From an early age, stress has been indoctrinated into our daily lives. We have all been programmed to expect and accept it, starting from school stress at an early age to the chores of adulthood, traffic, work, and every other aspect of our lives. We often feel stretched to the limits on most days about seemingly mundane things. Think this is harmless? Think again! Stress can cause more than tight knots in your shoulders; it has been linked to many illnesses and even some chronic diseases.
Stress can cause physical symptoms and lead to fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and elevated blood pressure. Long-term effects have been implicated in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Try these five simple ways to stress less and reduce its impact on your health today:
- Say NO! Practice saying no and stop trying to be all things to all people. You simply cannot make everyone happy all the time. If your plate is already full, stop taking on new roles and new tasks. It might be hard at first but you will love how you feel afterwards. Start by practicing with little roles, like volunteering periodically and once you are caught up you can jump back into the things that really matter to you. Say no more so you can say yes to the things you really enjoy.
- Practice deep and slow breathing. This is something you can do anytime, anywhere. The results are immediate and you will feel instantly better.
- Get outside for some fresh air. Nature is relaxing and fresh air is priceless. Even if only for a few minutes, the change of scenery, natural light, and oxygen will give you an instant mood boost. You are part of something bigger than your desk, meeting, or project. Connect with nature and feel calmer.
- Write it down. How are you feeling? What do you really want? What don’t you want? Get thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper to free up your emotions and mental clutter. You don’t have to write a novel; just a few lines can make a difference. Keep a little notebook handy and watch your thoughts become lighter.
- Give yourself a mini-hand massage using aromatherapy. Pull out your favorite scented lotion and lather away. This is an easy activity to focus your attention on self-care and enjoy a nice fragrance. Our hands are used all day long and can definitely use some soothing. The aromatherapy will put you in a peaceful state.
These are just a few quick and easy strategies to help you mitigate stress throughout the day. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider if you need further assistance. Reaching out for help might be the first step to the best you that you have ever known – you are so worth it!