This post was a collaboration and may contain affiliate links. How do we take back control of our lives and put stress behind us? I just had an 1.5 hour conversation with my integrative doctor about this very topic. Stress is a killer…literally. Managing stress levels goes a long way to help your life, specifically, your physical and mental health. The fortunate thing is that simply making a few small changes to your lifestyle will help curb stress and the body’s response to it. Though I could talk about this topic for much longer, here are 5 top stress-busting actions.
Stress-Busting Actions #1: Improve Time Management Skills
Often it feels as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. This causes much of the population stress. And, unfortunately, the lack of time thing is only a fraction of the pressure our society puts on its inhabitants. Have you looked around lately? Stress management is a multibillion dollar industry that isn’t slowing down anytime soon. That said, you can take charge of your own life with improving your time management skills.
- Keep a solid schedule for home and work (don’t let them collide if you can help it).
- Use fun and creative methods to track your time and activities. I use a giant whiteboard with colorful markers.
- Don’t overextend yourself by taking on too much at once.
- Eliminate anything in your day that doesn’t serve you.
- Routines are good!
Stress-Busting Actions #2: Start a Journal
Believe it or not, starting a journal can really help you on your journey to reducing stress levels. The extra focus on your life and how you feel about it can give you a sense of peace and hope. Research also shows that journaling can actually improve your health and wellbeing by strengthening immune cells, according to Psychologist and researcher, James Pennebaker. Other research suggests that it helps you to think more clearly, which aids in difficult problem-solving- a frequent component of overwhelm and stress.
- Write down how you feel as you wake up, throughout the day or before bed.
- Journal about your stress triggers and what possible solutions you have.
- Use your journal to doodle, draw, write freely, write poetry or music, etc.
- Don’t share your journal with anyone, so you can always be free to write about anything.
Stress-Busting Actions #3: Improve Your Coping Strategies
Think about how you deal with stress at the moment. Do you walk away from stressful situations or do you lash out? Do you go for a run or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol? Be honest with yourself with this one. This is something you need to get straight. Stress is one thing, but dealing with stress in an unhealthful way is worse.
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute and the American Institute of Stress NY, Americans racked up a whopping $300 billion in Annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work. Some of this work loss is attributed to drug and alcohol use that leads to entering drug and alcohol rehab centers. The staggering effect stress has on our population is evidence enough that we each need to take better care of ourselves.
Improving your coping strategies will require you to look for healthier alternatives if you are not doing well. Additionally, this may take a period of trial and error to find the right fit. Here are some suggestions:
- Pamper yourself
- Talk it out
- Create something
Stress-Busting Actions #4: Avoid Stressful Situations
Depending on your current stress levels, it may be beneficial to avoid certain situations and even people. Though, it’s impossible to avoid all stress, be on the lookout for unnecessary stressors that put you in a panic or angry state. These include those at home and work. Also, remember that you can choose how you react to things and people. Yeah, I know it’s not always easy to turn the proverbial cheek. You can try, though. Here are a few additional tips for avoiding stressors.
- Prepare dialog in advance if you know you are going to get into a stressful conversation.
- Don’t assume anything.
- Walk away from non-serving situations.
- Don’t provoke anyone at anytime.
Stress-Busting Actions #5: Say No
The inability to say “no” creates some of the most stressful situations known to man. It can basically be a one way ticket to an early grave if you’re not careful. I understand those deadlines at work, kids needing rides, partners wanting attention, and mom coming for a visit. Life is full and demanding! Think of it this way: saying “yes” all the time is actually a form of giving your power away. Find the balance before it’s too late.
- Know your limits.
- Speak up about conflicts.
- Know you aren’t mean or a bitch if you say no.
- It’s OK to put yourself first.
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your health care provider. Women’s lifelink, it’s owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.