There’s so much talk out there about stress. Everyone seems to be stressed out, plus more and more people seem to be suffering from anxiety.
And the same people keep complaining about how stressed they are all the time – like it never gets better.
I know that I get stressed pretty easily. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy person. I’m happy with my life, I’m grateful for who/what I have. I’m generally pretty positive – just ask my husband!
The strange thing is that it seems like as life gets better, I get more stressed. I know that when things in my life were harder (mentally, financially, and otherwise) I kept pushing through, determined to make things better.
But as soon as things were better, all I could think was “What if it gets worse again? What if I lose it all? What if I fail? What if things go back to how they were – or worse?”
Recently, I’ve become much better at handling stress.
A lot of problems in my life (especially mentally) started improving after I became more serious about growing in my relationship with God. I wanted to say that, but I won’t get further into it. You can totally email me if you want to chat more about that, though! 🙂
In this post, I just thought I’d share 9 ways to reduce stress that I’ve learned and experienced for myself!
1. Make it a point to exercise
I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before. Exercise and endorphins and so on. But you hear it so much because it’s so TRUE. Honestly. Soon after I started exercising regularly, I noticed my mood improving daily. I felt more upbeat and positive.
If you’re someone who just doesn’t enjoy exercise, I’ll bet it’s because you haven’t found the workout method that you love yet.
For example, I get bored with repetitive exercises such as “do X push-ups, Y situps, Z squats, etc.” But I love running, biking, and swimming. I also love dance video workouts like Zumba or Country Heat or POPSUGAR. But that’s about it, other than yoga.
So my advice for you is to try different workouts and methods until you find one (or a few) that you really enjoy and have fun with. Ones that make you feel good. When you find one you enjoy, it won’t be so hard to bring yourself to do it!
Related reading: Finding Motivation to Exercise
2. Spend less time on social media
There have actually been studies that show heavy use of Facebook and other social media is linked to depression.
When you’re already feeling stressed or you already have anxiety/depression/BPD/etc then it’s hard to look through social media and see the best, most curated moments of other people’s lives and compare them to the worst moments of your own. Just remember that people rarely share their worst moments on social media.
Plus, I see so many photos on social media of all of the wonderful things people do and the wonderful places people go. Sometimes I wonder how people seem to get photos of EVERY SINGLE THING that they do. I mean, it’s nice to have photos documenting things that you do (especially when it’s something special) but taking photos to put on social media shouldn’t always be at the forefront of your mind.
It can be hard to avoid social media when it’s part of your job, but let’s be honest – you can still lower the amount of time you spend on it. You could use automation tools like Buffer and BoardBooster. You can also delete the apps from your phone to keep yourself from scrolling through them when you don’t need to.
3. Get away/distract yourself/do something fun
One thing that’s gone a long way toward helping with my stress and anxiety, in general, is to intentionally schedule fun things into my schedule. To be honest, I used to be bad about having fun – I can be a bit of a workaholic.
Enjoy life, do things that make you happy and distract yourself from your worries, and get away. You can do this by taking a vacation, scheduling a staycation, or just doing fun things on the weekend like going camping, going to concerts, visiting the beach, having a girls’ night, or whatever else floats your boat.
Just make sure that you do these things regularly to keep the stress down and live in the moment more.
4. Get an adult coloring book (or 4)
Okay, so I actually have 4 adult coloring books (plus an adult coloring calendar) so it’s safe to say that this is a relaxation method that works for me.
I have this awesome coloring book, this animal coloring book, and 2 Christian coloring books from my husband for Christmas that I can’t find online. But one is similar to this one (but with Bible verses) and one is a Bible similar to this one.
But anyway, adult coloring books are a great art therapy technique. Coloring in them puts me into an almost meditative state. It’s a great way to turn off your brain for a while and just relax.
I usually color in mine a couple of times a week, but it’s definitely a great activity to do anytime you’re feeling particularly bad stress or anxiety.
5. Keep a journal
I admit it, I’m a journal junkie. But journals are great for literally SO MANY things. Things like expressing yourself creatively, keeping track of lists and plans, venting about your problems, gaining perspective and clarity about life, and more.
I actually wrote a full post on journaling that you can read right here if you want to know all about why I keep one, how to start one, and a free list of 50 things to write about when you’re stuck!
6. Declutter your home and life
It’s been said that your environment can really affect your mood. I don’t know about you but when my house was cluttered, I felt cluttered. A messy home can literally make you feel overwhelmed, it can make it hard for you to relax or think straight. There are even studies linking it to depression.
Decluttering my home and (mostly) only keeping the things that I love or need, plus simplifying my life and becoming more organized, helped me to feel way more relaxed and less stressed. I also wrote a blog post on how to simplify and declutter your life right here if you want to check that out. It can be a lengthy process, but it’s so worth it!
7. Treat yourself
Self-care is so important. Sometimes, we’re extremely hard on ourselves. I know that I am. I’m a nice person, I’m sensitive and empathetic, and I’m always scared of hurting people’s feelings. But I can be really mean to myself.
I’m sure that a lot of you are the same way. Sometimes we forget to show ourselves compassion or treat ourselves or just be nice to ourselves. One thing that can help with this is to regularly spoil, pamper, or reward ourselves. Give ourselves a break sometimes.
I have a couple of posts about how to reward yourself and how to treat yourself – and remember these things don’t always have to be saved for special occasions or for reaching our goals:
8. Create an awesome morning routine
I’m someone who loves planning, schedules, organization, and routines. I like to be spontaneous, but for the most part, I like to have that spontaneity scheduled into my day. Just kidding, haha (sort of!)
Being organized and having a routine helps me feel more put together, to know what to expect, and to feel more in control of my stressors. I especially love my morning routine because it honestly does set the tone for a more relaxed and productive day.
I wrote a few posts on having better mornings that you can read here:
- How to Create Your Perfect Morning Routine (free worksheet)
- How to Become a Morning Person
- 5 Ways to Have an Awesome Morning
- 35 Morning Affirmations to Start Your Day Right
9. Have a hobby or an outlet
Having a hobby or an outlet can totally help you relieve your stress and get in a “happy zone” or better mood. Whenever you’re feeling stressed or you can feel the tension building up, spend some time on your favorite hobby (or hobbies).
If you don’t have a hobby, try out a few different ones until you find one that sticks. If you can’t think of anything, brainstorm it, look online or try out some of your friends’ favorite hobbies. A few of my favorite ones (outside of writing and blogging) are drawing, crochet, reading, video games, and candle making. I’m a bit of a nerd! 😉
These are the things that have helped me the most when it comes to dealing with stress in life. What’s your best tip?