How to Manage Stress Daily
As we all know, stress tends to accumulate from just about anything. And the worst part? Realizing you’re stressed makes you even more stressed. Those around me may think I live an stress-free life, but the truth is, I’ve just figured out how to manage my stress.
The key for me has been in having a daily routine. Now, this may look different for everyone. For some people, the idea of having to stick to a strict routine everyday shoots their stress level through the roof. But I didn’t say it has to be a strict routine, did I?
In order to have a low-stress day, we need to start with the night prior. Before getting in bed, make sure you have a little bit of a plan for the following day. What will you be doing? Do you need to pack a lunch for work? Do you need to lay out your workout clothes to make sure you actually work out? Do you need to move your alarm across the room to force yourself out of bed in the morning? Prepping before bedtime will not only help you sleep better (knowing everything is set), it will help you start your day with your best foot forward.
Now, let’s get to the morning. You wake up, you already know what you’re doing. If it’s work, you had a plan that helped you get out the door on time (and you didn’t forget your lunch). If it’s a day off, maybe you’re out running errands or at the gym. Another thing I always try to include in my mornings - reading my Bible. This helps me feel an overall sense of peace from God, and then I can continue on clear-minded. Once morning turns to lunch time, your plan for the day may start to unravel. Your boss just gave you a deadline that feels unreachable. Running errands took longer than expected, and now you’re behind on the cleaning.
When my day starts to go awry, the most important thing I can do is click “reset”. I do this by getting outside. A twenty-minute walk usually does the trick. I may be forced to go outside because I have a dog that needs walking, but even if you don’t - get outside every day. If it’s absolutely freezing out, do something else for twenty minutes or so that resets your brain, and energizes you for the rest of the day. Something like stretching, or doing a puzzle, or making a cup of tea. I don’t just take one of these breaks per day - some days you need more time outside, or more time working on a puzzle. Your body is telling you what it needs, you just have to listen.
As the day comes to an end, it is critical that you consider the many different ways you can spend your evening, and find what works for you. For some, watching a movie or reading a book is the best way to relax. Maybe once a week a bath is in order. For others, getting out of the house might be important. So if you work from home, that could look like running errands by yourself after dinner to unwind. Personally, I have tried all of these things and still find that watching a movie (and taking an occasional bath) after dinner really makes me feel relaxed and happy. I’ve tried cutting out TV and strictly reading instead, but for some reason, that ends up making me feel more anxious. That being said, I do try to turn off electronics an hour before bed so that my brain can start to shut down.
Once you’ve hit this point of the night, remember how we started our stress-managed day. By prepping. Do what you need to do to make tomorrow successful, and then rest assured knowing a little bit of chaos is ok, and that everything will be just fine in the end.