5 Ways to Destress

Life is stressful and writing this during the pandemic isn’t helpful. However, this pandemic has helped me better identify my stressors and how to minimize them. First, let’s define stress. Stress is your psychological perception of pressure from a circumstance or event and your body’s response to that perception. Each individual responds to stressors very differently. What may cause you stress may not cause stress for your friend (which sometimes can cause you more stress). So it’s important to identify what are the stressors for you so you can better handle them. For example, not having enough time to finish something important or enough money for something are my biggest stressors. Also, anything that could negatively impact my family is another stressor. 

Stress is important to control since long term effects include muscle tension, anxiety, depression, disease, migraines, and decreased immunity. 

How can you control stress? Many ideas are effective in controlling stress. In this blog I will share my top 5 methods that have helped me in all stages of my life. 

  1. Planning or preparing – When my schedule or workload feels overwhelming and I feel like I have too much to do, I feel that making to do lists and planning my days, weeks, and even months ahead helps me to visualize how to fit in the activities and tasks that I need to do. Sometimes after writing down a list of everything I need to do, I realize that I don’t need to finish everything today or even tomorrow. So then setting priorities for the day and putting a non-urgent task on a different day can free up my day for my next strategy for de-stressing. 
  2. Schedule time for yourself -Making time for yourself everyday to do something just for yourself is important. I schedule the last 30 minutes of my day to read because I love reading and it entertains and relaxes me. 
  3. Exercise – No matter how busy my day looks, I devote 30 minutes each morning to exercise. Starting my day with cardio, strength training, or yoga has helped me in so many ways, one of which is destressing. Just having that time to myself to focus on my health is important. Occasionally  if my mornings are packed, I move my exercise time to later in the day but unless I am too sick to stand up, I set aside at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. 
  4. Journaling – Getting rid of mental clutter through journaling helps me to feel freer in my mind. I try to journal each morning when I wake up along with meditation or prayer. Being able to write everything down that is burdening me is like a brain dump that is freeing my mind. During the pandemic and crazy election season, being able to write down my thoughts and feelings helped to free me from the negative emotions that built up and I found myself less likely to get into an argument with anyone over some of those heated topics. 
  5. Social Support – Having close friends or family members to spend time with and talk to is a wonderful way to unwind and de-stress. 

Bonus: Decluttering –  I hesitated adding this action step in my main list because it doesn’t seem like it fits in. However, this habit has helped me tremendously to destress. When I feel overwhelmed and unorganized, I find that decluttering my living environment helps me to destress. When my house or work space is messy, I can’t focus which results in lower productivity which causes more stress. So for me, spending each day or a couple days a week tidying part of my house such as the kitchen counter helps tremendously. Also, once or twice a year, I go through my closets, drawers, cabinets, and storage areas to toss or donate items. Clearing and organizing space feels so freeing and unburdened. The physical clutter results when my mental clutter increases and vice versa so being able to get rid of excess or unneeded items helps to lighten both areas of my life.