It’s always hard to stay positive when summer ends, the busy season starts, leaves fall, and the temperature drops. Everything just immediately seems to feel overwhelming. We stress for any number of reasons: pressure from work, financial concerns, strains in our relationships, and many others. Studies have shown that stress wreaks havoc on your immune system, alters brain functioning, and can also disrupt your sleep schedule and lead to dementia later in life. But have no fear, there are tons of tips and tricks to combat stress, it’s just about finding what works for you. This list should help with all types of stress and its triggers, so rest easy, breathe deeply, and read on.
Stay Down To Earth
Stress often has a snowball effect. Your bills were due yesterday, the check engine light came on in your car, you caught every red light on your way to the grocery store, and now the store clerk tells you your “$3 off” coupon expired yesterday. Don’t be that crazy bag lady starting a fight over $3, especially since you know it’s not about the 3 bucks at all. Stay down to earth and when you see things starting to pile up, seek productive tasks to accomplish. Even small successes like reorganizing the kitchen cabinet can give us purpose and keep us feeling on top of our game – even if we’re not. Keep accomplishing things regardless of your shortcomings and you will feel much more in control of the issues and obligations causing you stress.
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Get Some Air
Even medical science has boasted the effectiveness of some good old fashioned fresh air. Obviously if we had all day to sit in the park, our lives would not be nearly as stressful. But while you’re on the go, appreciate the fullness and crispness of outdoor air. It will make you feel much less suffocated during those overtime hours in the office, or stuck in the stuffy school board room at the PTA meeting.
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Don’t Overload Your Day Planner
One of the quickest ways to stress yourself out is to take on too many tasks per day, every day of the week. Be practical. You’re not wearing a cape. Prioritize your obligations, and have some help on-hand as a backup – spouse, best friend, babysitter – anyone who can pick up some slack for you in a pinch by picking the kids up from lacrosse practice, returning that Redbox movie before they charge you, or picking up your dry cleaning before they sell it. Nobody’s perfect and your loved ones would rather help you than watch you struggle. You spend a lot of time helping others, it’s okay for others to help you sometimes.
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Creating boundaries can help you balance your many different roles and obligations. Don’t keep your work phone glued to your hand while at home on evenings and weekends. Obviously there are exceptions, but anytime you help it, save work for the office. We’re guessing your boss isn’t revising reports, answering emails, and baking cookies for the school bake sale tomorrow all at the same time at 2 AM. Nothing in your employment contract says you have to either. ALso, let the babysitter manage your kids while you’re paying him or her to manage your kids. Calling every half hour is not a break. We know you love them, but you may also love the sound of your own thoughts on occasion.
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Find Your “Goosfraba”
Different things inspire different people. Find that “push” that drives you and lean on it when you feel your sanity slipping away. Whether it be your powerhouse boss boasting faith in you, your spouse reminding you all that you do, your best friend making jokes out of the negative energies in your life, or your kid telling you you’re the best. They may not know how to tie their shoes yet, but they sure are right about a few things. Find something positive in your life you can always resort to before losing your cool.
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Even if you were never a varsity athlete, sweating out stress is a great way to replenish the mind, body, and soul. Scientists agree that the endorphins released during physical activity can banish anxiety, and make you feel much more optimistic by flooding your brain with happy hormones. Exercise can also increase blood flow and relieve stiff muscles. If the idea of intense physical activity intimidates you, take up yoga, or take some time in the mornings and evenings to stretch away the day’s tension.
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Emphasize Fun As Much As Work
You break your back to get all the necessities done. Push yourself to complete one more task each day: something for yourself. Rent a new book from the library, play with your kids, play with your dog, buy some bubble bath, rent a funny movie, get coffee with a friend, call the sitter and go out with your better half. Whatever it is that you do for fun, make time for it, and don’t feel guilty about it. Neglecting yourself of creature comforts and small pleasures decreases productivity, lowers health, and actually increases stress.
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Detoxify Your Life
Banish negative energies. Tell that toxic person in your life that you’re not free for the foreseeable future. Ignore the sharks in your office and don’t let them deter you from the great work that you do. Fire the babysitter that relentlessly raids your pantry and uses your long distance minutes. Most people generate negative energy when they are feeling it themselves. Break the cycle and be the envy of your peers by rocking positive vibes, no matter what is on your mind.
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Plan A Vacation
Psychologists and social workers say that planning a vacation, even far in the future, can relieve the stresses of right now. Seeing a reward come to fruition helps refocus your energies now, and inspires you to work for something. It is easier to work hard when you know of a time later that you will be playing hard. Pressed for cash? Groupon and LivingSocial have tons of great bargains in your area. Grab a friend and start adventuring!
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