Everyone is different. We have priorities, obligations, and problems that differ from one person to the next, but a fairly common issue is stress management. You may rarely have time for yourself to do anything you’d like to do, let alone have the time to relax and de-stress.
Between running errands, possibly working, doing housework and having a myriad of extra responsibilities, you are constantly on “productivity mode.” If you feel overwhelmed and stressed out most of the time, you’ll want to read this blog post. Before I get into the solutions part, I want to point out a few reasons why you might want to manage and reduce your daily stress levels:
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- Stress can negatively affect your physical health.
- Stress can lead to anxiety and depression, or worsen them.
- Stress can make it difficult to concentrate and focus.
- Stress can cause problems with sleeping.
- Stress can cause tension headaches and neck pain.
- Stress can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or other chronic illnesses.
- Stress can take a toll on your emotional well-being, making you feel irritable, angry, or resentful about things you would usually not care much about.
- Stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating, drinking alcohol, and hard drugs.
How to relax and de-stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed
People commonly struggle with stress and tension because they don’t know how to relax and de-stress properly. This can lead to a number of challenges, as I showed above.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like you’re the only one who is dealing with this type of pressure. I’m sure that, to a certain degree, you know you’re not alone, but such accumulated stress can sure feel lonely. It can be hard to maintain a positive outlook when you’re constantly struggling with stress.
The benefits of starting your day with a positive attitude
It’s important to start your day on a positive note in order to set the tone for the rest of the day. A positive attitude will help you stay motivated and focused, while a negative attitude can lead to more stress and anxiety than you already have. Try to take some time for yourself in the morning to relax and center yourself before starting your day.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “oh well, I don’t have time for a yoga session in the morning! I’m busy!” that’s okay! This can be done while drinking your coffee or taking your shower. Centering yourself doesn’t require half an hour of yoga or a lengthy meditation session.
You should see benefits to it just by taking a minute or two of deep breaths and actively relaxing your muscles, stretching the tension out of the usual suspects, then straightening your position. While I’m sure these point all make sense, let me just do a quick rundown:
- Deep breaths: bringing more oxygen into your blood stream will feel invigorating, as well as the calming effect of forcing deeper breaths than usual.
- Relaxing your muscles: you’ve been up for half an hour? an hour? I’d be ready to bet money that you’re already very tense. Consciously make the effort of relaxing your shoulders, your back, your legs.
- Stretching: you may not have time for a workout, or you may not want to work out this early, and both are perfectly valid. However, taking a few minutes to stretch the aches away will do wonders.
- Straightening your position: after all of that, not only will you feel refreshed, but keeping your back straight and your head high will fill you with confidence to start the day!
Exercise is good… or something.
I want to make one thing clear: I hate exercising with a passion. Seriously, there is nothing appealing to it for me. I run out of breath quickly, I start sweating and getting super red in the face, and usually, I get to feeling faint pretty fast.
Besides, with fibromyalgia, I just end up regretting my life choices for the next 2 to 4 days afterwards. Not exactly enticing.
NEVERTHELESS, regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel good(ALLEDGEDLY. I have yet to experience this mythical thing).
Exercise also helps to improve your mood and relieve stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, try taking a break to go for a walk or do some light cardio. You’ll feel better after a few minutes of exercise, especially if you’re able to do it outside with some sunlight.
you are what you eat
Many people don’t realize the importance of eating healthy foods. Morbid obesity is a growing problem, and it can increase your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
While I’m definitely not an expert, there are some proven “diets” or “rules” that are known to improve chronic illnesses. For example, inflammation can be reduced by avoiding certain foods, which helps with arthritis and a lot of types of chronic pains related to past injuries.
Some researches and some people have seen benefits from cutting carbs out of their diet for their fibromyalgia. I have tried the keto diet a long while back, and I must admit it’s a lot of work and DIY, but I did feel more energy, if nothing else. That was before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia myself, and I can’t remember how well it worked for my pains back then.
All in all, it’s my priority to be healthy. Not thin, not “pretty”(I already am, thank you very much) and not “normal sized.” I want HEALTH. That is all.
it’s way past your bedtime!
