How to fight stress

Good Evening Friends!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! I definitely fought the alarm clock battle this morning…for me though sometimes it’s waking up before the alarm and fighting myself on whether it’s worth it to roll back over for 5 more minutes, only to wait for that horrible alarm sound. In the end I decided to shut it off and accept that morning had come. Today was my last day of a three day work stretch from the weekend. That may sound easy to some of you (and yes, its not bad) but its the on and off from a super early alarm that makes it a struggle. Once I am up and in the shower I am usually good to go for the day.

Work today was good but for some reason I was feeling anxious and overwhelmed. I am prone to anxiety and some days I wake up with my mind racing and it just does not want to stop. Being busy at work does help but sometimes the mindlessness of doing the same routine on a computer can leave me buried deep in thought. I knew one thing was for sure, I needed to turn to my stress-fighting arsenal to kick this feeling today. Where to start?

1) Exercise!

Exercise is almost always the perfect answer to stress (unless you are sick, injured, or too overtirred). It is a release for your mind and your body; it’s not as easy to let your mind wander when you are exerting yourself and working really hard. The type of exercise doesn’t really matter (although some research does suggest cardio has the best effects) it’s just about getting out there and moving. For me it’s usually a good run or bike ride but some days it’s yoga or strength training; even a slow and leisurely walk will do (mindfulness is key here).

2) Get outside

Stop and smell the flowers! Immerse yourself in nature; realize that there are things that are bigger than you and that grow and thrive without constant stress, worry, and fear. Being outdoors makes me feel alive and rejuvinated; whether it’s a hike in the woods, an afternoon on the beach, or just dinner in my backyard, the outdoors gives me some calm and peace. I also become more mindful of my breathing and sense when I am outside. I notice how much better the fresh air smells and I am more aware of taking in deep breaths through my nose and slowly exhaling through my mouth. Deep breathing is majorly helpful in relieving stress and promoting the relaxation response.

3. Be in the presence of others who you care about.

Remembering that you are never alone and that you have love if your life is a powerful way to become re-grounded. It’s easy to get so caught up in worry and fear that you forget that there are people right there by your side to listen or to just be. Tonight I had dinner outside with my mom and dad, and later enjoyed the company of my grandparents in our backyard. Their continual presence in my life reminded me how lucky I am to be loved and not alone.

4) Do something mindful that you love

Cooking and baking healthy and delicious foods always make me feel at peace and calm. I especially love any food that requires a lot of cutting, chopping, slicing and dicing…the repetitiveness of it allows me to zone out and just be where I am. Tonight my mom and I made a mango-nectarine salsa. The recipe reminded me of our vacation to California last year and the wonderful memories I have with my mom and aunts. For some people mindfulness means something active like walking or yoga; for others it’s more passive and meditative. Mindfulness is wonderful because it can be incorporated into anything and everything you do…you just have to put in a little effort. A professor gave me a great quote one time “be where you feet are,” its a simple statement that really helps me to come back to being mindful.

5. Laugh

Laughter is truly the best medicine. To be able to laugh at oneself, at life, or even at stupid joke lightens up your mood and releases tension in the body. If you are having trouble finding something to laugh about, turn to a funny movie or show; whatever it takes to put a smile on your face

Hope these tips can help you to feel a bit less stressed as you make your way through the week (and towards the long weekend)

Tell me: your best tip to relieve stress!

lots of love,

Em

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