As the years go on, stress seems to become more and more of a front liner in everyday life. Unfortunately, stress can weigh heavily on not only our minds and hearts, but it is also harmful to our physical health, as well. Chronic stress can definitely keep you from feeling and performing your best, and this includes school, work, and even in your friendships. No one’s life is completely stress-free, but it is important to learn effective ways to manage and reduce stress, so that you can get back to feeling great. Here are a few tips:
Create a weekly and daily checklist
Time is usually a big stressor for a lot of people. If you are constantly behind or running around from place to place, feeling like you never have a chance to take a breath, you are definitely stressed. Create a schedule (or checklist) for yourself each day, know what you have to accomplish, and make sure you take time to breathe and take a break. I create schedules for each week and then break it all down day to day. This allows me to space everything out, meet deadlines without feeling too rushed (at least all the time), and it allows me to know when I have the ability to stop.
Keep up with your daily routines
When we feel too rushed and stressed, it can be easy to lose sight of your daily routines. Things that make us feel good! Even something as simple as a shower or washing your hair can feel too time consuming sometimes. If this sounds familiar, please get back to your routines! In order to manage and reduce stres, you absolutely have to take good care of yourself. Think about what makes you feel good AND what you need. Make sure you are eating, hydrating, and keeping up with your self-care, which can be things that you need (like showering and cutting your nails), or things that you like (such as getting a massage and getting a pedicure).
Learn to say “No” more often
Spending quality time with your friends and family members can contribute to lower levels of stress. However, there is another viewpoint to this. If you are doing too much constantly, it can contribute to higher levels of stress. With that being said, if you need more time to yourself, learn how to say “no” more often, to things that you do not need or want to do. This is an important lesson to learn (a hard one, too), but it can help reduce stress so much.
Use professionals to get things done
One thing to keep in mind: you do not have to do everything yourself. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, and asking for help and knowing that you cannot do it all with definitely help you manage and reduce your stress load
Exercise is so good for us, especially when it comes to effectively dealing with stress. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says, “The physical benefits of exercise—improving physical condition and fighting disease—have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins. And conventional wisdom holds that a workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.