Life is Stressful
Let’s face it. Life has a knack for being stressful, hectic, and chaotic. We face demands from our spouses, kids, extended family, friends, bank accounts, jobs, outside interests, and more. If you’re one of my special needs readers, that adds another layer of stress.
I can’t wave a magic wand and make your life calmer. I can, however, pass on things that help me deal with stress.
Create Calm with These Tips
- Accept your now if you can’t change it. If there is something in your life that frustrates the daylights out of you, but it is not in your power to change it, find a way to live with it. The more you obsess and stress over it, the higher your blood pressure goes. The longer you mull over the awfulness of it, the longer you stay stuck in thoughts and anger that pull you down. It clouds your ability to see your blessings. If there is something you can do to make things better, do it.
- Laugh. Laughing relieves stress. Watch a funny movie. Be silly with your kids. Find a funny YouTube video.
- Learn deep breathing and use it. Deep breathing really works. It increases oxygen flow and slows your heart rate. If you’re not familiar with the how-tos, read this. Sometimes it only takes a breathing break to keep me from screaming at my kids or bursting into tears.
- Find ways to be grateful. Focusing on what we don’t have and how life stinks adds to our stress. Gratitude changes our perspective. Believe me, some days I have a really hard time to find something I’m thankful for. I’m not standing up here on a pedestal. I’m in the trenches. If nothing else, find something that DIDN’T happen that you can be glad for.
- Put your senses to good work. Light candles, enjoy some tranquil or upbeat music, use scent to create a calmer atmosphere, wear clothes that make you feel good, decorate with pretty things or inspirational quotes–I’m sure that list gets your mind going.
- Reduce clutter. The more clutter around you, the more claustrophobic and stressful you feel. Purge with the diligence of a bloodhound chasing a scent–leave no pile unsorted! Use your library card instead of buying more books to dust. Donate clothes you haven’t worn or your kids have outgrown. Be ruthless and you’ll feel better afterward!
- Minimize obligations. Did you know you don’t need to say “yes” to every opportunity? Calm your life by downsizing the number of places you have to go and the things you have to do. I am often thankful for being a one-car family because it naturally reduces what I can and cannot do.
- Stop complaining. When you complain, you’re thinking about all the things going wrong and what you don’t like. That certainly does not reduce your stress and create calm. Not sure of how often you complain? Wear a rubber band on your wrist for a week or a month and flick it every time you catch yourself complaining. You may be surprised to discover how much complaining you do. And guess what–we pass that spirit to our kids.
- Take breaks. Give your body a chance to relax, even if it’s just five minutes. Most afternoons I have a cup of hot chocolate. I’m also getting back to having “rest time” in the afternoon. My boys outgrew naps years ago, but our days go more smoothly when we all have some time in the afternoon to relax.
- Become aware of your stressors. I stopped watching the news years ago. It depresses me and causes anxiety. Are there certain things you should just avoid because they cause more stress for you? If you can’t avoid it, how can you prepare emotionally, mentally, and physically to reduce the stress? For example,
- Use paper. Write down what’s causing your anxiety. Keep a journal. Play tic-tac-toe to help you get things done. Jot reminders if forgetfulness is causing stress. There are so many ways to use paper to help calm your life (Just don’t let it pile up and become clutter!).
- Enjoy something. Having something you like to do gives you a break from the chaos of life. Read a good book. Learn a new skill. Find a hobby. Resuscitate an old hobby. Visit new places. All of these things will benefit you.
Well, now. Look at that! There are twelve ideas here. You could work on one per month for 2014 and come out calmer on the other side!
Which one will you try first? Do you have other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!