Ironically – the day after the 2020 election in the United States is also Stress Awareness Day. You can read more about it HERE.
Most people think of going on vacation as the primary way to alleviating stress. You detach from your environment, you slow down, you rest, you allow yourself to catch up. It’s important, ESPECIALLY NOW, to not wait until vacation to alleviate your stress. After all – now that we are aware of it on “Stress Awareness Day”, why not practice the resources we have to take the edge off a bit and make life seem manageable again?
What exactly is Stress?
For many reasons, this has been a stressful year for most humans. I am sure we are well aware of our stress so it is good to be reminded what resources you have at your disposal to alleviate some of that anxiety, angst, and stress. Stress creates dis-ease in your physiology which leads to…you guessed it –> disease. Keeping ourselves balanced, grounded or even-keeled is essential to our physical health AND it helps to create more room for joy!
From the Cleveland Clinic: Stress is the body’s response to a challenge or demand. Everyone experiences stress, which can be triggered by a range of events, from small daily hassles to major changes like a divorce or job loss. The stress response includes physical components such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, thoughts, and personal beliefs about the stressful event, and emotions, including fear and anger.
Top 10 Ways to Alleviate Stress
Here are my top 10 way that can be used to help create as much zen in your life as you desire.
- Eat for nutrition, not for suppression. I struggle with this one, but I do know that when I make healthier choices in what I put into my body, my outlook is better, my energy level is higher, my stress level is lower.
- Move your body. Exercise, dance, take a bike ride, or take a hike.
- Mind dump. Capture all of your thoughts on paper or in a Word Doc. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes, write your thoughts with no attention paid to spelling, grammar, or syntax, and get all of your thoughts out of your mind space. Come back to it later if you need to retrieve some thoughts or simply throw it away and never look back.
- Practice Meditation. Even 5 minutes will be beneficial.
- Light a candle. This is magical for me to refocus my intentions.
- Listen to soothing music. Let the calm therapeutic tones ease your stress.
- Practice Yoga. If nothing else, you will slow down, stretch, and connect to your breath, thereby recentering.
- Cut out the caffeine. Stress is already a stimulant. You don’t need anything more to excite you.
- Reach out to someone you trust. It could be family, friend, mental health provider, clergy member, mentor, trusted advisor, or your doctor – the point is to reach out.
- Remove yourself from your immediate environment. I usually take a nap in order to accomplish this, but you could physically leave the place your in for a few minutes. Creating physical space between you and whatever is upsetting you often offers clarity.
Please note that if you are experiencing feelings stronger than “typical” stress, please seek out medical attention. If you need recommendations for a counselor, reach out to your primary care’s office and they will be able to recommend someone to you. You are valued and important. Stress can be alleviated by the above methods. Anxiety and depression can also be treated but most effectively under a mental health professional’s care. You deserve to be well!
You also deserve to be stress-free – even for just a little bit. It is so important to our stability and life balance if we can create pockets of bliss or micro vacations. I would love to hear which of these resources work for you!