7 Ways to Practice Self-Care and Prevent Stress from Taking Over Your Life
When the workload piles up, it’s easy to get buried in it and let the ensuing stress control your life. Spending after-hours answering emails or leaping from one task to the next may feel productive, but actually only increases your anxiety even more. Give yourself a well-earned break and try these self-care tips.
Make Your Home More Serene
Just like it takes up space in the house, clutter can overwhelm your mind, causing stress and anxiety. A clean, organized home will result in relaxation and improved productivity. Take a little time each day to decide what to do with your things, and get rid of anything that isn’t precious to you. Organize your drawers and closets, too, so that it’s easier to find things in these smaller spaces. Then, create a healthier environment by cleaning it. If this seems overwhelming to you, a cleaning service can do it for you. The average cost to hire one in Evanston is $96-$182.
Avoid Negative Coping Mechanisms
Grabbing a drink to unwind can sound like a great idea after a long day. Every once in a while is fine, but if you experience chronic stress and constantly find yourself at the bar, you are in danger of developing an alcohol or other substance abuse problem. While alcohol can temporarily relieve stress, if you keep using it, you will grow a tolerance to its stress-relieving side effects. Instead, focus on healthy and productive coping mechanisms.
Take Care of Your Body
When you’re in the thick of things, it’s easy to think you do not have time to have a healthy meal. If you do this, you are doing yourself a disservice. Eating a balanced diet will give you more energy and help you focus. Don’t eat at your desk, either. Sit down and have a proper meal; your body and brain will welcome the break. If time is a barrier for eating well, signing up for a meal delivery service is a great option. There are plenty of options to choose from; no matter which service you go with, you’ll receive ingredients for portion-controlled meals, and many programs offer light and diet-sensitive fare. You can get quality meals delivered for as little as $6.99.
It is not enough just to eat right. Exercising is another great way to relieve stress and stay in shape. Even a 30-minute walk around the block can do wonders for your physical and mental health. If you’re a senior, certain Medicare Advantage plans cover the Silver Sneakers program, which can offer memberships to participating gyms. Remember to get enough sleep as well. Lack of sleep heightens anxiety and depression. According to Time Magazine, the average adult should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Pick Up a Hobby
Picking up a new hobby might sound kind of intimidating at first, but it’s actually very beneficial when it comes to managing your stress and helping you relax at the end of a long, hard day. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at painting, for example, now’s the perfect time to give that a shot. Those who’ve always dreamed of learning how to play an instrument can finally make that dream come true. If you’re new to the world of music and want something a little easier at first, clarinets or saxophones are both great instruments for beginners.
Play and Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. It has physical and mental benefits — from improving heart health to relieving stress and tension. If you aren’t LOLing enough, find ways to work more laughter into your life. In addition to setting aside time each week to listen to your favorite funny podcast or watching your favorite comedy on Netflix, a great way to laugh more each week is through play. Play can include unstructured time, such as sharing a funny story with your friends over dinner, or structured time, such as participating in an improv class, where in addition to laughing a ton you’ll work on communication and support skills.
When your job feels like it is piling on one thing after another, it can be tempting to just try to power through it, but your brain needs a break. Just as you need to give your body a chance to recover between workouts, stepping away from work to clear your head will help you feel recharged. You can go get some fresh air or just browse the internet for a few minutes.
It is also important to leave work at work. At the end of the day, clock out. Working long hours is not good for your health and can weaken your productivity. Forbes encourages you to wrap up your day and prep for the next one by creating to-do lists, but not starting until the next day. This may mean learning to say no to your boss. While that can be intimidating, your boss and colleagues will respect you for taking steps to not burn out. Once home, do something relaxing that you enjoy, such as reading, watching TV, or spending time with family and friends.
One of the biggest sources of stress is feeling like you are going it alone. Finding a group or person that you can discuss your emotions and problems openly with can take a huge weight off your chest. Sometimes, you’ll get good advice from them; other times, you simply have a chance to sort through your emotions. Unfortunately, many people do not feel they have this type of support in their lives. You will have to be proactive about finding it.
Take advantage of local groups of people going through the same experiences as you. If work is what is stressing you out, try networking in your industry. According to the Muse, networking is not just about finding a new job. It is a great place to get free advice from, bounce new ideas off of, and connect with others. It can be incredibly helpful speaking to someone going through the same things as you.
Put Yourself First
While work is important, it should not control your life. Practice putting yourself first by practicing self-care. Take care of your body, leave work at the door, and enjoy life. You’ve earned it.
This article was contributed by Brad Krause of selfcaring.info please visit his site for more info.
Photo courtesy of Pexels.
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