4 healthy ways to manage stress

Stressful situations creep into our everyday life, even when we aren’t asking for it. There’s the stress of your work life, balancing friends, family, children, and other commitments; having enough money, making sure your needs are met, maintaining your health, and not to mention any surprises life throws your way. The list goes on and on. Just trying to navigate and deal with those situations can be stressful on its own.

While stress is undeniable, you can help change what you do when these situations arise, and how you mentally and physically react to a stressor. Adopting healthy stress management techniques will allow you to feel more in control when you encounter something that causes you to stress, big or small. Whether it’s keeping a to-do list to stay on top of your tasks, or making time to just do nothing but have a bottle of Purpose tea, the point is to find something that centers you and keeps you feeling grounded and in charge of your situation.

You shouldn’t let yourself dwell on stress all the time. Even if you haven’t found a solution to whatever issue comes up, you don’t have to carry the heavy feelings and weight of stress, and anxiety with you, or allow it to seep into other areas of your life and relationships. Healthy stress management habits will allow you to focus on what you’re doing in the present, and make an effort to de-stress. You’ll be doing yourself, your mind, and your body a favor.

Without proper management, stress can lead to long-term problems like high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. In the short term, stress may lead to you experiencing gastrointestinal distress, hair loss, fatigue, depression, inflammation, weight fluctuation, and more. So it’s incredibly important to find ways to de-stress.

Here are a few of the easiest ways to manage stress so that you can live a well-balanced, happy, healthy life.

Make lists and prioritize

Most often we find that the cause of a lot of stressors in our lives is the feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control of a situation. From work to our daily home lives, feeling unproductive, or forgetting something important is a major source of stress. Oftentimes, we get stressed out simply because we have too much to do. Making a task list, or carefully writing down everything you need to do can help keep you focused and stay organized. Seeing your daily, weekly, or monthly tasks or events laid out visually gets you one step closer to an efficient, manageable lifestyle, and lessens the stress of the daily hustle and bustle.

You can make lists for everything from errands you need to run, upcoming events, grocery lists, chore lists, and even a list of assignments or projects for work. The key to making lists is to not only write things down so you don’t forget, but to begin to prioritize things in your life so you don’t find yourself scrambling to complete or accomplish important tasks because you spent too much time on things that weren’t really important. Your goal is to take on only the most important tasks first, then make time as you can spare for other commitments or engagements. As you tackle your workload in an efficient way, you feel in control, empowered, and not nearly as stressed.

Disconnect and decompress

A lot of the stress can be the result of a lack of rest and decompression. You can find yourself being pulled in so many different directions. Just like your body, your brain also gets tired. Disconnecting from tasks, technology, or even people, just for a day or two will give you a sense of relief and refocus. With social media and cell phones practically being glued to our hands, we can become too accessible. This eventually leads to feeling like you must connect and communicate at all times of the day. Work deadlines, social events, or even family requests can cause a great deal of stress when you have nothing left to give.

When you are feeling stressed, cut the cord. It’s perfectly okay to unplug and reschedule so that you can take time to be alone and recharge. How you decompress can look different from everyone. Maybe it’s taking a nap mid-day, or taking time to enjoy a bubble bath, or just simply taking deep breaths and enjoying your favorite aromatherapy. As long as you are partaking in something that is completely for yourself and helps you feel relaxed, physically and mentally.

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful can affect not only how you feel about the stressors of your life, but also determine how you actively cope with them. Practicing meditation, telling yourself positive affirmations, setting necessary boundaries, and even celebrating yourself when you accomplish tasks or overcome stressful situations sets your focus on the good which translates through your mood and how you think about what you need to do now.

Practicing mindfulness is a concept that seems so simple that you may overlook it. But it is indeed an important practice. Taking a deep breath can actually deescalate your stress the moment you encounter a stressor. All you have to do is inhale slowly and exhale slowly. Do this for as long as you want, and you should start to feel the stress ease up little by little. It’s an accessible and fast way to calm yourself down. People who make mindfulness a habit have an easier time taking life’s challenges in stride and are more flexible in the ways they deal with difficulties. This eventually leads to a happier, healthier, less stressful well-being.

Give yourself some grace

Burnout is real, so be easy on yourself. We sometimes get so hard on ourselves when we don’t feel productive or accomplished that we don’t consider that we’re doing the best we can. You’re only human, don’t forget that. You don’t have to overextend yourself trying to be everything to everyone or trying to accomplish everything that comes your way. Working overtime, skipping meals, filling up your schedule, skipping out on sleep, you’re doing much more harm to yourself than good.

When you’re tired and feeling overwhelmed, your emotional sensitivity level shoots through the roof and your patience level fizzles out to nearly zero. Before you know it, you’re feeling stressed. Be okay with putting things down or not letting your plate get filled in the first place. It doesn’t make you a failure to do less. In fact, you’ll have more time for yourself. Your family, friends and co-workers would all rather have you feeling your best, than feeling anxious and stressed.

When it comes to healthy stress management techniques, the best thing you can do is find something that works for you and do it often. If it’s making lists, taking a walk, getting more sleep, cutting back tasks, or just making time to meditate, you should be consistent in your resolve. Don’t wait for stress to build and build until you feel overwhelmed. By de-stressing often, you can help lessen the impact of those overwhelming days, and find it easier to cope with your stress when you already have a routine in place. It’s also important to remember that it’s normal to feel stressed at times and it’s alright to embrace what you’re feeling. By acknowledging your feelings, you can then find the most healthy way to cope.