We all know that stress can be bad for us, but not all stress is bad stress. When I think about when and why I’ve been stressed in the past, it’s a pretty fair balance of both good and bad circumstances.
For example, when I was planning my wedding, I was often stressed with managing bills, choosing vendors and navigating familial requests, but it was all for a really terrific reason. I was marrying the man I love.
Then, a year or so after our wedding, we wanted to buy our first home together. I was stressed because my father had passed away and I was very unsettled that I didn’t have his guidance to walk me through it. But, it taught me to lean on my husband instead, and yet again, my stress was for a really good reason. We were buying a house!
Fast forward a few more years, and I became really, really stressed when we were trying to conceive. We found out that my plumbing was busted, so we had to deal with a lot of meds and injections, and monthly heartaches, for a long time. But again, it was for a really fantastic reason. We were starting our family!
So, stress is pretty unavoidable because even when you’re doing something amazing, you’re bound to get stressed out. Over the years, I’ve honed in on some pretty steadfast ways to reduce my stress levels. Whenever I feel my shoulders starting to scrunch up by my earlobes, I know I’m in need of some stress relief – fast. I like to cycle through the list below and I try do a few, if not all of these things, each day. I find that most of these stress relievers are pretty intuitive once you force yourself to think about what truly relaxes you.
MY TOP 10 WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS
1.) Plan out my days (and weeks) ahead of time.
I am a huge fan of lists. They’re everywhere. I have post it notes on the fridge, a dry erase board by the side door, a menu board in the kitchen, and two different calendars for two different things. I am a highly visual person, so I need to “see” things in order to make sure they get done on time. I’m much happier when I know what’s going on.
2.) Pick out my 3 “Must-Do” Tasks for each day…while I’m in the shower.
I do some of my best thinking in the shower. It’s one of the few places that I get to be alone (and I’m sure many Moms can relate!). While I’m in there, staring into space, surrounded by hot, steamy water – I think about the 3 most important things I have to do that day. It keeps me focused and makes me feel in control of my much larger list of To-Dos.
3.) Delegate responsibilities.
It has taken me a very long time to accept that not everything is my responsibility.
Up until last March, I was a big ‘ole ball of stress. I was snapping at my husband, I was feeling really down in the dumps, and I was internalizing way too much. My husband is a 2-time Ironman finisher (Amazing, right?!) and he is always so upbeat. It took me a long time to realize that the reason he was so happy (and healthy) was because he exercised…a lot. I made it a mission of mine to learn how to run 3 miles by the end of that summer and I cannot believe the change in my stress levels. I am much less stressed now that I can put on my sneakers and go for a run whenever the need arises.
5.) Play with my kids.
As someone who didn’t think she was ever going to be able to have kids, I take great pleasure in hanging out with mine. Obviously, they bicker – most kids do, but I try to be mindful of the fact that I almost didn’t have any. So whether we’re walking in the “Witchy Woods” looking for fairy houses and rabbits, or hanging out at the beach swimming and collecting 9,000 sea shells, or I’m just sitting on the couch with them looking at their latest Minecraft masterpieces, I love being with them. A hug from one of my children is honestly the best feeling in the whole wide world. (So, so sappy, but so, so true!)
6.) Practice Mindfulness.
I am really working on this one. I tend to live in the future – always stressing about what might happen. But, I have been trying very hard to focus more on being here. Right here. Right now. It isn’t always easy for me, but when I take the time to do it, I feel much more at ease.
Sounds silly, right? It’s not. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Paradoxical vocal-cord dysfunction (PVCD), which is usually found in athletes, which is pretty amusing because as I mentioned in #4, I didn’t do bean squat before last March. Anyways, when you have PVCD you have an “inappropriate closure of the vocal cords during respiration, resulting in airway obstruction.” It’s a pretty unsettling thing to have because you randomly go into stridor — and it freaks you out. Apparently, after years of unknowingly holding my breath in times of stress, I had taught my vocal cords to close up like that. I ended up having to go to speech therapy for a few months to learn how to breathe properly again. Yep, you read that right. I don’t know how to breathe. So breathe, my friends, breathe!!
8.) Have a cup of tea…in the afternoon.
Tea reminds me of our Grandparents. For as long as I can remember, they drank a cup of tea together at 2pm every single day in their little cream-and-green tea cups. I have so many love-filled memories of them — and their daily tea sessions. Now, whenever I’m needing a spiritual lift, I recapture those peaceful moments by drinking my own cup of tea. I sit in my chair by the window, waiting for the kids get off the school bus, and practice mindfulness while I’m drinking it. It centers me…right before I have to delve into common core math homework. 😉
9.) Talk to someone.
Sometimes, I talk to my sister; she tells me what I need to hear even when I don’t want to hear it. Sometimes, I talk to my brother; he’s fantastic at making me laugh. Sometimes, I talk to our Mom; she’s really wonderful at reassuring me that I’ll be okay. Sometimes, I talk to my husband; he’s amazing. Sometimes, I talk to God; he’s a really great listener. Sometimes, you just need to talk though something to be able to see it for what it really is.
10.) When all else fails, try a natural, homeopathic stress-reliever.
Even though I have a pretty solid list of things to do in times of stress, it’s not always enough. When that happens, I feel confident in using RESCUE Pastilles, which are made with all natural ingredients. They help me stress less, stay calm and be more in control. I researched a lot of natural products before I decided to add RESCUE to my medicine cabinet.
Trusted for generations and developed by a doctor, RESCUE products are gentle and safe, and are non-habit-forming with no side effects. I buy mine at Wild By Nature, but you can also find RESCUE stress relief products at CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sprouts and wherever you find natural products!
So, what do you do to relieve stress in both good times and bad? Share your ideas with us! While you’re at it, check out this great coupon for RESCUE products. Don’t forget to breathe, Denine
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.