Do you feel tired often? Overwhelmed? Easily irritated? Are you having trouble getting any work done? You could be experiencing a higher-than-normal level of stress. There are some things that you can do that may help relieve that stress that is weighing you down.
We have come up with some self-care strategies for managing stress.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating food that is good for your body will leave you feeling energized and nourished. Some of the unhealthier foods, although will fill you up, can make you feel sluggish and tired. You need to “fuel the machine” as they say.
- Laugh. Put on a funny show, watch a comedian you enjoy, listen to a funny podcast, do whatever you find funny and have a good laugh. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the bodies natural feel-good chemical.
- Get outside. There are so many benefits of getting out of the house and getting outdoors. Vitamin D supply improves, you feel happier, and you can concentrate better just to name a few. Go for a walk, to a park or just sit in your yard. Even just taking a step outside and taking a deep breath can improve stress.
- Turn off the screens. There is something so hypnotizing about our phones. I cannot speak for everyone but I know that I can easily spend an hour zoned out on my phone scrolling and scrolling and then look up in a daze like where have I just been for an hour? Sometimes we need to turn off the screens and take in the world around us without the distraction of social media, video games, or even that tv show that you have been binge watching for 3 weeks. Turn it off, look up and be present for a while. This will be like a reboot for your brain, leaving you feeling less stress.
- Get something done that has been nagging you. I know that this is a tough one to do but hear me out. Maybe it’s taking in the empty bottles or replacing a burnt out lightbulb, no matter how big or small the task is it will incite a negative feeling every time you think about the need to get it done and the fact that you haven’t yet. Make a plan to get it done and stick to it. You will feel so much better that you got it done and it will help to relieve some stress.
- Visit. Take the time to visit with people who make you happy and you have not seen in a while. It is so easy for us to come home, change into our comfys and hit play on Netflix. Our communication has gotten so digital with people that it has taken the specialness out of having a face to face conversation. Nothing can beat the smell of gramma’s kitchen or the feel of the same chair that you always sit in at your best friend’s house. Go and give someone you love a surprise visit and hug and feel the stress wash away.
- Clean. Lets be honest cleaning is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of self-care. It is hard, tedious and not very relaxing. However, your environment has a massive impact on your mental health. It is hard to destress when you are stressed out by your environment. Start small and realistic. For me personally it was make my bed every morning and never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. They say it takes 30 days to make a habit so stick to those one or two things for a month. Once they become a part of your every day routine start to add something else. You will find that your mental health and stress will get better the better you feel in your environment.
- Give yourself a spa day. You can go full out and treat yourself to a professional spa or why not combine two of these ideas and invite some friends over for a spa night. You can even go as simple as using that special body wash that you have been saving for a special occasion. Bust out those bath products you never give yourself the luxury of using. In general just take some time to relax and rejuvenate.
- Yoga and meditation. A big part of yoga and meditation is focusing on breathing and washing away tension and stress. You can seek out a local studio or do it at home and the nice thing is you really do not need a lot to do it. Yoga can improve sleep and relieve stress by stretching and easing tension in your muscles enabling you to relax your body for better sleep.
- Knowing when to ask for help. If you are facing a difficult situation or are feeling overwhelmed and it is causing you anxiety and stress to the point that it is making it difficult for you to enjoy life then it may be time for you to seek out help. Most of us were taught from a young age that it is important to be independent and self-sufficient. The problem with this is we often times do not want to admit to any weakness or inadequacies that we end up just doing the best that we can on our own causing a lot of internal stress and anxiety. A counsellor has been through extensive training and has the tools to help those feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to navigate their stress. People often associate counselling with “crazy” but that is not the case at all. Most counsellors see perfectly normal people facing issues and problems that are affecting their lives in a negative way.
There are no rules on what defines self-care for you. Find something that gives you peace and makes you feel good and make sure to make time for it. Your health will thank you!