Just as your eyelids begin to close and usher in some much-needed sleep, it happens - stress and its entourage - anxiety, irritability and exhaustion appear in droves to keep your mind awake. No one can blame you for feeling overwhelmed.
With busy lifestyles, it can be hard not to internalize the daily stressors weighing down the world. Below, we’ve compiled six ways to stress less - tips to ground yourself when feeling overburdened.
In today’s world of instant communication, social media appears more like an extension of self than its own medium. Since the internet has so much to do with social and business interaction, we compare ourselves to the successes and opportunities of friends and colleagues. Social media creates stress via the fantastical projection of self we are constantly exposed to.
Since we have complete control over what others see on our pages, our collective ideas of one another become based on a series of curated pictures and commentary. By taking a break from social media, you allow yourself to focus on your growth and progress, without the input or constant reference to others. What's more, it allows you to focus on your surroundings and give your eyes a break from the onslaught of blue-light.
Maybe you are someone who loves working out, or maybe you’d rather engage in some easy stretching or take a vigorous stroll - either way, getting outside and breathing in the fresh air really helps to reduce stress. Especially for those of you who spend most of your time at work or home; being active in nature can raise your heartbeat and offer you pleasant surroundings that distract from stress and revitalize the body and soul.
For many empathetic individuals, caring for others is second nature. While caretaking is an important and necessary role in certain scenarios, it can also manifest as a diversion from taking care of yourself. Perhaps the most apt analogy is when flight attendants advise passengers to put the oxygen mask on themselves before their loved ones in the event of an emergency. This is a classic case of “you can’t help others until you help yourself.”
Sometimes, the time we spend investing into others chips away at time spent making ourselves feel healthy and content. Ultimately, it’s all about balance. Just be sure to reciprocate the same love, attention and lack of judgement you project onto others, onto yourself. What this entails is up to you!
The constant internal chatter of self-criticism is a voice with no good intentions. It can be easier to focus on what we feel we lack or are not proficient at doing to keep us from taking calculated risks and improving our lives. Next time, instead of ruminating or plunging yourself into self-doubt, focus your energy on setting personal goals.
This kind of encouragement creates tangible evidence for the sort of changes and experiences your desire from your life. The more attention you place on working toward your dreams, the less you will be hampered by insecurity and self-deprecation.
This can be a really tough subject for many of us. Getting adequate nutrition, hydration and sleep can seem like a chore for those who struggle with finding a healthy rhythm. Work, family, financial constraints and social obligations all represent variables that can diminish our ability to recharge and restore fully. Then, when faced with stressful circumstances, we are less motivated to take on the challenges with energy and confidence. A good night’s sleep has been said to actually block the chain reaction that triggers the release of stress hormones.
Specific dietary and sleep needs are contingent on our unique selves. While your schedule may limit you from maintaining a consistent regimen, it is so important to prioritize eating and sleeping as much as possible. Getting enough water is a surefire way to poise yourself for success, since lack of hydration can contribute to further stress, sickness and fatigue. Consider carrying a water bottle in your bag or installing one of several popular mobile apps which remind you to fill up on H2O throughout the day!
A trend gaining significant popularity as a welcome form of stress reduction is keeping a daily gratitude journal. The process entails writing down the people, places, events and things that make you feel grateful and happy to be alive. This exercise also acts as a mechanism for prioritizing the things in life that really matter.
So often, we embody the stress of things we cannot control - the actions of others, mother nature and the universe. In a time where it can feel like we have no influence at all, focus on what you can control, such as how you treat yourself and others and the way you address the ebb and flow of life’s inconveniences.