Stress is unavoidable. It’s the body’s way of alerting us that something isn’t quite right. Your workplace could be toxic and out of alignment with your goals. You could be in an unhealthy relationship or not caring well for your body and mind.
Take note of moments and seasons of stress as you experience them. Pay attention to their potential triggers and put in the work to address them before they become worse. Prioritize your mental and physical health before all else. While this doesn’t mean you should shirk all adult responsibility, there are things you can do to de-stress your life. Check out these six tips and start reducing your stress today.
Put Good In, Get Good Out
After a breakfast of donuts, energy drinks, and a sugary frappuccino, it makes sense that you’d feel sluggish. All of those treats are delicious and fun, but they’re not ideal for every day. Our bodies were not designed to subsist on primarily processed foods. Practice eating whole foods that your body is likely to recognize.
It may not be the most exciting diet, but you may be surprised at how flavorful nature’s bounty can be. Seek out new herbs and vegetables at your local farmer’s market or international market. When you eat foods that are more closely tied to the earth, your body is better able to digest them. And when your body is working at an optimal level, everything else is more likely to fall into place.
Improve Your Relationship With Money
One of the most common sources of stress is money. You may not have enough money coming in, or you don’t know where all of it went by the end of the month. No matter your income, financial stress knows no boundaries.
Human nature often encourages us to maximize what we obtain with what we earn. It’s likewise very common to expand your budget as soon as your salary improves. This psychological blunder leaves many people living paycheck to paycheck even if their W-2s suggest they should be more than comfortable.
Improve your relationship with money by first setting a budget you can stick with. If you have bad credit, don’t despair. Check out a credit builder card and get working on repairing your credit today. Such cards are secured by a cash transfer that you make to your credit account. As you make prudent use of the card, your good credit history is communicated to the reporting bureaus. Over time, your credit score will improve.
Get to Know — and Advocate for — Yourself
It’s easy to lose yourself in the daily hustle. With the responsibilities imposed by your job and the people who rely on you, it can be a lot to manage. Before you know it, you’re 40 years old and have no idea who you are or what you’re doing. No matter your age, now is the time to wake up.
Commit to working on yourself for the next month. Check out personality assessments like the Enneagram to unpack how you understand and interact with the world. Seek out workplace personality assessments like the DiSC assessment or the Predictive Index. These tools can help you understand your work styles and strengths.
Read up on all of this information and journal your findings. At the end of the month, you should have a really good picture of who you are and how you see the world. With a better understanding of who you are, you can build a life that causes you less stress.
Prioritize Close Relationships
Social media, workplace mixers, and endless obligations can make it difficult to tell who your friends are. Instead of trying to please and impress everyone, take an inventory of your friend group. Which of your friends give you joy and energy during your get-togethers? Which friends encourage you to engage in nasty gossip or complaining sessions?
Identify the people who add something positive to your life and those who don’t. Instead of trying to please everyone, maintain a group of close friends and prioritize your time with them. Likewise, cherish your family members. If relationships have been strained in the past, consider whether some (or all) of them can be mended. Even if they cannot, spend time with the family members you hold dear.
Say yes more often to family cookouts, visits with friends on your way through town, and phone calls during your commute. According to the Mayo Clinic, friendships can enrich your life and improve your health. With those benefits, you’ll never regret spending extra time with the ones you love.
Create Meaningful Moments
It’s easy to go through the motions in life. If you work full-time and have children, weekends are often spent getting ready for the week ahead instead of relaxing. That’s why it’s even more important to create meaningful moments when you can.
This may mean spending the first 15 minutes after you get home from work playing basketball with your kids. It could also mean planning a big family vacation with your siblings, their kids, and the grandparents. A trip like that may be something you need to budget for and could be daunting to plan. However, the memories you make and the experiences you have will be worth it.
Not that you have to engineer a big blowout for a moment to be meaningful, of course. Spending time with one another in true, focused connection is what’s important here.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Do you ever feel as though you’re going through life on autopilot? If so, it may be time for you to set some healthy boundaries around your time and energy. Practice saying no when you’re offered the opportunity to partake in something that is either draining or unpleasant to you. This may seem to contradict the advice given above, but you are under no obligation to say yes to every social gathering.
Aside from saying no to external demands, practice saying no to things that cause you problems. For example, if you find that imbibing makes you unproductive the next day, reserve cocktails for special occasions. It’s important to pay attention to your time and guard it. Time is non-renewable no matter your social status or bank account balance. Treat it like the precious resource it is.
Start De-Stressing Your Life Today
Life should not leave you in a constant state of stress or despair. Identify the stressors in your life and determine what you can do to address them. It may be that the best thing you can do is just let some of them go.
If a person in your life is a constant source of stress, you may need to break ties. If your job is the problem, it could be time to find a new employer or even a new career path. No matter the solution or tactics you can employ, the most important thing you can do is advocate for yourself. Step back from life as you know it, and rebuild a low-stress one that you can treasure.