If you are feeling stressed out you are not alone. There are ways to reduce stressful situations in your life, but the first thing you need to do is – well, learn to relax!
1. Prioritize. It’s hard to be relaxed when you feel overwhelmed. If you prioritize tasks at home and at work, you may find this simple task will help ease tension. Take the time to decide what has to be done today. Then decide what needs immediate attention.
2. Take action. Once you know what needs to be done, don’t procrastinate. Do the immediate tasks first. If you make that call, dictate that letter, or take care of a nagging problem, it may give you a little peace of mind. Sometimes just getting the task out of the way makes you feel a whole lot better.
3. Breathe. Many of us have forgotten how to breathe. Okay, we take short breaths, the kind that make you anxious, but those long, deep, relaxing inhale/exhale routines they teach in yoga class – that’s the kind of breathing that reduces stress. Just make an effort to do some deep breathing once in a while and it may work wonders. It may also be essential, especially after you find out your deadline has been changed to tomorrow or your teenager has gotten into a fender bender in the new car.
4. Take breaks. You will have more energy and feel more relaxed if you allow yourself time to unwind. Even five or ten minutes of sipping tea, closing your eyes, or just staring out at the clear blue sky can be beneficial.
5. Set boundaries. If you have a co-worker, boss, friend or husband who rants and raves routinely, you need to find a way to discourage them. This may take some creative thinking, but it is important to find ways to divert this behavior. Some people simply walk away or politely tell the offending party to come back when they are calm. However, if the ranting and raving continues despite your best efforts, you may have some hard decisions to make about the job or relationship.
6. Go out on a regular basis and enjoy yourself. Go to the movies, see a play or dance the night away. Hire a babysitter and enjoy a candlelit dinner with your loved one. Whatever the occasion, it is important to take time out for recreation.
7. Spend time with your family. If you are spending too much time at the office and neglecting your family, this is bound to cause tension and hurt feelings. Make some time to eat together, watch a video, play a game or take a walk. After all, they are the reason you are working so hard aren’t they?
8. Laughter. You know the old saying – laughter is the best medicine. Some people swear it is a cure for almost anything, including disease. Whatever it does do, laughing makes us feel good. Why not enjoy a funny movie, cartoons, tell a joke and watch the tensions disappear?
9. Don’t take on the world. You don’t have to be superman or superwoman every minute of every day. There are others who are capable of shouldering responsibility, both at home and at the office. All you have to do is ask, but if you don’t ask for help, they won’t know you need it. The truth is most people like to be asked for help, they like to feel that they are needed.
10. Socialize. Call a friend. Go for coffee, talk about old times, reminisce, enjoy each other’s success and commiserate about hard times. Making time for your friends can help to ease (and sometimes forget about) your worries.
11. Support groups. There’s one for just about everything, from alcoholism to gambling. If you have any addictive tendencies, these groups can help you connect with others in a supportive environment.
12. Get some sleep. Believe it or not most of us are walking around sleep deprived a lot of the time. When you are tired it’s difficult to deal with stress because your body isn’t in top form. Try to find an extra half hour or fifteen minutes a day to snooze. If you can’t get to bed earlier, try getting up later, or catch a nap in the afternoon. Even if you don’t actually fall asleep, allowing your body to rest will be helpful.
13. Try something alternative. If yoga suits you, that’s good. Or maybe you prefer soothing music, meditation, essential oils, herbal teas and chanting. There are many alternative ways to help reduce stress in your life.
14. Exercise. Just about any physical activity can be beneficial in getting rid of stress, whether it be aerobics, swimming, hiking, or taking a brisk walk. People who exercise burn off a lot more than just calories. Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a workout? Those feelings of well being can help in your defense against stress.
15. Finally, have patience. Be patient with yourself and other human beings. A little patience will go a long way with your children, boss, neighbors, pets, or just about anyone that crosses your path. Next time you find yourself getting impatient, why not let it roll off your back? Ask yourself – How important is this? You may find you are getting worked up about things that really aren’t important.
Now that you’ve read through the list, don’t get stressed out about it. These suggestions are only a guide. Put the list on your refrigerator, next to your rolodex or in your purse, so that the next time you feel tension mounting you can try one of these ideas. Now … doesn’t that feel better?
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