There’s a huge line to cross between knowing that getting enough sleep is important, and actually… getting enough sleep. We brush it off because we don’t have enough hours in a day, but many people don’t realize just how essential it is. It’s during sleep that your body repairs and regenerates cells. Lack of sleep won’t just make you crabby, it can also have very real repercussions on your physical and mental health, as well as weakening your immune system.
A shitty immune system is the last thing we need, we have enough Stuff to deal with.
When you’re tired, it’s also difficult to focus and be productive. And no, your third energy drink will not save you. The human body needs rest, and it needs a lot of it. Right around the 40% mark, which would be about 10 hours out of 24. It doesn’t really have to be daily, but it when you add it up, say, on a weekly basis, it needs to equate about 10 hours per day.
See, I read something a while back (and I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it, but it certainly stayed with me) and it went like this: “We’re not saying you should take 42 percent of your time to rest; we’re saying if you don’t take the 42 percent, the 42 percent will take you. It will grab you by the face, shove you to the ground, put its foot on your chest, and declare itself the victor.”
While that may sound like a colorful exaggeration, I can attest to that statement.
Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night to stay healthy and feel your best. If you don’t take the time to rest, you will be forced to make time for your illness.
The importance of taking breaks throughout the day cannot be overemphasized. When you’re constantly working, it easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Taking breaks helps to rejuvenate you and prevents you from getting burnt out.
Have you even spent so much time reading about a topic that your eyes hurt? Your brain can barely assimilate what the eyes see anymore, but you “gotta keep going”… It’s pretty amazing what a short, 5 minute break could do in these circumstances. I sure wish I had known that before college.
Make sure to take a few minutes to walk around or relax. Some say every hour, but that may be excessive, OR your boss may think you’re not taking care of your work, but making a little bit of time for a break every once in a while is a smart idea. This will help you stay focused and productive throughout the day.
It’s not always possible to avoid stressors, but when you can, it’s definitely a good idea.
Stress is a part of life, and there’s no way to completely avoid it. However, there are certain stressors that we can avoid whenever possible. These silent stressors, as I like to call them, can be very unique to you, and go anywhere from difficult people to always being late, or your fifth cup of coffee.
When you can eliminate or minimize these stressors from your life, you’ll be much happier and less stressed. It may be complicated to avoid certain people that make your eye twitch, but it may be possible to minimize their impact. If the person works with you, you may be able to put earphones on to discourage dialogue, or if you’re lucky enough to have your own office, a note on the door that you are busy and ask not to be interrupted.
Relaxation techniques can help to reduce tension and stress.
It’s no secret that stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health. While there are many ways to manage stress, relaxation techniques are some of the most effective. Relaxation techniques help to relieve stress and tension buildup, and they can be practiced anywhere, anytime.
Remember earlier when I said to start the day with just a minute or two of relaxation? Deep breaths, relax your muscles, stretch the tension out of the usual suspects, then straighten your position. It’s a pretty helpful little trick that can be used at any time.
why daily? i’m busy
We’re all busy. Or are we? A lot of people struggle with “idle productivity,” also known as looking busy. In fact, most of us don’t even know we do it. It’s a subconscious response to the need to feel and look productive at all times.
Why daily relaxation? Because stress builds up every day. Just like it’s easier to do the dishes daily than having a huge pile of dishes to take care of all at once, dealing with stress regularly makes for fewer outbursts of anxiety.
Having an overall lower amount of stress in your life also gives you more space for handling stressful events, because you don’t have this looming, constant build up of compounding stress on your shoulders!
low-stress improves everything!
Some benefits of de-stressing properly:
- Better sleep
- Better mental health and a more positive outlook on everything
- Improves your mood
- Improves your overall health: lower risk of blood pressure, heart issues, and more
Make sure to take the time to slow down. We’ve been conditioned to look for ways to be productive all the time, but that’s not what we’re made for. We are made for enjoying things in life, having nice, lazy mornings, eating tasty foods and enjoy good entertainment, whether that be TV, good books, cat videos on YouTube…
There are many different ways that you can manage stress, but we don’t often talk about why we don’t relax daily as we should. It’s guilt. And worse, it’s unwarranted guilt! There is absolutely no good reason to feel bad about taking the time to enjoy your day and take care of yourself.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and have issues lowering your stress levels, I suggest you talk to your doctor or a mental health professional for more help.