I won’t make any introductions about how we get stressed out and how bad it is for your body and your mind. You know about that.
I’ve summed up some useful tips which can help you reduce your level of stress. This email is based on couple related books I’ve read (email me if you would like to know which ones), some blogs and my own struggle.
Here’s my list, hope you’ll find it helpful:
- Being stuck in traffic can be pretty annoying. Being annoyed in the very morning is not the best start of your day. Try playing some nice relaxing music or listening to audiobook to make your commute much more pleasant. Try to leave your house 10-15 minutes earlier. You won’t be in a rush and being in a traffic jam won’t irritate you that bad.
- Keep things around you organized.
Plan your tomorrow today. Make sure your list for the nest day is made by the time you go to bed. You will wake up knowing what to start with and it will definitely save you some time. From my own experience, if do not have the list for the day I’ll waste couple hours in the morning just by getting ready.
- Make sure your work place is neat. For the same reason. It will help you to focus on what needs to be done faster. Try to clean up before you leave.
Do not try to control what you can’t.
- If people or sounds distract you while you’re working try wearing earplugs or headphones to block all the noise from the outside.
- If you got stressed out at work take a break. If emotions overwhelm hide in your car. Roll the windows up and scream. Or cry. That’s what I usually do.
- Make sure you forgive yourself for everything you can’t change. Except your mistakes and imperfection of this life and go on.
Do not try to be perfect. You are unique because you are not perfect. You are who you are because you’re not perfect. Nobody can be perfect. Don’t try to be perfect in everything! It will only put more stress on you.
- If you’re struggling with the lack of time look up some tips on time management. I won’t go into details. But if that’s what causing you problems make sure you fix it! There are millions of books, blogs and videos on this topic.
- Set up goals and deadlines. Just make sure your goals are achievable and your deadlines are realistic. Otherwise not achieving those goals or not keeping up with the deadlines will put even more pressure on you.
Break down difficult tasks into a smaller ones. This way you’ll know what to start with and you’ll avoid analysis paralysis.
- Learn how to say no to something that doesn’t fit in your schedule. Whether at work or at home make sure you do not overwhelm yourself. If you have to do that anyways put it on your list so you can include that in your schedule later on.
- Try to stay friendly and be kind to those around you. People will be kind to you too.
- Go for a walk. In nature. Go to the closest park. Sit on the lawn. Smell a flower. Go camping. Go to the beach.
Be creative. I’m not encouraging to create a masterpiece. Of course you can if you want to. Try something simple. Coloring books for adults. Draw something by yourself no matter how good you’re at it. Music? Singing in the shower? In the kitchen? Find what you like and be creative.
Daydreaming. It will help you with setting your goals. It will inspire you.
Laugh more. Watch some stupid funny YouTube videos. Read some jokes. Anything what makes you laugh.
- How about growing a plant at home or at work? Manager on my previous job used to grow tomato. We called the tomato Bob. That was super weird but kind of fun.
Running water is considered to be helping with stress reduction because of its negative charge. Our bodies are positively charged. Negative ions are released from water by the power of nature and found in high concentrations virtually anywhere water flows. We absorb the negative ions with each breath we take. To sum it up, it balances everything out and it sounds good too.
- Take a break whenever you need it. Whether it’s five minutes or an hour at home or at work. Just sit and relax.
- Let go your inner kid. Do some stupid stuff like jumping in the puddles or crashing a frozen one.
Play with kids and pets. They can be sometimes the cause of your stress. But they also can help reduce it! They are genuinely happy and it’s contagious!
- Play sports. Anything you like. Go to salsa class or just to the gym. Do you like any team sport? You think you don’t have time for it? See number 10 of this list.
Write something. Maybe write a little poem? Or you want to maybe write a stupid story? Or maybe not stupid one? Stay creative.
Read. Lose yourself in the story. For the same purpose you can choose a movie or a live performance. Choose a comedy to combine it with number 18.
Take care of yourself. I’ll remind you here once more about the gym. If you don’t like atmosphere in the gym go do some yoga or dancing class. Treat yourself with some massage once in a while. Some sauna or just a bath.
Help others. Helping people around will be actually more helpful to you. Make sure it is a genuine desire to help. Otherwise it won’t be that satisfying.
- Talk about your problems. Whether it’s a professional, friend or a journal. Talk about your problems.
Make lists. I don’t mean planning. Just a list with no dates or deadlines. In order not to forget. You can look through them when making your plan for the next day or week. It will also help you to keep everything clear and organized. I’m a list maker. My lists are pretty stupid. I write out all the little details I'm going to do. Some authors do not recommend doing that (comparing it putting in a list “to tie shoes” - natural thing you won’t forget anyways). It helps me. It may help you. Try.
Good night sleep. You should make sure your body gets enough rest.
What if you can’t fall asleep when you have to?
BONUS for those who made it to this point :)
- Drink some chamomile, mint tea or any other kind of tea you like (just make sure it’s relaxing and NOT caffeinated!).
- Get some sniffy plants (e.g. lavender). You can easily find some herb pillows with the smell you like.
- Take a bubble bath or add some essential oils in it. Relax and enjoy.
- Cold pillows. Some scientists claim that it help us to fall asleep. It may not, but you can try! What if it works for you?
- Write out what prevents you from sleeping. All the problems, tasks, conflicts, etc. Clear your mind.
- Read a book. Make sure it’s a boring book and you’re not carried away by the plot. Like Mao Zedong's biography.
- Sometimes sounds in the background can help.
- Make sure you’re not counting sheep. You have to keep track of those sheep. It takes a lot of work to count them all up when we don’t want to activate those parts of the brain that are associated with processing information.
- Try to occupy your conscious mind with something familiar. Maybe a movie you’ve seen couple hundred times can help? Make sure the sound is very low.
- If you can’t fall asleep anyways don’t lie in the bed. Get up and go do something. Wash the dishes or organize your desk. Maybe do some meditation. Whatever you feel like. Just don’t stay in bed rolling back and forth.
The point is that you have to relax and clear your mind before going to bed and you’ll fall asleep quicker.
I really hope that if you’re struggling with stress this little list will help you reduce it. Figure out what’s your problem. Try some tips mentioned here. Do a deeper research on it. I believe in you!