Stress can happen to anyone, at anytime. You tend to just go and go. As human beings, we are not meant to go all the time. Remember, you are not a machine. You need to STOP, and take breaks.
For some reason the common belief, is that the more you do the better you are. All this leads to is burnout and feelings of resentment. Then, a crisis hits and everything explodes. The crisis may be a result of doing too much, and not letting go.
Here are 7 tips for reducing stress during a crisis:
- Get enough rest. You don’t have to finish every last project before you go to bed. I see this all the time, people put sleep last on the priority list. Sleep is how your body recharges. When you don’t get enough sleep you are more forgetful, and more stressed out. This is when your brain and body rest. As I said earlier, we aren’t meant to go all the time. When was the last time you had a good night’s rest? If you can’t remember, then you are long overdue. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Or, sleep how much you need to, to feel rested. That’s what is important.
- Work in small rewards daily to your schedule. You work hard and you want to enjoy life. Start to take delight in the simple things. One of my favorite treats is having a cup of coffee in the morning with my cat. She sits on my lap and purrs. I actually find this to be very relaxing. It’s a great way to start the day. It really sets a good tone. If you have a pet, spend 5 minutes playing with it before you leave for work. Buy yourself a frothy coffee drink, if you’d like. Whatever simple pleasures you’d like. Do more of them, and make sure they are guilt free.
- Stop thinking about the past. It’s easy to have regrets about the past. You can’t go back. This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the past. But, sitting around constantly having regrets about this past, doesn’t do anyone any good. This will keep you stuck. And, what you need to do is let go and move on.
- Breathe. I know this sounds obvious. Because, if you weren’t breathing you wouldn’t be alive. But, when you are stressed you either hold your breathe or breathe shallowly. The first thing you want to do is get a hold of your breathing. You may need to sit down. Clear your mind and stay in the present. Slowly inhale and slowly exhale. This will help you feel calmer during the crisis.
- Stop obsessing about the future. This is another thing you worry about. You can’t predict the future, but yet you spend so much time trying to. It’s alright to plan ahead, but don’t obsess. Meaning, stop worrying about having a bigger house or a better car. Or, will you be able to pay for your children’s college tuition. This keeps you away from enjoying the present. Pay attention to your children now, they will remember the time you spend with them more than anything.
- Make sure to exercise. I know, you’re thinking I just don’t have time for it. I’m here to tell you, that you do. Exercise is just as good for you emotionally as it is for you physically. When people don’t exercise, they are more stressed out and at a higher risk for disease. Instead of eating another donut in the morning, go to the gym. Start your day with a good sweat, and reap the rewards.
- Don’t live on caffeine, or any other substance for that matter. Do you rely on caffeine to get through the day? If you said yes, then you need to cut back. Caffeine fuels anxiety. Not to say, you can’t enjoy a morning cup of coffee. But, you might want to stop there. Especially if you feel stressed out most of the time. Replace caffeine with vegetable juice. Make sure there is no added sugar. Your body and mind will appreciate it.
Allow some time for these changes to take place. Start with one of these tips today. It's really best to take it one day at a time. It’s time to start giving yourself a break. This will help you feel better in the long run.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped people reduce stress in their life, and embrace the present. For more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.