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Everyday life can be stressful. Whether it’s wondering how to pay the bills this month or trying to figure out how to find time to cook dinner that night — these everyday stresses can add up quick and take a toll on our souls. Finding ways to reduce stress in our lives is super important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While we cannot eliminate stress altogether, there are a number of things we can do to reduce its reach in our lives. Below you will find the six tips that I’ve found to be a huge help in my life.
Six Tips to Reduce Stress In Your Life
1. Carve Out Time for You
Time to ourselves is often the first thing we sacrifice when life gets busy and things get stressful. It’s hard to justify taking time out when stressful things are happening around us, but that is exactly when we need to do this the most. Make time for you to be alone every, single, day. This is not work time. It’s not catch up with a friend time. This is not fold the laundry time. This is time for YOU and you alone. Do something you enjoy doing.
- read good books for pleasure
- craft or scrapbook
- take a walk
- sip a cup of tea, coffee, or wine, and just revel in the quietness and the enjoyment of the moment.
The time you take doesn’t have to be long (aim for at least 15 minutes) but it does have to be focused on you. Only you!
When our souls and spirits are nurtured and cared for we’re better equipped, emotionally, to deal with what life throws our way.
2. Ditch the Electronics
We spend so much time being ‘connected’ to everyone and the things around us, we’re in an almost constant state of stimulation. As bloggers, we’re plugged into all sorts of social media apps, networking apps, and communication apps. Chances are your phone or tablet (or both) is chiming frequently throughout the day.
Distractions like this can take away time needed for other things, in turn, this can cause us to fall behind or to feel overwhelmed by the mounting list of things we need to finish or deal with. It adds to our stress, not helps us manage it.
Make time each day to unplug. Turn off your phone! Put down the tablet! Walk away from the computer! Yes, that means laptops and e-readers, too! Give yourself a break from the screen for at least 30 minutes, an hour would be even better. Pair your unplug time with some alone time or family time and really focus on not having any distractions.
If you can’t turn off your devices try turning off notifications. Set aside time to deal with social media and all the rest and allow yourself a break from being constantly connected.
3. Create Routines
Routines are a wonderful way to help reduce the stress in our lives. Whether it’s a morning routine that makes getting out the door easier each morning, a cleaning routine that helps us maintain our homes efficiently, or a work routine that keeps our days moving smoothly, having that set of tasks we do without thinking really helps to reduce our stress levels. Routines free up thinking space so we’re not wasting brain power on deciding what to do next. They are also the things that we can fall back on when life hands us a basket full of stress and we’re not sure which way is up or down. Having routines in place that we can rely on to keep things moving for us is a great comfort in times of stress.
4. Exercise Daily
It’s a proven fact that exercise helps reduce and alleviate stress. It can be hard to fit in the time to get exercise, but it’s important for us. Not just to help reduce stress but to keep us healthy. There are so many options for fitting in exercise into your daily routine, we really don’t have an excuse for not doing it. You don’t need a membership to the gym and you don’t need to follow a strict fitness routine. All you need to do is get up and move each day. Here are some suggestions for fitting a little exercise into your day.
- Walking – Walk the kids to school. Not only will you avoid those annoying carpool lines, you’ll be setting a great example for your kiddos. If you live too far away from the school for this to be feasible, drive part of the way and walk the rest of the way. If you homeschool, plan a walking route around the neighborhood and go for a walk each morning. Don’t have kids? Try walking to work, or arrive at your workplace early enough to get a 20-minute walk in before you have to start. Work from home or are a stay-at-mom/wife? Make a morning walk part of your daily routine.
- Yoga – Is a great way to start or end the day. Or even take a break part way through the day. While it might not get the heart pumping (depending on the type of yoga you’re doing) the movement and breathing will help calm a stressed mind. Take classes or find some yoga videos online to follow.
- Dance – Crank the tunes and dance! You can do this while tidying up the house, mopping the floor, vacuuming, or anything else. Take a couple breaks throughout your day to just tune out the world and let the music get you moving. Make it a game with the kids or do it when no-one is watching. Turn this into you time (see above) and use headphones and shut the door to your room.
- Team Up With a Friend – Everything is better with a friend! See if any of your friends want to go walking, running, biking, rollerblading or even dancing with you. Having someone depend on you being there adds in a little extra accountability.
5. Get Romantic With Your Spouse
This is one of the most important relationships in your life, and the bond you share with your spouse can pull you through the most stressful of times, but it can also help you reduce your stress on a daily basis. It’s important to our spiritual and emotional health to make time to nurture this relationship, and it’s a wonderful way to escape the real world for a little while. Think back to that first blush of romance, do you remember how you felt? Free! Happy! Like nothing could get you down! Those feelings are still there.
Taking time for romance is a wonderful way to reduce your stress levels. Whether you head out for date night or stay in and snuggle, spend some alone time with your other half.
- Share quiet conversation over coffee.
- Take a walk and hold hands.
- Laugh together.
- Cry together.
And since we’re all adults here, don’t skip the bedroom intimacy and don’t undervalue its importance in your life. Not only is it essential for a healthy relationship, but it’s also a great way to alleviate stress if you know what I mean.
6. Say No and Say it Often
I often think the most stress inducing word in our vocabulary is the word YES. On the flip side, the word NO is very freeing. Think about it – every time you say yes to doing one thing, you’re adding one or more things to your to-do list, and isn’t that list long enough? If you’re like me and have a hard time saying no, set clear boundaries for yourself. Ask yourself some questions to help you decide whether it’s worth saying yes to, or whether it will just add more stress into your life.
- Is this going to help you reach your goals?
- Is this important to you?
- Is this important to your family?
- What will you have to give up to do it?
- Do you honestly have the time to do it?
Setting clear boundaries for yourself will help you be better equipped to say no, without feeling guilty. The more you say no the easier it gets, and when you do say yes, you can say it knowing that you’re not overloading yourself.
No matter what we do, or how hard we try, stress is just a part of life. Some stress is even good for us. It is the excess stress that we feel each day that can be very detrimental to our health and happiness. By taking steps to reduce stress in our lives, we allow ourselves to breath, relax, and be better than we were before.
I would love to hear from you – how do you reduce or manage the stress in your life? Drop us a line in the comments below and keep this conversation going.
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