“Every morning is a struggle. The bathroom is so cluttered I keep losing the kids toothbrushes. I can’t find clean clothes for the children let alone me. School books go missing in the hoard. Papers strewn all over every flat surface in the kitchen makes it difficult to prepare a healthy food. I feel frazzled and stressed out of my mind – all.the.time. This overwhelming pressure is paralysing me!” Can you relate?
Last post I talked about hoarding possibly being a survival gene gone rogue and how stress can cause us to “hang on” to weight and possessions in preparation for tough times ahead. A little bit of stress is motivating and helps us get out of tricky situations; without it we would probably still be searching for our food on the savannah. However, the ubiquitous, relentless stress of modern life is debilitating.
So what can any of us do to relieve stress and get back in control of our lives?
Here’s 12 things I’ve tried (I could always try harder of course):
- Walk – take a short 10-15 minute walk when you feel overwhelmed; we keep getting told walking is magic so maybe we should give it a go
- Breathe – try this: breathe to the count of 4, hold for 7, breathe out for 8; this will help when you are stressed and in pain
- Take a mental vacation – You’ll need 10 minutes and a quiet private spot. Imagine your happy place (mine’s a hammock on the beach under a palm tree), hear the sounds, feel the sand or the grass under your feet or the sun on your face; just like a mini-break
- Pet a small animal – this can be very soothing and reduce stress as well as help you get well quicker if you’re sick
- Laugh – watch a funny movie or YouTube video – just a smile can reduce your stress level
- Make time for fun – dance, sing, join a club, take up a new hobby…research suggests a sense of belonging will like-minded people can help decrease stress and improve depressive symptoms
- Do one thing at a time – multi-tasking will only increase stress…try to stay in the present moment not ruminating over the past or stressing over the future – be.all.there.
- Do something kind – a random act of kindness, like buying a stranger a month of free coffees, is a big gesture but even just a smile for a neighbour or complementing a co-worker reduces your stress – and theirs
- Forgive yourself – Self-compassion has taken over from self-esteem; being kind to yourself is important too
- Talk to someone – call a friend, drop into a local coffee shop; connecting with people and sharing your worries can really help reduce stress
- Throw your stress in the garbage – write down everything that’s stressing you and tear the paper up; burning it in the backyard is even better 🙂
- Change what you can – ruminating over what is outside of your control won’t help – trust me I’ve tried
Do you have any ways you decompress? Tell me about ’em.