Our general awareness of stress has improved significantly over the last few years, most people now realize that stress can undermine your health and significantly reduce energy levels. If tensions are allowed to build up throughout the week, come the weekend you may have trouble resting and recharging. When this happens there is a good chance that you will still feel tired and drained as you start the next week and so the cycle begins again.
Start your week off feeling peaceful and relaxed with this 4-step plan, which will help you to break the stress cycle before it accumulates and becomes chronic.
Step 1 – Think Positive
- Beware your self-talk. Treat yourself with compassion. Acknowledge your fears and losses. Encourage yourself to keep striving.
- Encourage gratitude. Remembering our blessings reminds us of our connection to each other and the divine. The world instantly looks a lot friendlier, and that’s reassuring.
- Manage expectations. Of course, many outcomes in life are beyond our control. Base your confidence on your ability to adapt to setbacks and changing circumstances. Accept uncertainty, and take pleasure in the opportunity to learn and stretch your skills.
- Have a laugh. Most of the things that make us uneasy have their funny side. Look for the humor in really bad parking or kitchen remodeling jobs that go way over schedule.
Step 2 – Practice Relaxation
- Slow down and smell the coffee. Do you continually rush around all week trying to meet deadlines at work and then get your children to their football or dance practice on time? Wake up early and leave a gap between appointments. Take time to pause and collect your thoughts, and listen to birds sing.
- Turn off your phone. Try to disconnect for at least an hour each day. Connect with family and friends face-to face instead of texting each other.
- Take time to pray and meditate. For many adults, spiritual traditions are the ultimate source of stability and contentment. Study inspirational texts and contemplate how they relate to your personal challenges.
- Express your creativity. Whatever your beliefs, you can blow off steam by engaging in arts and crafts. Play a musical instrument or paint a picture.
- Live mindfully. Studies show that humans aren’t very good at multitasking, and jumping from one subject to another creates anxiety. Focus on the present moment to accomplish more with less effort.
Step 3 – Take Care of Yourself
- Get enough sleep. Your body uses sleep as a time to heal the physical inflammation caused by stress. Go to bed and rise at about the same time each day. Darken your bedroom or wear ear plugs if lights and noise are disturbing your slumbers.
- Take regular exercise. Physical activity is good for your body and mind. In addition to burning calories, a run through the park will dissolve stress. Find a variety of workouts you enjoy so you can look forward to ice skating or volley ball.
- Watch your diet. Diet plays an important role in keeping us resilient and able to deal with stress. Get most of your calories from vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Reward yourself with theater tickets instead of second helpings of dessert.
Step 4 – Simplify Your Routines
- Get rid of clutter. Clean and spacious settings make it easier to relax. Gather up items you no longer use. Donate them to charity or sell them online. As a bonus, you’ll be able to complete your housework in less time, eliminating another common source of stress.
- Buy less. Prevent clutter from gaining a foothold by consuming less. Figure out how many shoes and electronic gadgets you really need.
- Eliminate unnecessary tasks. Streamline your schedule too. Focus on your most important priorities, and avoid taking on other obligations.
Cut stress off at the source. Begin your week with simple habits and easy decisions that protect your peace of mind. You’ll feel less frazzled and more alive each day.
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Till Next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor