We live in a stressful world. These days, many of us are expected to work longer hours for less pay. When we finish our workday, it’s not time to relax yet. We still have to cook dinner, clean up, take the dog for a walk, help the kids with their homework, and more.
When you’re finally done doing everything, it’s time to go to bed just so you can wake up and do it all over again the next day. For many of us, we wait until we have time to give ourselves some down time and self-care, but by the time all of our obligations are taken care of, we don’t have the time, energy or motivation to do much of anything at all.
Here are 7 strategies you can use to help you minimize the stress in your life.
Not all stress is bad. We experience stress because it is actually useful. A little bit of stress keeps you motivated to get things done. Stress can also help keep you alert and being alert helps you avoid danger.
However, too much stress can have both emotional and physical consequences. So what can you do to help reduce the stress in your life?
Consider these ideas:
- Get more sleep. This is easier said than done, but getting more sleep helps a lot when it comes to reducing stress.
- If you’re only sleeping five hours a night, simply going to bed three hours earlier probably won’t do the trick. Try going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier for a few nights. If that works for you, do it again until you are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Find some other ways to relax. Take a little “me time” whenever possible. Try these activities to help you relax:
- Go for a walk
- Find a hobby
- Listen to music
- Get more exercise. When you exercise vigorously, your body releases endorphins which are hormones that make you feel good.
- Exercising also helps you release pent-up energy and physical exertion makes you tired and will help you relax.
- Get organized. If you start your day by making a plan and sticking to it, you’ll eliminate a lot of stress. Being pulled in a lot of different directions is very stressful, but when you stick to your plan, you can get things done by breaking them down into small, manageable pieces.
- Set giant yet realistic goals. Sounds counter intuitive but it’s not. If you set goals that are difficult or impossible to achieve, you’ll be creating more stress for yourself. However, when you can achieve your goals and cross things off your to-do list, you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. So how do you have big goals without too much stress? Don’t eliminate huge goals and dreams at all, just break them down into more manageable chunks.
- Seek support. Simply getting something off your chest can give you a tremendous amount of relief and it’s much better than keeping things bottled up inside. Be careful who you seek support from though; although well intentioned, the wrong type of support from someone who either doesn’t understand or has their own agenda can cause more harm than good.
- Say no more often. We often have a case of what I call “yes and no confusion.” We say yes to the things that pull us away from our values, needs and self-care which leaves us saying no to the things that bring us joy, passion and purpose. Saying no to things that stress, drain and deplete you allow you more time to say yes to you.
If you’re dealing with stress in your life, you’re not alone. However, try at least one of these tips to minimize your stress and start living a more relaxing and enjoyable life.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute