Though we try to avoid stress in our lives, it’s a prevalent part of our daily routine. Throughout the week, we take on various responsibilities that require a great deal of our time and energy.
As the days pile up, so do our stress levels. Between paying the bills, raising the kids, attending to your partner’s needs and working on your career, it’s hard to find time to decompress and take care of yourself.
However, none of us can really afford NOT to do this. After all, we’re only human – even the most dedicated spouse needs to recharge their batteries.
A lack of stress management skills won’t only hurt you in the long run; your family will be negatively affected as well. It’s all too common for spouses to end up taking their frustrations out on their family, snapping at them over trivial things.
Your partner and children certainly won’t appreciate a crabby spouse with a short fuse. Here are some effective ways to chill out and keep those stress levels to a minimum:
#1: Clear Your Mind
Whether you’re on your lunch break at work or have 15 minutes to spare at home, spending some time to quiet your mind is an often overlooked technique to de-stress.
No matter what your worries are, constantly obsessing about them won’t make them go away. You’ll take care of it when the time comes, so you might as well give yourself a chance to think about something else.
Better yet, try NOT thinking of anything at all. If you have a rec room at work, sit down, close your eyes and empty your thoughts.
If you’re at home, find a quiet spot you can go to daily and do the same thing. Doing nothing is the simplest way to regain your bearings and restore your focus.
When you go on long stretches of work without resting, you’ll be like a pencil that’s become dull from overuse. You might not notice it, but not giving yourself a chance to “sharpen up” will cause mental blocks.
When your mind is worn out, you’ll have a harder time making decisions. Make a daily mental note to reboot your brain when you start feeling sluggish.
#2: Reap The Benefits of Cardio
Exercise is a great way to blow off steam and keep you fit at the same time. Not only will you get the blood pumping, you’ll also have the chance to get your mind off your worries for a little while.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to become a gym rat or marathon runner. Ease yourself into your fitness routine by dedicating 20-30 minutes to cardiovascular activity thrice a week.
Just remember not to strain yourself too much. Don’t be pressured into losing drastic amounts of weight. When starting out, the important thing is to take the first step towards an active lifestyle and get the endorphins flowing.
As you used to moving around more, you can start accomplishing more focused weekly goals like running a certain number of miles, doing a set amount of reps, or any other activity that fits your preferences.
#3: You Snooze, You Win
It’s pretty obvious that getting enough sleep is important, but here’s another reason why you should. Staying up late will cause your body to produce a stress-triggered hormone known as cortisol.
Studies have shown that high levels of cortisol are linked to a greater risk of heart-related ailments and an increased desire to eat. Though it may take some effort to organize your schedule and make more time for sleep, it’s well worth the trouble.
Rearranging some items on your daily itinerary has its rewards such as greater alertness and being less irritable throughout the day. That brings us to the next tip…
#4: Strategize Your Day
Although it feels like you have a million things to do every day, you can make sense of the madness with some thoughtful planning ahead of time.
The most common method is to list down all of the things you need to do when you wake up. Instead, go back the night before and start from there.
Start off on an encouraging note by making a list of the day’s accomplishments before going to bed. If there are any unfinished tasks on your list, designate a specific completion date for them whether it’s tomorrow or later in the week.
By tomorrow morning, you will have sorted out your priorities in advance. Organizing your tasks this way reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed because you know exactly what needs to be done. By nighttime, you can repeat the cycle and get everything sorted out before the next day.
Without a clear picture in your head, your to-do items will seem like a massive, shapeless pile of worries. Going through your day with such a load on your mind is stressful in itself!
# 5: Connect With Others
As the famous saying goes, “No man is an island”. As our stress accumulates, we sometimes forget that we’re surrounded by people who can be there for us in times of need.
You don’t have to take the brunt of your daily woes on your own. Find someone to talk to, whether it’s your close friends, relatives or colleagues.
Your innermost circles can offer you a chance to get away from the grind and let your hair down. Though talking to people you trust may not directly solve your problems, venting will preserve your sanity.
What’s more, the people around you can help you see your situation from another point of view. We’re often so fixated on our worries that we forget that there’s more than one approach to things.
Don’t forget that as you carry stress, it can spread into your home and create a cycle of tension. With the proper techniques above, you can disrupt this unhealthy pattern and make things easier for yourself - along with your spouse and children.
Thank you for this article. I really like what you say about clearing your mind. Taking care of our relationships starts with taking care of our own minds. Much appreciated insights here!