By Angie Comer
Do you control your stress or does it control you? Do you feel like your life is a busy balancing act? And now with the holidays right around the corner, your already busy life is about to get kicked into overdrive. While a little bit of stress can be motivating at times, too much can be harmful to your physical and mental health.
So, how can you slow things down for the holidays and everyday, stay organized and prevent some of your unwanted stress? Below are nine stress survival tips to not only get you through the day, but put you in control of managing and conquering your stress long term.
1. Give yourself a break: Most of the time we are our harshest critic, and nothing stresses or clutters the mind quite like internal self-judgment. Pay attention to self-talk and keep it positive. When your inner critic rears up, take a deep breath and a step back. Recognizing your negative talk is the first step in replacing criticism with calm. Then replace the negative self-talk with more positive affirmations.
2. Establish routines: While setting routines may sound like a recipe for boredom, it actually helps instill a day-to-day sense of peace of mind. When we have set routines, we have fewer decisions to make during the day and less unknowns to deal with.
3. Exercise: Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health, relieve stress, improve memory and boost your overall mood. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercising for just 10 minutes a day has the ability to release endorphins, which help induce a state of mental and physical peace. So exercise your way to happy!
4. Eat nutritious foods: Food has the ability to deeply impact your mood and contribute to both positive and negative feelings. Healthy food choices aid in a variety of improvements to your overall mental and physical state, so ease up on the soda, cup cakes and cookies to reduce the chemical agitation and try some healthy energy boosting alternatives.
5. Create an intentions list: Keeping a list of ongoing tasks and projects will help organize and clear your mind. More times than not, we get stressed because the day has gotten away from us and we haven’t accomplished what we set out to do. Having an organized list will help increase your productivity, mental calm and overall focus.
6. De-clutter: Physical clutter can cause you to feel agitated and distracted. Studies have shown that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress. A tidy space brings clarity and order to the mind. Start small and work up to larger spaces around your home.
7. Prep the night before: Racing around in the morning feeling disorganized is no way to start the day. Instead, try to pick out and plan parts of your day the night before. Lay out your outfit, set a timer for your coffee maker, pack lunch — there are plenty of ways you can stay ahead.
8. Don’t forget to breathe: Jammed packed days filled with activities and errands and can be both physically and emotionally draining. Don’t forget yourself in all the madness. Schedule some distraction free time to take a step back from daily stressors; this can be as simple as taking a few deep breathes, a few minutes of meditation or simply unplugging from your mobile device for an hour.
9. It’s an inside job: Remember, inner peace is created from the inside out. When you can’t control your environment and circumstances, you can control your emotions and reactions to it. Focus on what you can control. Practice responding — as opposed to reacting — in stressful situations. Gaining control over your emotions will give you a sense of empowerment and calm.