Tips for Managing Stress In the New Year
Sometimes getting up and moving when you are stressed or anxious is the last thing on your mind but the bottom line is that it helps! Get moving, sweat, and power through that frustration and stress. Exercise can be simple stretching all the way to intense circuit training. No matter your preference it is always a great option to make time for exercise. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. Get those endorphins releasing into the brain and improve your mood!
Breathing is a good thing, it is what keeps our bodies alive but making mindful breathing a part of your daily life will result in some great stress relief. When we are stressed our body does go into the fight or flight mode which in turn leads to increased heart rate, changes in muscle tone, changes in blood pressure and in your concentration/focus. We stay at this level until we can get our system to return both body and mind to resting state. To get to that state the use of mindful breathing is key! Focus on taking single, full and deep breaths; focus on the breathing and refocus and start over if necessary. Mindful breathing is a whole body experience that will help get your stressed body and mind to a level state.
How many of us often resort to the worst case scenarios and thinking? Probably all of us at one time. Thinking that way will only hurt your state of thinking. Re-framing the way you think into a more positive outlook can help avoid stress too. Changing the way you look at your life can truly change your life! Sure, you will have bad days but make time in those stressful situations to see those challenges as gifts and opportunities. Finding quotes that inspire your positive outlooks may also be beneficial.
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Laughing is good for you! Laughter is a free and enjoyable stress management tool that we can all indulge in more than we currently do. Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions. I know that after a good laugh with friends I feel good. I feel refreshed. Finding opportunities to laugh even in the middle of a stressful situation will help clear your head and bring that refreshed feeling you need.
Sleep and rest is so important for managing stress. Too little sleep leaves us cranky, irritable and on edge. Too much sleep can leave us sluggish and depressed. None of those moods are helpful in stressful situations, in fact they can lead to stress! Try to find the right balance that allows you to feel well-rested and ready for the day. Finding your bedtime ritual is a great start – those that signal your brain that it’s time to fall asleep. We are all busy so sometimes it is hard to leave the stress behind and find that balance but it is a must!
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