April is National Stress Awareness Month.
Life can be tough. It can be challenging, busy, and stressful. Sometimes stress is unavoidable. But becoming over-stressed can hurt our health, state of mind, and our happiness. It’s important to make it a priority to help keep stress at bay no matter how hectic things get. I reached out to my community of Wellness Bloggers for their expertise on how to keep stress under control so that you can keep the joy high in your life and keep on managing every day beautifully and strong.
Julie was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during the summer of 2016 and has since helped hundreds of people fight these mental illnesses and become happier. Read Julie’s inspiring story, “My Journey Into Acknowledging The Depression” on www.hellopeacefulmind.com and find out how you can become happier too!
1.) The first thing to reduce your stress is to find out its source.
I used to start every day with one sentence “I don’t want to go to work.” At the time, I would wake up at 6:30 am, take a quick shower and rush toward the door with a snack in hand to be stuck in traffic for an hour.
No wonder I couldn’t get out of bed. Who is excited to start the day stuck in traffic?
So I realized that I needed to change my morning routine. Starting the day in such a negative and stressful note was transforming the whole week into a nightmare.
Now, I wake up at 7 am to do things that I love like working on Hello Peaceful Mind. I am no longer rushing out for work. I take the time to enjoy my morning by sitting down for breakfast and then I get ready to go to work.
By the time I leave the house there’s no more traffic and when I get home at night it only takes me 20 minutes!
I have to tell you that since I changed my schedule to avoid traffic (which was my main source of stress) I am so much happier!
So what is stressing you out and how can you change that?
2.) Break down your goals into smaller tasks.
Stress can come from many different reasons. For me, it’s usually because I have too many projects on my plate and I overwhelm myself.What happens is that I think about everything that needs to be done and get overwhelmed. So I don’t do anything. Then I stress about it and I am even less likely to work on it. Do you know this feeling?
Basically I get stuck in this vicious cycle.
But I decided to break this cycle and started writing down my goals and big projects. Then I break it down into smaller tasks. And every day, I add only 3 of these tasks into my to do list. This way I am no longer overwhelmed and I feel good every time I cross something off the list!
You should give it a try and let me know how you feel!
Laura is a mental health therapist who works full-time in a hospital with patients in crisis. She launched the blog Ivory & Pine in September 2016, which focuses on intentional living, self care, and mental health. She loves spending time with friends, lots of coffee, hiking in the mountains, exploring new music, and helping others grow their own intentional life. She lives in Colorado.
1.) Build self-care into your busy day.
You don’t have to get a massage once a week or practice yoga for 3 hours a day, although more power to you if you can. Download podcasts so that you can listen to words of encouragement and learn something new during your commute. Get an essential oil diffuser and switch out scent combinations to help get you energized in the morning and relaxed at night. Do your best to meal prep the night before… it seriously feels so nice to be hungry and have a healthy meal right there, ready for you. Make your bed in the morning.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that help you feel like you are proactive about having a good day, rather than reacting to circumstances.
2.) Take a retreat.
I love the idea of periodic retreats.
If you can, take an hour a week, a day a month, and a weekend a year to totally disconnect from electronics, get away from the daily grind, and push that reset button on your soul.
Use this dedicated time to journal, meditate, pray, exercise, be out in nature… whatever helps you de-stress! It’s important to ask yourself tough questions during this time and answer them thoughtfully… increasing self-awareness is important.
You can do this retreat by yourself, with a partner, or a couple friends, but I would leave the group quite small. We can practice these things at home of course, and we should…. but distractions still come up constantly. I really value nature, and so I try to take my retreats out on trails or in the mountains. I always come back with a greater sense of peace.
Jess is a mental health blogger devoted to helping improve the lives of anxiety sufferers. She shares tips, help and advice for those struggling, so that they can live a better life. Anxiety can be controlled, rather than it controlling you.
1.) Look for the signs.
Dealing with stress can be difficult. I find that sometimes I’m much more stressed than I might realize, and that my body is actually telling me more than I realize.
If this sounds like you, I would definitely pay more attention to what your body is telling you. It could be the little things like shaky hands, headaches, chest pains or back pain. Maybe you’re not sleeping well, or sleeping too much. If you can catch the stress early, you can work on how to make it better. For anxiety sufferers, it’s very easy to ignore the signs and thinking that you’re okay when you’re not.
As Julie mentioned, once you’ve figured out what is causing you extra stress, you can work on improving your situation.
2.) I find that writing can often be the best therapy for stress and anxiety.
You don’t even need to be a blogger to benefit from the therapeutic qualities writing has.
Quite a few of my friends suffer from anxiety and I always recommend writing as a way of releasing whatever is bothering them. I advise them to start with whatever is bothering them first (as sometimes you don’t always have someone to talk to). It doesn’t even to make a whole lot of sense, just getting it from inside the mind and onto paper helps relieve strain.
So the next time you’re feeling a little anxious, write about it, put pen to paper and write about how you’re feeling. What caused it? Is your stress and anxiety as a result of a situation you can work on? Do you need help from anyone else?
Get it written down.
Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She brings an eclectic mix of excitement, passion, and a story to tell of self-discovery, development, and love.
1.) Make sure you are well rested and getting enough sleep.
When we are overtired we aren’t as capable to manage emotions and stress. Being well rested will help you stay calmer and able to process situations better before reacting to them. I always find that I’m less stressed when I’m not so tired!
2.) Set Boundaries.
Make sure you only take on what you can really handle. Steer clear of negativity. Take time for yourself.
I am a sensitive person and I naturally suck in everything around me. I need to make sure that I am setting limits on the amount of negativity I consume and I need to ensure I have time set for “me time” so I can recharge.
Boundaries are important to keep you balanced.
Stress is a part of life but you can choose to not let it control you. We all have those days, don’t beat yourself up for it. When in doubt, reach out to your tribe, your close friends. Look for inspiration in all the RIGHT places. It’ll get you back on track.