Stress is all around us and nearly unavoidable. No matter what happens in your life, your ability to cope and deal with stress is constantly changing. Especially with the impending holiday season, it is important to have many tools to draw upon when that stress comes our way.
1) Exercise: I know, the last thing you want to do when you have no time, and are so busy you can't even sit down. But, I believe that even in your craziest day, that there is 10 minutes either right when you wake up, or right after lunch, or before bed. 10 minutes that you can either just go for a walk to get the mail, or do a few yoga poses, or even just a 7-minute workout that you can find at http://7-min.com/ to do while you're waiting for your water to boil for dinner.
2) Getting outside: again, but where is the time for all of this? Getting outside even means just parking a little bit farther from your work so you can walk for a few minutes longer and breathe in some fresh air. Or taking 2 minutes after lunch to just walk around the block and refresh yourself for the second half of the day. It doesn't have to be a big change to make a big difference - you just have to be willing to do it!
3) Eating properly: we all know that not eating properly voids us of many nutrients we need, that give us energy and help us get through the day. B vitamins have been shown to be helpful for stress and anxiety symptoms. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, eggs, and fruit are high in B vitamins, so try to adding a dose of one of these to your daily routine.
4) Finding your outlet: whether it is listening to or creating music, making art (adult colouring books, anyone?), walking, baking, journaling, reading, yoga, taking a bath, knitting etc... Take the time to find at least ONE thing that makes you feel centered and calm, and use it as your go-to when things start to get a little hairy.
5) Meditation/Mindfulness: the most challenging but also the most worth it. It is like any skill, you have to keep practicing to improve and get the most out of it! I usually recommend starting with just a few minutes each day to get used to the process. I love having apps on my phone so I can do this at any time of the day where I have anywhere from 1 extra minute to 30. You can also tailor them to what you like - different backgrounds, themes, guided, or just peace and quiet. With the constant "go-go-go" of our society it is important to take a few moments and just focus on yourself and NOT your to do list. Time to quiet your mind and not have to think about what you are making for supper or where you have to take the kids next. I love the app Calm (or visit www.calm.com) and Stop, Breathe & Think.
6) Make an appointment: If you can't find the time in your day to do some of these things, make it! Scheduling appointments in advance to get a massage, acupuncture, or even just to talk to someone. These are a few ways you can build self-care into your hectic schedule. It is an opportunity for you to take some time for yourself, and when that day of the week finally arrives you'll be so thankful you did!
What are your favourite stress-relieving tips?