To say that I have been a little stressed over the past few months would be an understatement. Between planning a wedding, getting prepared to move, working two jobs, keeping up with the constant housework, and trying to squeeze in time with my loved ones has left me feeling stretched a little thin.
It is during these times that it’s so important to step back and remember that this season will pass soon enough, and I need to enjoy these moments because I will never get them back. Yes, it is busy and chaotic and STRESSFUL, but learning how to manage the stress is key to finding some balance through the busy! Today, I want to focus on my top stress management tips.
- Get moving!
Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood and make you feel better in general. Spending hours at the gym is not the only way to get your body moving. Almost any form of physical activity can help relieve stress and melt away frustration. To experience maximum stress-relieving benefits, you should strive for 30 minutes (or more) a day of active exercise. If this is too much for you, start small and work your way up. Spend 10 minutes doing speed bursts, such as sprints, jump rope, or just chasing after your kids! Once this becomes easy, add a little more time each day. You can also add in little “hacks” throughout the course of the day to sneak in some exercise, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking your car at the edge of the lot instead of the first available space you see. You will be amazed at the added energy and more positive mind frame you develop!
Once you have incorporated physical activity into your daily lifestyle, try taking on a regular exercise routine. Walking, running, bike riding, swimming, Zumba (or other dance classes), and various aerobic and/or HIIT classes are great choices for beginners. Make sure to pick a routine that you enjoy doing so that you will be sure to stick with it for the long term. If you dread your exercise time each day, you are not helping to manage your stress level. Once you find that “soulmate” workout (for me, it is weight lifting!), you will find that you are more confident, happier, and less stressed overall.
- Find a support system
I absolutely do not know what I would do without my group! My wonderful circle of family and friends are there to raise my spirits, lift me up when I am down, and speak words of life and encouragement into me when I feel defeated. Sometimes, just having someone to listen to your pain points and problems helps to lighten the load of the burden you have been bearing.
Often times when we are stressed, we find that we isolate ourselves, making stress much worse. Be sure to continue building relationships and stay connected to your support system during these times:
- Have a girl’s night!
- Meet for a coffee chat
- Go see a movie or attend a free concert to get your mind off the matter at hand
- Call a dear friend
- Schedule weekly “dates” with your spouse/significant other
- Try a new fitness/art/dance class
Some of my favorite ways to engage with my “inner circle” is to meet for coffee on a week night with my girls, go out for Mexican food with a best friend, spend quality time with my family, and spend lazy movie nights with my fiancé! 😉
- Learn how to say “no”
Ok, so I admit – My name is Rachel, and I have a problem saying “no.” I always have. I am one of those “people pleasers” that does my best to be accommodating to everyone and everything and help everyone and on, and on, and on….
Taking on more than you can handle is a guaranteed way to add stress to your life – and can be easily avoided. Know your limits and do not stray from them. I love to repeat this phrase when I am wondering whether or not it is time to slow down: “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” If you are running on empty, you cannot do anything to the best of your ability. Remove some things off you plate and do not take on more than you can reasonably do at one time. Invest in a planner and schedule out your days. That way, you know exactly how much time you need to do each task and how much time you will have left over in each day. Eliminating the feeling of being overwhelmed will immediately reduce your stress level.
- “There is a bright side to everything”
My family and friends have heard me say this time and time again, but it is so true. If you look for the bright side in every situation, it makes it much easier to handle. Challenging times will inevitably come our way, but looking for the opportunities for personal development and growth will better equip us when dealing with the same situation in the future. Learn from any mistakes made and move on. Sometimes our choices have nothing to do with the stressful situations in our lives, but we should still take the time to reflect on them and use them as a lesson learned.
- Take some time for YOU!
As women, we are so concerned with taking care of the people around us, we forget to take time for ourselves. Self-care should be an essential part of our daily lives, especially when we need to alleviate stress. If you are not taking proper care of yourself, you cannot expect to take proper care of anyone else. Schedule your “me” time, even if it is only 10 minutes a day. Go for a walk, take a hot bath, appreciate a warm cup of coffee, watch your favorite TV show, read a chapter of a good book, listen to music – anything that brings you joy and allows you to relax and recharge.
In addition to scheduling your “me” time, make sure that healthy habits are part of your self-care routine. Eat a healthy diet full of real, whole foods and get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
I hope you find these tips helpful and you are able to use them to eliminate some stress in your own life! Remember, you only get one life to live – make the most of it!