In today’s society, stress is everywhere. Whether it is from our jobs, taking care of our families, or major life changes, everyone at some point and time will experience some level of stress. Though we can’t always control our life stressors, we can be equipped with everyday tools to help. April is National Stress Awareness Month. As a nurse-midwife, and a mom to a seven year old, I’m constantly looking for ways to decrease my stress level. Here a few of my favorite ways to relax.
- Exercise: Though you may not realize it, exercise makes us happy. Physical activity releases endorphins, or hormones that make you feel good. Exercise is a way to refocus, and get your mind off your stressors. It doesn’t have to be anything too physical—walking, gardening, swimming, yoga and meditation are all good ways to be active.
- Sleep: Lying awake at night trying to solve the world’s problem’s can impact how you handle stress. Sleeping allows our minds and bodies to recharge, improving your mood and concentration levels. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try a warm bath and a hot cup of decaffeinated tea before bed. Turning out the lights and turning the t.v. off can also improve sleep habits.
- A little creativity goes a long way: Singing, dancing, and painting are other ways to relieve stress, simply by taking your mind off whatever is bothering you. So crank up the music and break out your best dance moves, or go outside and paint your surroundings for a little stress relief.
- Just say no: You can’t do it all. Part of living a stress free life is learning to balance our daily responsibilities. Consistently saying yes to new projects at work or in your personal life cuts down on the amount of time you have for yourself and increases the stressors in your life. If you find that you are constantly overwhelmed by your daily or weekly tasks, learning to delegate or asking for help can decrease your stress level.
These are just a few of my favorite ways to cut down on stress. If none of these work for you, that’s ok. Find something that you love to do and devote a few minutes a day to helping decrease the amount of stress in your life.