Stress is unavoidable in our culture. We work hard, the news is full of scary, sensationalized headlines, and sometimes it feels like it’s more than we can handle. How do we cope?
Going back to basics with our self-care can do wonders for the stress we deal with every day personally and professionally. This means the way we eat, move, and think.
Try these simple tips to de-stress:
Practice mindfulness: Most of the time, our minds are being pulled in many different directions. Multi-tasking doesn’t help either. Taking time to slow down, notice the beauty around us, and observe our thoughts is a great way to reduce stress and come back to the present.
Notice your feelings: We’re told that if we’re feeling a strong emotion, pleasant or unpleasant, to push through it and keep doing what we’re supposed to. But those reactions really worsen the stress. If you notice a strong emotion, just be with that feeling for a moment. Express it in a healthy way if you can. Punch a pillow if you’re angry, let yourself cry if you’re sad, journal or talk to someone if you’re scared. When we’re in touch with our emotions, this allows them to be felt and pass more quickly.
Stop dieting. Our culture has a lot to say about what we should and shouldn’t eat, and this mindset itself is a huge source of stress because we’re constantly judging ourselves for our food choices. Instead of trying to force yourself to eat a certain way, let up on the restrictions. Stop labeling foods as “good” or “bad” and instead notice how foods make you feel. Try to choose foods that make you feel good and fulfills your body’s nutritional needs, but don’t beat yourself if you choose something else. There’s room for all foods in a balanced diet.
Move your body. Instead of “exercise”, focus on moving your body in an enjoyable way that adds to your life instead of taking away from it. When I focused on moving to keep my mobility at a high level, it was more enjoyable to move. Go for a nature walk, play sports with your kids, or take those ballroom dancing lessons you’ve always want to try. Instead of thinking you have to fit in an hour-long workout each day, try fitting little bursts of movement into your daily routine. Think about taking the stairs, taking breaks from work to walk or stretch, and walking around the block after dinner instead of zoning out in front of the TV. Not only is this a lot more fun than a boring workout, it’ll keep your energy stable all day long!
Your self-care shouldn’t be another source of stress. Get back to basics to keep yourself relaxed and happy!