8 Tips for Reducing Stress
In many situations, stress is an unavoidable factor of modern life.
Between work, your family, any hobbies you may have, and all the other things you need to get done in a day, it can easily feel as if you’ve got an overwhelming amount of items on your to-do list.
While some stress is completely normal, constantly feeling burnt-out and overwhelmed can quickly impact your health.
Stress can make you more susceptible to headaches, back and neck pain, and short-term illnesses. When left unchecked, it can even create long-term problems.
If you’re looking for ways to combat stress in your daily life, here are 8 things you can do today:
When you’re busy and stressed out, getting to the gym can be difficult. It’s just one more thing on your to-do list, and doesn’t take priority.
But getting some exercise every day, even mild exercise, can boost endorphins and lead to decreased stress.
Not only can exercise help you decrease overall stress, working out is a great way to deal with a rough day. Rather than going home and eating a bunch or drinking, hitting the gym for a good sweat session can put things into perspective and get your day back on the right track.
When everything feels as if it’s spinning out of control, sometimes it’s best to just sit quietly and breathe.
Meditation doesn’t have to be lengthy or fancy or “right” to work for reducing stress. Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes each day, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed, can help reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, helping you be prepared to fully tackle the day ahead of you.
The key to meditation is not mood lighting or the “right” mantra; it’s simply letting go of any thoughts that pop into your head.
Do your best to empty your mind. You will have thoughts but instead of dwelling on them and following where they take you, let them go. Breathe deeply and do your best to relax all the muscles in your body.
Have you ever been at home after a stressful day trying to relax when a notification dings on your phone, increasing your stress again?
Shutting off all electronic devices for a weekend – or just an evening if you’re worried about really missing something – can do wonders for decreasing your stress.
Sure, you may check your phone every so often at first, only to realize that it’s off, but after awhile you may find you feel better when it’s not on. Your phone-free times may extend from evenings to entire days to entire weekends.
For best de-stressing results, shut down all electronics – TV, computers, tablets, etc. – and not just your phone.
When you’re stressed, the temptation to eat whatever’s close at hand is strong. Often, that’s the fattiest, greasiest, most sugary food around, and we skip over the fresh fruits and vegetables or lean proteins.
However, eating too much junk food can increase cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. So, that junk food binge can add to your stressed-out feelings instead of helping you feel better.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet is not only good for your waistline, it’s good for your overall stress levels.
The more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains you eat, the better you’ll feel and the better equipped you’ll be to manage stress.
And don’t forget to wash all that food down with plenty of plain water!
Yes, a busy season at the office or a huge life change may cause you to lose quite a bit of sleep.
But getting the correct amount of sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help manage your stress levels. When you’re tired, little things are more likely to get under your skin, causing your stress levels to rise.
Try adding just 30 minutes of sleep per night, increasing every few days until you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
When added in these smaller chunks, it’s less noticeable in your schedule and to your internal rhythms, making you less likely to lie awake in bed for hours.
We know you love your morning cup of coffee, but do you really need the three follow-up cups?
Caffeine increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which can increase those feelings of stress and panic when you’re having a rough day.
Reducing your caffeine intake, especially at times when you’re feeling stressed out, can help curb the feelings of overwhelm looking at your task list.
Journaling doesn’t have to just be sitting down and writing page after page about your thoughts and feelings.
It can be as simple as noting down information about a stressor so you can notice patterns, or writing one line about your day.
Putting your thoughts, especially negative thoughts, on paper can be incredibly therapeutic and help you better plan and organize your life. Regular journaling can decrease stress and overwhelm and even help you achieve your goals.
If you don’t have time or don’t want to get into the long-winded journaling, simply stopping to write down times you feel stressed or overwhelmed can be helpful.
In a notebook or even on your desk calendar, note the time, how the stress makes you feel, the reason if you can identify it, and what you can do to decrease the stress.
Looking at these patterns can help you identify whether your stressors can be avoided or decreased, helping you better manage your stress over time.
While this is the hardest idea on this list, it’s also the most important.
You don’t have to commit to everything that comes your way. This is especially true if you’re already feeling overwhelmed at your current level of commitments. Adding one more thing can tip you from being slightly stressed to not being able to function.
Before you add a new commitment, ask whether you actually need or want to add that commitment. This could be that you’ve got an ailing family member who can’t afford other care, you want to join a new organization, or your job may be on the line if you say no.
If the answer isn’t an emphatic “yes,” then you need to say no to the commitment.
There will always be things vying for your time and there will be more opportunities to say yes to similarly interesting ideas down the road. Just because you pass something up now doesn’t mean you’re passing it up forever.
Experienced Chiropractic Care in Frederick, MD
Stress is one of the leading causes of back and neck pain, as well as headaches. With the help of an experienced chiropractor at Lipinski Chiropractic and some stress relief techniques, you can get feeling great again shortly.
Does pain rule your life? Schedule an appointment today!