder you want to sleep. That’s good, you do need to rest. However, try 30 minutes of movement first.
Why? Stress-related health problems like digestive trouble, headaches, and nervous system challenges improve with a daily dose of physical activity.
A routine flood of feel-good neurotransmitters will soothe your system when you take long walk, spend some time swimming, or exercise at the gym. The boost to your brain, immune system, and spirits improve mental clarity and reduces bodily strain.
There are also long-term calming benefits appropriate hydration and a coordinating well-balanced diet that pave the way for feeling revitalized and refreshed following activity.
3. Listen to yourself
The stress you feel may have a lot to do with the internal chatter happening in your head. If frustration and overwork lead to self-criticism, negative thought patterns, and perfectionism, you’re probably not treating yourself with a lot of self-compassion.
Consider what you tell yourself routinely. Are you stressing yourself out with comparisons, ruminations, and self-inflicted pressure?
Learn to slow down and notice your inner voice. Challenge the truth of your self-talk and automatic responses. The more intentional and aware you become, the better you’ll be at replacing negative chatter with self-supporting encouragement. Seeking out relationships with people who support you too.
4. Reach out and touch
Healthy human contact is a highly effective antidote to stress relief. Whether you schedule a regular massage or insist on a daily bear hug from your partner, don’t underestimate the power of intentional touch.
Stress tends to isolate and irritate. It keeps you moving too quickly to connect or makes you too moody to want to. Intentionally reaching out for a few moments, and enjoying a positive, accepting response, soothes and shifts your perspective.
Touch reopens your world again to the people you care about and invites you to connect beyond your own stressful insecurities and circumstances.
5. Live in the here and now
“No time like the present” isn’t just a cliche, it’s a reminder of the only time you really have. In truth, the stress and anxiety you feel likely to arise out of concerns that are future or past-oriented.
A lot of stress falls away when you only take control only of what is occurring now. Tell yourself the truth about how you want to and are able to spend the next moment.
Do you need sleep? Get it.
Is your partner in need of attention? Give it.
Have you been longing to build a business? Take the first step.
Don’t get ahead of yourself or mired in the past. Stay present and keep your peace instead of sacrificing it to past regret or worry about tomorrow.
Most of all, recognize that stress needn’t be a constant companion. Seek support.
Don’t wait until you’re worn out to try and turn things around. Admit that you’re too stressed to be your best. Don’t add shame to your list of stressors. It’s okay to need help.
Make an appointment with your physician, schedule time with your therapist. Take care of yourself.
Meet the needs of your mind, body, and soul. Live well, be well, and fully embrace what comes next.