Before I get started, let me first say: I am preaching to the choir on this one. I struggle to cope with stress, daily, and stressing less has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. I feel like I just literally don’t know how to, physically or mentally. But, that hasn’t and won’t stop me from trying my best to kick stress out the door this year. I truly believe stress adds nothing to my life, so I will fight it forever and ever.
Given my history with stress, you’re probably wondering why I am writing a post about de-stressing? Good question. I have a 2-part answer for you:
1. Like I said, I am preaching to the choir, here. My hope is that the more I think, reflect, and act on methods of stress relief, eventually it’ll become a more intuitive response for me. Also, writing this post is a form of accountability, emphasizing the importance of practicing what I preach. After all, we’re all in this together!
2. While I am far from perfecting the art of “stressing less,” these tips and tricks seem to, practically and effectively, help me the most. Just as every body is different, so is everyone’s way of finding stress relief. My goal is that maybe, just maybe, one or two readers will resonate and benefit from the tips below.
So, now that you know my reasons behind sharing my top ways to stress less, let’s get to the meat of this post. Shall we?
5 Ways to Kick Stress Out the Door:
1. Begin every morning in the Word. I do my best to start each day with the Lord- praying, reflecting, and reading my Bible. I notice an evident difference on the days that don’t start with Jesus. I’m quicker to frustration, anger, impatience, disappointment, judgment, the list could go on and on. I also find it easier to let the ugliness of day to day life get me down. So, it’s easy to see why beginning each day in the Word helps me cope with stress, or even better, prevent it.
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2. Commit to using a daily planner. Most would say I have type A personality. Confession time: I have a tendency to be borderline OCD in some aspects of life, too. Needless to say, I like structure and organization. They’re my BFFs. Using a daily planner helps keep my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks in order. It basically helps me keep my head screwed on straight. I use it keep track of to-do lists, schedule events/appointments, and write down reminders/notes. It’s small enough to keep in my purse, so I can take it everywhere. Getting thoughts out of my head, whether they be to-do’s or random notes, and written down on paper gives me peace. Note: on paper, not in my phone. For me, there’s a significance about physically writing, instead of typing them into my phone.
3. Get moving. Stand up, go outside, breathe in fresh air, and take a break. Often, when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, removing myself from the situation and taking a breather does an enormous amount of good. This is my chance to put things in perspective, prioritize, make a plan, or sometimes, just simply breathe and pray.
4. Fuel your body properly. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry, my brain feels like it’s shutting down. Obviously, this makes any type of stress 1000x worse. Fueling my body with nourishing foods keeps me at the top of my game, making stress that much easier to cope with. I can think clearly, logically, and effectively.
5. If all else fails, enjoy a glass of red wine. You might think I’m joking, but I’m not. When I’ve exhausted all efforts to de-stress and find peace, yet nothing seems to help, it’s time to pull out the big guns: I pour myself a glass of red wine and do whatever feels relaxing. Depending on the circumstances, “relaxing” might mean baking a new recipe, watching an hour of Netflix, taking a bath, calling a friend, mediating on the Word, or going for a walk. It varies. So, I urge you to keep your favorite red wine in the pantry for 911 moments and find an activity that you find relaxing. Also, did you know a glass of red wine is actually good for you?! It can improve your heart health, lower cholesterol, and provide you with ridiculous amount of antioxidants. Maybe I should move this up to the #1 way to stress less ;)
Take from this what you wish. I encourage you to determine some ways that help you de-stress and put them in place this year. Make it a point to intentionally stress less. Also, please remember, if you struggle with handling stress effectively, you’re not the only one. I am right there with you, and I guarantee we aren’t the only ones!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life,” Matthew 6:25-27.