Having spent a good part of my life dealing with stress, I have had ample time figuring out what works, and what does not work for me. These are some of my favourite stress relievers.
1. Nature. There is nothing as calming and perfect as nature for dealing with stress. In Saskatchewan, it is too frigid for a good portion of the year to get warm and fuzzy in the great outdoors. During these times I get my nature fix by going through pictures of nature – mine, those on social media, or even via Google Earth. I also tend to give my houseplants a little more TLC in the winter, just to spend time around something living and green.
2. Positive Affirmations. I keep a journal where I write out positive affirmations every morning. At night, I make a point of sending some special thoughts to any particular challenges I have coming up the next day. Both exercises tend to give me a feeling of control and a positive focus.
3. Deal With It. If I feel myself getting stressed over something I try to deal with it asap. I make the worst call of the day, deal with the most difficult file, go through the most challenging task as early as possible in the day. Once that is over, the rest of the day is easy. I try to tackle any stressful situation in the same manner. I hate personal or medical appointments. Last summer I was seriously behind in that department so I booked up the early days of my summer holiday. In three days I saw my doctor, dentist and optometrist, I got my hair cut, my nails done and my eyebrows trimmed, finally as an added bonus I took my dog to the vet to get her checkup and shots. The rest of my holiday was my best ever!
4. Own The Stress. When I start feeling stressed out, I try to find ways to make myself feel better and relieve my stress. I take a walk, do breathing exercises and meditation, practice yoga, or take a bath. I work on getting plenty of rest and make sure I am getting a healthy diet – particularly cutting back on salt, sugar, and caffeine.
5. Stretch My Safety Zone. I got this bit of advice from an article I read years ago. It said, (I am paraphrasing) “You will always feel discomfort when you are expanding your safety zone, but if you keep retracting back into your safety zone to avoid the discomfort, you will ultimately end up curled up in your bed watching your life go by. gIf you ignore the discomfort and keep pushing your limits, your safety zone will expand and your life with it.” Great advice! I welcome that feeling of discomfort now as I recognize it as a good sign.
6. Tidy Up. Clutter and mess does nothing to calm my frayed nerves. When I am stressed, I love to get neat and organized, whether I am at home or at work. The activity helps burn off nervous energy and having a clean and orderly space just makes me feel better.
7. Mental Exercise. There is a scientific reasoning behind this – if you are particularly stressed (emotional) you can calm yourself by focusing on a mental exercise. I use this one if I am waiting for a meeting, appointment or stuck in traffic. It works like a charm
These methods of stress relief work for me. I hope if you are stressed out, you will try them. And I hope that you will share any methods that work well for you!