Okay friends—school is back in session, work is in full-swing, I’m helping friends plan their weddings, I’m trying to stay in shape with the holidays right around the corner—and life in general seems to be moving at a million miles a minute! Does anyone else feel my stress?!
In an effort to calm down, mellow out, and think more clearly—I’ve come up with a list of things that help alleviate the urge to tense up and freak out when stress knocks at your door (or breaks your door down completely). I hope you find this helpful (and if you have additional tips, please don’t be shy—I love to hear others’ thoughts!).
1) Eat clean for a clear brain. It is tempting to let our emotions get the best of us—especially when we’re stressed out. Research shows that eating clean (“clean” means a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and lean meats—while avoiding as much as possible processed, sugar-laden, packaged temptations) helps with mental clarity. So, instead of reaching for the carton of Ben & Jerry’s the next time you have a presentation due and a class to prepare for, make yourself a big bowl of chopped fruit, drizzled with honey and perhaps dolloped with a tiny bit of whipped cream! I promise you’ll be satisfied without the accompanying guilt in the morning.
2) Meditate to start your day. –I make my quiet time a priority each morning. Even if I am meeting my running group at the crack of dawn, I make it a priority to have at least 20 minutes of prayer and reflection by myself before leaving the house. This helps me start my day with a clear mind, a solid foundation, and a sense of inner peace.
3) Plan times to relax. –If you’re on this blog, or if you’re anything like me, you’re probably a workaholic. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, but there is something wrong with working hard without breaks. I suggest you plan a time each week that is solely dedicated to recharging you. Different people recharge in different ways. For my boyfriend, recharging looks like videogames and computer coding (I know, he’s a dork—but they make the best boyfriends!). For me, recharging looks like a manicure and back massage, baking while listening to Jack Johnson, or a good, long run by myself. Consider your time to recharge as a valuable time to unplug. I promise, if you do this, you’ll be more efficient when it’s time to get back to work!
4) Open the window. Get some fresh air. I spend at least 8 hours of the work week inside. Whether I’m in an office or a classroom, I’m in. To de-stress, it can be very effective to get out. Open the window and simply breathe in the freshness that is the outside. (Unless, of course, you’re in Los Angeles…then, I suggest you drive outside city limits and breathe cleaner air!)
5) Send yourself flowers. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I buy myself flowers all the time. There’s something about the bright, vivid colors that makes me happy regardless of how long my to-do list is.
6) Workout! Endorphins, which are touted as the chemical release that makes you feel “happy” are produced when you work out. This means that moving can actually help you feel happier. (Not to mention, working out is crucial to staying in shape—which can be difficult when we’re stressed to the max!)
7) Become a Yogi. Though Yoga is a form of working out, I really think it deserves its own line. Why? Because yoga is just as mental as it is physical. The act of yoga allows you to reach a calm, centered space—and who doesn’t want that in the middle of chaos?!
8) Go out and let your hair down. When you’re stressed, plan a day or night to spend with your buddies. This could look like a group hike, heading to on the town (though I definitely do not recommend alcohol as a way to cope with stress), or having the girls over for a movie night. Regardless of what you do, it is crucial that you have something to look forward to—and nobody helps us forget our stresses than a bunch of friends!
9) Count your blessings. It’s easy for me to get caught up in making future plans and fulfilling obligations when I get stressed. I find that when I stop and think about what I am thankful for, I learn to live in the moment to cherish what I currently have. This mindset makes coping with the details of each day much more bearable!
10) Read this blog! J Sure, this is shameless self-promotion, but I really do strive to provide helpful tips on living healthier as a busy individual. Check out healthy recipes, advice, and motivation here at tiffstips.wordpress.com!