By Paula Meir on Nov 29, 2019 2:18:24 PM
In times of high stress, you may feel anxiety begin to set in. This might be during a particularly busy month at home or work, after being met with an unexpected expense, managing family during the holiday season, while going through a rough patch with a loved one, or experiencing a major life change. The good news is that with a few small changes you can take both a proactive and reactive approach to stress, automatically reducing the impact of your anxiety.
Get Enough Sleep
Even if things aren’t particularly out of the ordinary, if you aren’t getting enough sleep you increase your risk of irritability, poor decision making, and anxiety-inducing stress. For the average person this means getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. On the flipside, if stress is keeping you up at night or negatively impacting the quality of your sleep—turn to the tips below to help reduce the impact of your anxiety.
Eat Well Balanced Meals
Stress can lead you to craving comfort food which is high in sugar and low in nutritional value. A day here or there is unlikely to cause much disruption, but you must be more mindful of what you eat when you are stressed out. Or, maybe you eat less when you are stressed, which will leave you nutritionally deprived processed sugar and fast food. Further balance your body and optimize the mood-boosting hormone serotonin by increasing the amount of low-processed whole grains in your diet, as well as foods rich in mood-boosting vitamin B and Omega-3s—of which fish, nuts, seeds, and fortified dairy contain both.
Delegate And Say No
In times of high stress, you need to look for ways to lighten your load, both personally and professionally. Start by delegating what you can, which may require you to learn the art of letting go. For example, spread the household chores out among the entire family—or hire a cleaning company one day a week. In addition to delegating, you must look for ways to create more space in your schedule. This might seem impossible so really think outside the box. Maybe sign the kids up for an extracurricular activity carpool to reduce how often you need to shuttle them around? Finally, don’t add anything new or stressful to your schedule until things calm down—which means you will need to say no. Just make sure that you aren’t eliminating exercise, self-care, or any fun or stress-relieving activities.
Speaking of self-care, it’s time to create more space and time for you. Self-care can include a variety of activities, the key is in choosing things that make you feel a noticeable and positive difference. This might include one or more of the following:
- Exercises or a fun physical activity like cycling or dancing
- Heading in for a massage or soothing spa treatment
- Listening to either soothing or uplifting music
- Popping in a feel-good movie or TV series
- Reading a book that is inspirational, funny, or in your favorite category
- Doing anything that makes you laugh, like watching cat videos
- Plugging in your favorite essential oil aromatherapy diffuser
- Take a day trip, weekend getaway, or vacation
- Spend an hour or more in nature
- Do yoga or meditation for at least 10 minutes
- Write 10 things to be grateful for each day in your gratitude journal
- Read inspirational quotes and affirmations
Schedule Time With The Right People
We all have a person or group of people who lift our spirits. This might be a person who lets you vent, helps you talk through your current stressors, or who for whatever reason you always feel good when in their presence. This is who you want to invest your free time, always, but particularly when you are stressed. Even if you only have time for coffee, a quick lunch, video chat, or phone call—it is time well spent. What you want to limit is time spent with those who are negative, who drain you, or bring you down.
Plan Something Fun
We can get so caught up being a spouse, parent, employee, student, or working our way through our to-do list—that we don’t make enough time for fun. What is worse, is that the things that bring us the most joy are often what we cross off our list first as we grow into adulthood. However, hobbies and extracurricular activities play a vital role in creating balance in our lives. They boost our creative thinking skills which help us find innovative solutions in every area of our life and they give us the time required to clear our mind of stress and anxiety.
Stress can rapidly feel overwhelming but with a few small changes you can reduce the impact of your anxiety. If you would like to learn more about techiques to manage stress and anxiety why not check out my book - Your Life Your Way. It's packed with practical advice, ideas and exercises to help you live the life you deserve!