DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. The information in this post isn’t meant to treat or cure anxiety or depression. I am simply sharing my story and what has worked for me. If you are struggling with your mental health, please go see a professional! Take care of yourself, babe. <3
Recently on Instagram I shared that over the last few months, i’ve intentionally focused on lowering the stress in my life. I got so many questions on what i’ve done to lower the stress in my life so I thought I would write about it here!
Let’s face it, life is unpredictable and can often be stressful. In today’s society the “busy badge” is worn as a badge of honor, but even though we’re all busy, why are we dealing with chronic stress and anxiety? Being “busy” and “stressed” often go hand in hand. But why? That’s what i’ve been trying to figure out.
I think everyone deals with stress/anxiety in different ways but I do think it impacts us all and so it’s important to discuss. Unresolved stress over time can turn into debilitating anxiety and/or depression. I’ve been there. There was once a time in my life where I was having multiple panic attacks a day. If you haven’t read my story of working through anxiety, you can read it here.
Over the last few months i’ve really been studying the specific stress response in my body. When I start to feel tense, nervous, and anxiety begins to cripple in, I stop myself and reflect on WHY i’m feeling this way. I’ve realized that most of the stress I deal with in my daily life is self-inflicted. I’ve learned that there are certain things/events/people that trigger the stress response in my body. By figuring out what these are, i’ve been able to greatly reduce the daily stress in my life. My life isn’t any less “busy” but i’m able to manage it better because i’m self-aware enough to know when i’m pushing myself too far or entering into the “red zone”.
Here are five tangible and practical changed I’ve made in my life to greatly reduce my stress. Through the realization that most of the stress I feel is self-inflicted, i’ve been able to figure out exactly how I let myself get into a stressful situation. From there, I create boundaries in my life so that those situations don’t come up as often and i’m able to experience more peace. My hope is that you will make your OWN mental health a priority and identify ways you can lower stress in your own life! If you would like to hear more on this topic or my personal story to wellness, I would highly recommend my book, Live Well & Love Yourself. You can get it here.
Identify your triggers-
Like I previously mentioned, knowing what triggers the stress response in your body is so crucial when aiming to lower the stress in your life. What makes you stressed to begin with?
-Is it your job? Get specific. What specifically in your workplace brings you stress? Do you procrastinate or fail to effectively communicate which could contribute to the stress you feel? Do you lack organization or time management which could contribute?
-Is there a specific person in your life that makes you stressed? Do you LET someone else make you stressed? If so, maybe it’s time to put in some healthy boundaries in place to protect yourself.
-Are you a people pleaser? Does the stress of what others may think make you stressed? Are you constantly measuring and comparing yourself to others? If so, it’s time to stop consuming content that makes you feel like you aren’t measuring up. It’s time to get laser-focsed on your own life and create boundaries for yourself.
-There could be SO MANY other triggers. These are just some examples to get you thinking of the personal stress-triggers you have in your own life! Whatever your triggers are, take the necessary steps to eliminate them or limit them from your life!
Develop morning and evening rituals-
Our bodies work on best routines and rhythms. For someone who is NOT naturally organized or routine-driven, i’ve had to really grow in this area. That being said, I think creating morning and evening rituals is so crucial to giving yourself time to rest, recharge, and reset for the next day. I’ve learned to be really intentional about my evenings. I don’t make plans that I know will end late, because I know that sleep needs to be a priority for me. I start winding down around 7pm most evenings and aim to put my phone away around that time too. Evenings are for reading, journaling, drinking tea (chamomile is my favorite), and unwinding in every way. These evening rituals ensure that i’m ready to face the next day! As far as mornings go, I drink a ton of water, do a short stretching/yoga practice, and read or do a devotional every single morning. I also don’t sleep in very often because I know that if I start off my day early, I have time to do my morning ritual and really set the stage for the day. Your morning and evening rituals may look different than mine, but I think that being intentional during these two specific times in your day will help you gain better balance in your life which will greatly contribute in lowering your stress levels!
There is so much clarity we can find when we STOP to gain clarity and perspective. I think a lot of us believe the lie that we have to busy ALL THE TIME in order to be productive. Or maybe you have a crazy schedule that doesn't allow for much stillness. Either way, I think its important to make stillness apart of your daily routine. For me, I practice stillness during my morning yoga practice. For you, it may look like evening meditation or simply, taking five minutes of deep breathing in your car before heading into work. When we allow our minds to be still, we are able to better process our emotions. This will lead to less emotional build-up and “clutter” In our brains, which ultimately leads to less stress that we experience.
Express how you feel-
This goes along with practicing stillness. It’s imperative that you find away to express your emotions. Stuffing or ignoring emotions will only add stress to your life in the long run. For me, whenever I feel stress from “emotional build-up” I know its time to take out my journal and let it all out on the paper. Maybe for you, it’s talking your emotions through with a trusted confidant. Maybe it’s going on a long run. However you best express yourself, make sure you make time to do that on the weekly basis. This is one of the best preventative measures i’ve been able to take to keep stress from building up in my life.
Prioritize your well-being-
Your health is sacred. Truly. If you aren’t taking care of your body, mind, and soul, you are letting unnecessary stress build up in your body. If you aren’t eating nourishing health-filled food or moving your body to release endorphins (hello NATURAL stress inhibitor), you aren’t prioritizing your well-being. YOU ARE WORTH IT! You get ONE body and ONE life. Treat yourself with LOVE! You can’t truly succeed in other areas of your life if you aren’t succeeding at taking care of yourself. Prioritize your well-being. Do what it takes to create healthy habits and boundaries in your life. If you need more help in this area, I would HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy of my book as it goes over all of this in-depth.
I really hope that these tips motivate and inspire you to take action on some areas in your life that are causing you stress. I know what it’s like to be spread thin, unable to cope with massive amounts of anxiety, and paralyzed in the expectations you put on yourself. I want to encourage you that whatever stress you are coming across in your life right now, there IS hope! You WILL get through it! You are STRONG!!! Let me know if you have any other questions on this topic because it is something I am super passionate about and I would love to help in any way I can!