This month kicks off our big holiday season. For many families and individuals, the holiday season also brings on more stress. If you are thinking to yourself that, “hey, I am already stressed” well then you are not alone. According to Statistic Brain 48% of people report feeling as if stress has increased over the past 5 years. 77% of people experience physical symptoms from stress, and 76% cited money and work as their leading cause of stress.
Your personal relationships are also affected by stress. 54% of people said stress was the cause of fighting with someone close to them. 73% of people also experience psychological effects from stress. So we know stress makes us sick from fatigue, irritable and angry, upset stomach, lack of energy and much more.
We need to greatly reduce stress where we can to live healthier and more fulfilled day in and day out. Here are ____ ways to quickly attack & manage stress.
- Interview Yourself About Stress
You need to find out why you get stressed. How you get stressed and what are the triggers for stress in your life. This could be a difficult person or situation you are in. We see a lot of people say money and work are the leading cause of stress. If this is the case, you may benefit from doing a financial review and a personal performance review. Often seeing things written out and on paper (or the screen) can help you feel more in control. Having a plan also fosters hope, just make your plan realistic. Do take the time to list what stresses you out and then understand that you must manage that list. Not all can go away or go away immediately. But eliminate what can be eliminated right away.
- Take Deep Full Breaths
Have you ever spent time sitting for a couple minutes and taking deep full breaths and just focusing on your breathing and nothing else? Try it. It’s not just good for stress but when you feel yourself getting angry or upset. It even works when your boss is throwing a fit. Try breathing in for 8 to 10 seconds and exhaling. Repeat this for a couple of minutes. You might surprise yourself of what encounter.
- Go to The Gym or Don’t
Working out and getting in daily exercise has countless benefits including your energy level, your body’s ability to fight off diseases and positive physiological wins. Set your goals small and attainable at first. Walk a half mile one day and a mile two days later. Lift weights for 10 minutes one day and 15 minutes the next. Ride a bike if you don’t want to join a gym or go place basketball, tennis or soccer or just run outside if you have to. You don’t need a gym to get exercise in. If you think you don’t have the time or you are too tired well, that bring me to my next point.
- Turn Off All Devices and Sleep
It’s likely you don’t get enough sleep. 48% of people who experience stress report just lying awake at night because of stress. You should try and get 8 full hours. Turn off the tv, turn off the phones, toys, put the kids to bed earlier and get in bed. Getting a lack of sleep can have just as serious consequences as constant stress. Think of this scenario. You are stressed because of your work project, plus you are wondering why there is so little left over after all bills are paid and on top of all of this you are dead tired. You are wreaking havoc on your physical and psychological systems. Make sleep important to your well-being. Turn down the lights a couple hours early before bed and get your bedroom dark and cool. Slip under those covers and drift away.
- Clear Your Calendar
You have a meeting here, there, everywhere. Stop over scheduling your life. Start saying no to the things that do not align with you and your family’s goals. You don’t have to take on every project at work and the kids don’t have to be involved in every sport. Schedule down time when you don’t have anything planned. Watch a movie at home or go to the park. Do something that is stress free. Find an outlet that you love and schedule it. Be constantly busy, running around, working on this and the other thing are not badges of accomplishments. In fact, most people are one to two project or task people. meaning the more you add on the less effective you become. Schedule what you love to do weekly and cut out the fat in the rest of your calendar.
- Live Like the Japanese
OK, when we think of Japanese homes we thing of those cool rooms with paper walls that are clean, neat and organized homes. Get rid of some of your stuff. If you have not used it in 6 months and it’s of no sentimental worth, then pitch it. You can donate, sell or throw away your clutter. Remember the saying, “a cluttered home is a cluttered mind”? A cluttered mind is also a stressed out mind. Ever walked into your teenager’s room and it looked like a storm came thru? Why did you want them to pick up their room? Right!
In The End
There are many other things you can do like drink less, eat healthier and stay hydrated to better manage stress. Keep in mind stress is about management of stress and not elimination. It is very likely that we cannot eliminate stress completely. It is possible however to greatly reduce your stress levels by taking some action and making big changes gradually. You accomplish more, live longer and heathier and feel more fulfilled.