When you think about self-care, you probably think about things like getting your nails done, getting an extra hour of sleep, or going to the salon for a hair appointment. All of these things are great, don’t get me wrong, but there is one huge part of self-care that you might not be thinking about, and that is your stress. Each year, it seems like we are working harder and harder. The stress continues to go up, and it never gets addressed. I’m done with it – I truly believe that we need to figure out ways to easily reduce stress both now and long-term, as well. Finding ways to reduce stress is so important to both our physical and our mental health. It is something that helps us at work, when we are trying to sleep, in our relationships, and in every other situation that we will ever put ourselves in.
Stress is unfortunately a normal part of life and you will never completely remove it. However, there are plenty of ways that you can make it a bit more manageable, and we should all be working on increasing happiness + reducing stress. If you believe so, as well, then start with these 6 ways to easily reduce stress:
Prepare for your day the night before
The morning can be a whirlwind. If you need to get out the door by 8am, then most of us (depending on who you are) would need to wake up by 7am, at latest. If you are trying to fit a workout in, your wake up call is probably much earlier than that. Trying to do too much in the morning is a great way to amp up the stress before even walking out the door. Instead of putting stress on your plate first thing in the morning, try preparing for your day the night before. Steam and set out your clothes for the next day, prepare your lunch so that you can grab-and-go, and run a load of dishes, or vacuum the floors. Whatever you need to do so that you do not feel so rushed in the mornings, figure out a way to get it done before you lay down at night. Doing this will not only help make your mornings a bit more smooth, but it will also help you reduce stress and sleep better at night, as well. It’s a win-win!
Take more breaks
Taking regular breaks can help you focus and think more creatively. It also helps with productivity, as well! This means that even though you will be working less, you will likely be more productive while you are working. Breaks will increase your presence and your productivity. Breaks come in a few different forms: your weekends, your vacations, and breaks during the day. Even if you are at work, you can take a fifteen minute break (or longer) to meditate, talk with a co-worker, read something quickly, or even take a walk. When it comes to vacations, they are necessary, I believe. If you do not allow yourself to take much-needed vacations, you will ultimately burn yourself out, which is not good for yourself or the company that you are working for (or worse – your own company). Taking more breaks might sound scary to you, because you have to put in the hours and work, but I promise you one thing: if you allow yourself to take breaks, you will see how refreshed mentally you become, which allows you to focus more and get more done while you are working.
Be realistic with yourself
Another thing that you need to think about is if you actually enjoy what you do. Seriously – be realistic with yourself. Your day-to-day life has everything to do with your happiness and stress load. If you absolutely hate your job, you need to admit that to yourself and figure out a way to fix the issue. Do you need to find a new job? Do you need to take a longer break? What about your relationship? What can you do to improve it? Friendships. Are you giving your all? Being realistic with yourself can be challenging, but when you really buckle down and figure out ways to improve your relationships and make sure that you love your work, your stress will plummet and your happiness will increase so much.
Declutter and downsize
Another thing that brings a lot of stress into people’s lives? Stuff. Unfortunately, we have been trained to go for the “best” of everything. The newest iPhone, the trendy clothes, the newest, in-style furniture, and so much more. This leads to a lot of clutter and at the end of the day, are your things actually bringing you happiness, or are they bringing on stress? A great example of this is your house. Sure – you might have a 4,000 square foot house with all the bells and whistles, but is your rent or mortgage payment stressing you out? If so, move. Find a way to downsize without losing the things that you need (or really want). If your closets are packed to the brim, or if your rooms are so cluttered with furniture and books and random decorations, find a way to really declutter and move things around so that you can find more space and reduce your stress. If you need help moving to a new home, or if you need help moving (or removing) large furniture, call Bluebell Relocation Services. They are a moving company in Cherry Hill that services New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Bluebell Relocation Services can help you alleviate some of your stress by handling the move from start to finish. If you have a lot of stuff, packing might stress you out. Let them help! They can also help with so many other services like furniture assembly, piano moving, storage, and more. Decluttering and downsizing is an amazing way to reduce everyday stress in your life!
Practicing gratitude regularly is so powerful. If practiced consistently, it retrains you to think more positively and increases your resilience to stress. That is because it forces you to look for things to be grateful for. Imagine how something so simple could change your entire outlook on life! The best way to practice gratitude? A frequent recommendation is keeping a daily gratitude journal and writing down 3 things that you are grateful for at the beginning (or end) of each day. The things that you do write down do not have to be huge, life changing things. You can be grateful for a hot shower, the sound of your children laughing (or dogs barking, ha!), or even the smell of freshly baked bread!
Surround yourself with people who are there for you. Sometimes, we just need to talk it out. Talking with someone who is there for you (that you trust) is amazing therapy. This could be a friend, a family member, or even a therapist. It also doesn’t hurt if these people make you laugh a lot because laughter really is some of the best medicine out there! It induces short-term changes in your body, helping you feel more relaxed by increasing blood circulation (relieving muscle tension), stimulating your heart and lungs (increasing your oxygen intake), decreasing cortisol and adrenaline (lowering your body’s fight or flight reflex), and it helps to increase endorphins, as well (your feel-good hormone!). There are so many short-term and long-term benefits to surrounding yourself with good people and laughing. Also, don’t forget that you are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will more than likely start to think more like them. The same goes for surrounding yourself with positive people – you will begin to see the bright side to most situations thrown your way, and when you cannot see it yourself, your friends can help you find the glimmer of hope that you need.